Through the square window; how to capture the countryside shrouded in darkness

The countryside is in darkness. Looking through the window of the train I’d taken notes and a few smartphone photos. Despite the speed of the train the eye still is able to take in each field, tree, pond and fence in the deepening darkness. There is a blur of things that are parallel to the train track. I sketch when I get home.
The sky is still not quite that inky darkness, it’s only just losing the benefit of the light of the sun and gaining the light from the moon. The train window adds another dimension of grime, oily film, scratches and reflections.
Starting with broad brush loads of sunset colours, the background was layered in. Using the photos as reference for the colours, the darker shades of purple and blue for the sky were added leaving hints of the setting sun behind.
Shades of green were mixed to create the countryside. Flicks with the broad square brushes started to create the fields. Allowing time for drying the build up of darks, was then highlighted with some lighter tones of the previously used colours.

Test Pieces

I’d done a small test piece of colours and ways to apply marks for the different elements that I wanted to capture. So I grabbed the garden stick, loaded it with paint, and whipped it across the sky to create the light blur of movement. The same method was used to create the dark criss-cross patterns of the tree line.
Are the dark marks in the fields of grass, crops and water on the train window? Are they trees closer to the train as it speed by? Fences, perhaps?
Resin application on paintingOnce dry, I wanted to make the painting feel more like a dirty train window. Again I tested on a small sample of canvas with resins and varnishes. I chose to use three layers of resin which gives a hard finish to the piece. It also enabled me by working into the layers in different ways to add the ‘oily’ film that the window had in places, and the scratches left by previous travellers.
So this semi-abstract painting gives an impression of the light and colours seen through a murky old train window.

Taith Tren

Acrylic Painting

40 x 40 cm canvas

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