Burnham Overy Mill

Burnham Overy Mill is just a short walk from Burnham Overy Staithe in Norfolk. It’s a delightful area for any landscape artist to paint with the low lying land, estuaries and big skies. We’ve stayed there as a family for the last two years and I’ve seized the opportunity to paint on location, rising early to capture the early morning sunlight and often disappearing after our evening meal to take in the fading summer light.

As we were driving into Burnham Overy Staithe for the first time in September 2009, I noticed the windmill and decided to do a sketchbook study later that evening. The light was fading, so I only managed to do the first couple of washes of Lemon Yellow, Rose Madder and Manganese Blue (which was essentially the sky and foreground) before the light made it impossible to paint any further. I returned the following evening to render the windmill and distant trees. A carefully placed application of Raw Sienna in the foreground enabled me to pick out some of the bales.

A few days later I decided to do a day time scene, adopting my usual method of working on a sketchbook study and a watercolour on a 14″ x 10″ Arches Block of rough paper which is available from many good art suppliers. I’ve posted a link to the Heaton Cooper Studio website which is worth a visit.

This time the light was more consistent even though the cloud shapes were constantly moving. Again, Lemon Yellow and Raw Sienna featured, this time for the first wash. Once dry, a mix of Manganese Blue, French Ultramarine and Payne’s Grey with a touch of Purple gave me the cloud colour. I had to be careful to leave a blob of white paper for the roof of the mill and a sliver of white for its sails. Once the sky was dry, I was able to knock in the rest of the windmill, trees and bales as before.

Whilst doing this post, I’ve had fun just flicking through my sketchbook, remembering the trip and feeling inspired to paint again on location. The 14″ x 10″ original watercolour can be seen at my studio & gallery in Ponteland and is also available online.

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