King’s River

King's River

King’s River

Another small painting of a quiet stretch on The King’s River in County Wicklow. Its a lot cooler here in the higher altitude, in spite of the sunshine, with a definite look of the approaching winter.

I’m using the edge of a painting knife to get the really fine lines on this small painting. I generally prefer to use a brush but these lines needed to be so thin and painting onto a wet background made it practically impossible. When I do use the knife I will try and disguise the mechanical look produced by the sharp edge. With so little control, after placing the paint I have to repair the damage inflicted on other parts of the painting by dragging the under-colour to cover up. Its easy when painting trees as foliage usually can be placed on top as well.

This painting uses only 4 colours (Winsor Lemon, Indian Red, Dioxazine Purple, Cobalt Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits.

Here’s the video, see you soon.

Wicklow

Wicklow

Wicklow

Here is a break from the flat agricultural land of Kildare, the hills and mountains County Wicklow. This was a clear bright evening so the treatment of paint is more direct than the last few paintings which relied on tinting the final colours with what was applied as under-colour.

The painting is small, 10″ x 9′ and was painted in about an hour and a half. There were 4 colours used (Cadmium Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Dioxazine Purple, Prussian Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used only White Spirits. In recent paintings I’m using purple in shadows for the richness of colour. I have to be careful not to overuse it, as its a little unnatural especially in its ‘raw’ state. Mixed with yellow it produces very muted greens. Normally, greens from yellow and blue alone need a little red added to reduce that ‘artificial’ look of these colours. Purple has a red element already there so its no wonder the greens look good with the richness of a 2 colour mix.

Here’s the video, see you soon.

Orchard Gate

Orchard Gate

Orchard Gate

Although it feels like Autumn, recent rain has kept the greens of Summer. There is no hint of the typical yellows, oranges or browns so far.

This is a painting of tired greens and grey skies but what a dull picture this would make. I still wanted to represent this time of year, between the vivid green of Summer and the approaching colours of Autumn. The underpainting was a mixture of vivid harsh colour, painted with solvent. This was allowed to evaporate before the duller greyish, final colour was added. The under-colours influenced the final dull colours when brushed in, but in some places this under-colour was allowed to peep through.

I used an unusual composition by placing the point of interest in the centre and reinforcing this by placing the sun (partially obscured by cloud) directly above. Its not the ‘text book’ way of doing things but it does create a dynamic within an otherwise dull scene. The rest of the scene ‘see-saws’ about this central point acting like a fulcrum.

It has been pointed out to me that some of the subtle tints caused by blending of greys and vibrant under-colour is not represented well on the video or photograph. This is true because of the limitations of photography. The actual painting always looks better than the photograph. I wonder have these limitations influenced the way colour is used in artwork which is destined to be reproduced in print or on computer screens?

Winsor Lemon, Alizarin Crimson, Dioxazine Purple and Cobalt Blue (plus black and white of course) were the colours used here. You will notice on the video, 2 lumps of white. One is standard Titanium oil paint and the other is Alkyd fast drying oil paint. I’m mixing them 50/50 at the moment to retard the drying of the Alkyd colours, especially in blending the sky colours. Alkyd dries very fast. Sometimes a little too fast when colour needs to be manipulated as in the sky.

Here’s the video. See you soon.

 

 

Sea of Gold

Sea of Gold

Sea of Gold

The flat fields of corn are in the process of harvesting in spite of wind and rain. I was reminded of the sea as the gusts rippled across the open expanses. Here and there, are islands and peninsulas, the structures are there, but of course the colours are not.

In the last painting (here) the colours were almost the same as here. Instead of Alizarin Crimson (in the previous painting) Burnt Sienna was used in this one. The result is a warmness in the shadows and softness in the greens – very different from the storm painting. The colours here were Winsor Lemon, Burnt Sienna, Dioxazine Purple, Cobalt Blue (plus black and white of course).

Here’s the video. See you soon.

Summer Storm

Summer Storm

Summer Storm

Ex-hurricane Bertha arrived here and we had 24 hours of rainfall, wind and general miserable summer weather. However it wasn’t all bad, the skies and colours were amazing.

I used an unusual combination of colours to capture the essence of this summer storm. Winsor Lemon, Alizarin Crimson, Dioxazine Purple, Cobalt Blue (plus black and white of course). These are strong vibrant colours and really worked well together. The resultant painting has none of the brashness these colours have in their raw state. In fact there is less ‘colour’ than some of my subdued Ochre/Sienna paintings (example here).

I tried to get at least 3 of the 4 colours into each mix. When the 4 were used together there was the beginning of the dreaded ‘mud’ you get from having too many colours in the mix.

I used a small amount of Liquin as medium, as with the last painting. I used it to retard the drying of the Alkyd colours I’m using. The only standard oil colour in this selection was the Cobalt Blue. The thinning was with White Spirits.

Here’s the video, see you soon.

http://youtu.be/jyOX9A9fn2M

Island Farm

Island Farm

Island Farm

This time of year, between showers, the sunshine is intense with amazing blue skies.

Cerulean blue for the most part, but its a difficult colour to darken for the deeper shades of the sky. Having a deeper, darker blue at the top of the sky is essential to give depth and perspective. Normally I would add French Ultramarine to darken Cerulean. But I like the extremely limited palette of a single pigment for the red, yellow and blue. The only secondary colours I use are green (Viridian, Sap, Chrome) or orange (Ochres, Cadmiums) and I never used purple, until now.

Dioxazine Purple, by W&N, mixed nicely with Cerulean. The resultant colour was very similar to French Ultramarine and very blue when used transparently. But what a surprise when diluted with white – its mauve, very different from the raw colour.

As its such a strong colour, in my usual manner, I made sure there was plenty spread about the canvas as an under colour. The other colours used were, Cadmium Yellow, Indian Red, Cerulean Blue plus Titanium White and Ivory black.

This time I used the tiniest amount of Liquin not to speed up drying but to slow it down. Remember I use Alkyd fast drying oils and at this time of year they were drying too fast, especially in the sky colours. I mix Alkyd and standard oils depending on colours, for example there is no Cadmium Yellow in Alkyd, only Cadmium Yellow Hue. The same with Cerulean.

Paint suppliers warn about mixing Alkyd and standard oils. The problems occur when used in distinct thick dry layers, because of the different rates of drying leading to loss of adhesion and cracking. Using my ‘alls prima’ method, if not well mixed on the palette they are definitely well mixed on the canvas.

Here’s the video, see you soon.

Roadside Cottage

Roadside Cottage

Roadside Cottage

The abandoned cottage is a common sight in Ireland. Many are the result of the Great Famine (1846-52) when starvation and emigration devastated a quarter of the population. 1 million people died from starvation and another million emigrated. When we think of famine we picture arid, parched landscapes as we see in Africa today. This is a rich, lush land and these cottages are a reminder of what can happen as a consequence political mismanagement.

In the final painting there is very little red but its there as part of each of the mixes. The blues are made more purple and the yellows are more orange. The result is a vibrant clash of colour. Notice also the use of diagonals in the basic structure in the composition. There is feverous activity in preparation for the harvest – not a quiet time in the fields.

The colours used are Cadmium Yellow, Permanent Rose, Raw Umber, French Ultramarine plus black and white. All colours, except Cadmium Yellow, are Alkyd fast drying oils. At this time of year they are a little too fast and parts of the sky had begun to ‘set’ before I was finished. Not good for the sky part but great for overpainting the trees onto the wet sky.

Here’s the video of the painting process. See you soon.