Harvest Time

Harvest Time

Harvest Time

The glowing yellows of high summer have passed and the ‘brownness’ of autumn is upon us. as yet, there are no typical autumn colours, just a hint of things to come.

The colours used, and there are only 3, are Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, Cobalt Blue. Yellow Ochre and Cadmium produce a range of subtle greens which don’t need the addition of red to give a ‘natural’ green colour. I suppose its the orange in the ochre which is responsible for this nice effect. The addition of the Cadmium Red moves the colour quickly into the autumn colour range.

As usual the process involves using the 3 colours for each and every part of the mid and foreground areas, varying the proportions of each colour to move the colours between purples (Cadmium and Cobalt with a little Ochre) to orange (Cadmium and Ochre and a little Cobalt). I try and avoid equal proportions, as you probably know, this is a formula for shades of grey, OK in the sky but not for closeup foreground colours.

The painting is 16″x10″.

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

Woodland Tracks

Woodland Tracks

Woodland Tracks

While the rest of Europe is suffering temperatures in the high 30’s we have a more relaxed 16 to 20. Our visitors from Germany were glad to leave 38 degrees and enjoy our balmy 18. Its little wonder the countryside is a shimmering green and its always a challenge for the painter of landscapes to convey this lushness without saturating the canvas in a monotony of green.

The green shades here are a product of Cadmium Yellow, Burnt Umber and Prussian Blue (the only colours used in the entire painting). The Cadmium and Prussian do produce a vibrant green but need a touch of red – in this case Burnt Umber, to appear more natural. Burnt Umber is a weak red so its affect is less dramatic than other reds I’ve used like Permanent Rose or Alizarin Crimson. Its also introducing hints of Autumn now appearing in the drier corners of the woodlands.

I’m still using the single bristle brush technique to paint the bulk of the painting. This requires a bit of planning in the way colour mixes merge from one to the next. I think its possible because of the limited number of colours used. The movement from blue through green and finally yellows and oranges is easy enough, but white in the later stages of the sky colours has to be worked out of the brush in the distant areas building up to the rich dark shadows of the foreground. At this point there is very little white left in the brush so mid tones are very strong before white is again introduced for the warm highlights.

The painting is (16″x10″).

Here’s the video, see you soon.

Recent Rain

Recent Rain

Recent Rain

‘Variable’ weather has postponed the onset of harvest. The forecast is not great for the coming days and the current strong winds have made the landscape look a little ‘shredded’. This is not a sunny summer scene but I must be careful not to loose the look of a typical Irish summer.

This painting has only 3 colours; Raw Sienna, Raw Umber, Cerulean Blue, plus black and white. I used no medium, only the solvent, White Spirits. The colours may not be a strong vibrant range but they are warm, even the Cerulean Blue has a warmth, if that is possible for a blue.

I’m still using the single brush technique, allowing the colour mixes to evolve one into the next with the minimum of brush cleaning. Remember this will only work with no more than 3 colours – any more and the colours turn ‘muddy’. Its also important that the 3 colours chosen are capable of producing the required colours.

Here’s the video of the process, see you soon.

 

Summer Green

Summer Green

Summer Green

A sunny painting, in keeping with the glorious long days of Summer.

The colours Cadmium Yellow, Permanent Rose and Cerulean Blue are the colours of Summer. Even the mild Cerulean Blue is capable of producing a strong green when mixed with Cadmium Yellow.

Here’s the video of the painting process, see you soon.

Lakeside Grazing

Lakeside Grazing

Lakeside Grazing

This is a busy time of year for me. The garden needed a complete overhaul, mostly to make it safe for visiting grandchildren. Not that there is anything dangerous lurking out there, just a few briars or nettles in the ‘secret’ places where they like to play. We sometimes forget how safe the landscape is in Ireland. There are no snakes, venomous or otherwise, or disease carrying insects like mosquitoes or ticks as on mainland Europe. Very pleasant if you don’t mind the ‘variable’ weather.

This time of year can be challenging for the painter of landscapes regarding the abundance of green. I don’t particularly like green as a dominant colour in a painting. probably because there is so much about at this time of year. Nevertheless, to represent the glory of long summer days, green is essential.

I rarely use a ‘tube’ green these days. Even the mild colours like sap or olive, seem so ‘unnatural’ and dominate the entire painting if spread about in an effort to create a uniform colour. For example if I was using a ‘tube’ green for an area of grassland I would be sure to use the same colour as part of the sky mixes. An example HERE will give you an idea of what I mean by this. This was painted 2 years ago and my method has changed a lot since then but the principal is still the same.

The green in the painting above was achieved by mixing Yellow Ochre and Cerulean Blue. You can see the same colours used in the sky to produce this same green but in the context of the sky it does not look the same. This weak ‘green’ was emphasised by the red, Alizarin Crimson.

Only 3 colours were used – Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson and Cerulean Blue plus black and white. I used a single bristle filbert and a nylon liner. As usual I used only solvent and no medium.

Here’s the video of the painting process, see you soon.

Crossing

Crossing

Crossing

The landscape is busy at the moment, lots of agricultural activity. I like the areas where it is not possible to have successful ‘commercial’ farms. There’s a wildness and charm about these unkempt places. We’ve had an exceptionally dry few weeks and where a once brisk little river served as a boundary, is no longer the case, for curious and mischievous  cattle.

This painting is small, a little bigger than some of my recent work, but nevertheless its small (16″x10″). At this size, painting details, like the cattle in the above painting, is a problem. Its not so much to do with size as with producing detail in keeping with the style of the rest of the painting. As you can see, the style is a collection of daubs and blobs, which when viewed from a moderate distance, take on the appearance of a landscape. Meticulously painted cows would not fit in with this scheme.

Its a trial and error form of painting, placing blobs of colour to give the illusion of cattle. Squinting the eyes and adding a bit, and removing another until it snaps into place is how it works for me. There must be a visual clue to this jumble of paint in order to point the viewer in the right direction as to what is happening. Here it is a single cow shape silhouetted against the reflected light which programs us to interpret the paint blobs as the rest of the herd.

Colours used are Cadmium Yellow, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Cerulean Blue plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits.

Here’s the video of the painting process, see you soon.

Tributary

Tributary

Tributary

As we move into Summer the dreaded ‘monotony of green’ has been delayed by the current dry spell. So there is a broader range of colours with green tempered by warn yellows and cool blues.

The solid structure of this composition was painted in a relatively flat mid green. There are no large shadow areas. In the final stages of the painting the flat green was altered on the palette into a range of colours by the addition of yellow and blue. These colours were mixed with large amounts of solvent and dropped onto the wet under layer of the flat green. This created even more variations by the flow of the very liquid paint, sometimes mixing or other times ‘glazing’ over the wet under colour.

There are 3 colours used in this painting, Cadmium Yellow, Burnt Sienna and Cerulean Blue plus black and white. No medium was used, only solvent – White Spirits. The areas where solvent was used extensively will dry to a very matt finish.

There are 2 possible reasons for this. The first is that the medium in the paint is carried into the ground. This is common on surfaces which are not sufficiently sealed for oil painting. Not good for the long term life of the paint layer. It is brittle and the thicker the layer the more likely it is to crack and flake off.

Assuming the surface is sealed, the second reason for the matt effect is caused by the volatile solvent migrating to the paint surface where it evaporates leaving a thin film of paint with very little medium and very little gloss. Some pigments in the paint are more prone to this so the painting will dry with patches of matt areas. The process of ‘oiling out’ corrects this by introducing medium onto this matt film. Because I use so much solvent my paintings dry with a very matt finish and ‘oiling out’ is always necessary.

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