Close to where I live, this is a nice walk in the early morning when the frost is still on the grass and mist hangs in the air. I liked the orange colour of the beech trees, lit by the rising sun, set against the cool blues of the misty wood. Nice contrasting colours.
I’m adding small amounts of Liquin to all the mixes. I’m talking about, maybe, 20% Liquin in solvent (White Spirits). The resultant flat areas are less ‘gritty’ than using solvent alone. An example of this ‘gritty’ effect can be seen here. Click on the photo to enlarge and see the sky, especially the blue.
Remember I’m using Alkyd Oil Colours which dry very fast. Liquin actually slows the drying slightly. The dry paintings have a uniform sheen and might not need ‘oiling out’
The colours are Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Prussian Blue and White (no black). The painting is 12″ x 9″ and took about an hour and twenty minutes to complete.
Here’s the video. I’ve also included a ‘real time’ version of a portion of the previous painting.
This scene i’ve painted previously (here) in summer time. Now in winter, nothing remains of the glorious green foliage. Its amazing the difference a few months make.
I’ve had a few requests to do a video in real time as opposed to a time lapse. I’m working on this at the moment trying to do a sequence of the painting of the tree on the left. I will post the video when I have it done. The problems are mostly technical to do with file size for uploading but also the editing. This is the most problematic as I rarely paint a compete item from start to finish, but flit about the painting, doing a little bit of everything. I have to find and isolate the bits which are specifically relating to the tree. Say, 3 or 4 seconds, then maybe a 3 minute sequence, then a few more seconds, all mixed up in the complete painting. Real time is precisely that – real time. The hour and twenty minutes have to be trawled through time and time again, looking for the relevant pieces.
I’m not sure there is anything more to be gained from ‘real time’ video as opposed to time-lapse. Anything longer than 3 or 4 minutes, without a prepared commentary, varied camera angles, etc. etc., is torturous to watch. I’ve been there, done that and it simply doesn’t work. A professional show case or instructional video is a different matter entirely.
Please accept my videos as diary entries, unedited raw footage. Recorded and uploaded without much post production, convenient and fast. What I lack in professional video production, I hope to make up in quantity and variety.
I’ve used exactly the same colours as the previous painting. They are Raw Sienna, Raw Umber and Prussian Blue. Its amazing how different these same 3 colours are, in this painting.
River Griese near Kilkea
The day is calm, cold with a light dusting of snow. I like dramatic skies but for this scene I had to resist the urge and paint a ‘flat’ sky.
As you will see in the accompanying video, I put a pattern of cloud-like shapes in the sky area. These are ‘islands of paint’ on the blank canvas. Part of this area has a wash of Raw Sienna and solvent only. This was allowed to peep through the later layers to suggest sunset colours behind the gloom of grey. When these ‘islands of paint’ are blended with a flat brush they join up and produce an almost invisible pattern. The original ‘islands’ had a rough perspective applied, that is, the bigger shapes were higher up and slightly darker in colour.
The mid-ground, snow covered field needed an underlying pattern for the same reasons as the ‘flat’ sky needed a bit of variation. This area was coated in a transparent layer, with Liquin medium added. This was then lifted off with a brush moistened with solvent. When the pure white was lightly brushed onto this, a range of subtle colours were produced. There is transparency and opacity in this area, better than a thick layer of white.
The size is 16″ x 12″ and was painted in about 2 hours. 3 colours only used, Raw Sienna, Raw Umber and Prussian Blue plus white but no black. As mentioned, Liquin was used to produce smooth transparent washes and help with the fine lines painted onto the wet under layers.
Here’s the video. See you soon.
Kilkea Bridge, First Snow
First snow, a little bit premature perhaps, but the weather men are talking about the threat, or promise, of snow in the near future. Its a year since I painted a snowscape and my approach to painting has changed in that time. Previously I painted the landscape, shadows and mid-tones, in solvent rich transparent layers. When the solvent evaporated I placed the snow, as a pure white paint, on top of the flat paint layer. By working the white into the under layers it picked up some colour and this added shadow colour to the snow. Check out these paintings and method by typing the word “snow” or “Christmas” in the search box on the left side of this page.
The painting above progressed as a standard landscape with the snow added, not as pure white, but like the standard highlights of a landscape with more white added. The result is less contrasty and harsh.
The painting is 18″ x 12″ and was completed in 2 and a half hours. The colours are limited to 3, Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber and Cobalt Blue. I’m still not using black. I used Liquin to produce smooth transparent under-layers in the sky and distant trees. As I said in previous posts, ‘solvent only’ under-layers exaggerate the canvas texture, Liquin coats and smooths the texture.
Here is the painting video. See you soon.
This scene, almost on my doorstop, reminded me of a Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot painting. So I painted it in a similar style. In recent paintings I was working on transparency effects as mid-tones and even to produce highlights. As I said then, this method I found to be very limiting. Here there are areas in the sky where pure colour is allowed to stay uncovered and the this pure colour is shining as the white of the canvas is illuminating the colour from underneath. The blue and yellow areas are 2 such places.
In the lower part, mid and fore ground, the transparent colour was applied with a Liquin medium. This was wiped off resulting in a glowing range of reds and greys. When I applied the final opaque layer of blue-green and white, I did not cover this completely but left much of it to peep through this layer.
What an interesting texture this created. The transparent red beside the turquoise-ish opaque is a beautiful effect, impossible to convey in the photo above. Although the canvas is rough textured the painting has a delicate, fragile feel to it.
The colours used are Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Cobalt Blue, plus white and no black. Liquin was used in layers destined to be left as final colour but also to produce a transparent smooth layer. The painting is 16″ x 12″ and took about an hour and a half to complete.
Here is the painting process. See you soon.
This painting is as much about taking paint off as putting it on. Its a complete departure from what I’ve been doing of late. This painting, and the last one, are painted with a medium rich paint. This is then removed with a brush wetted with solvent. The idea is to reveal the transparency which some oil colours posess. Transparency is normally used in shadows, with mid tones and highlights produced with opaque colour, usually with white in the mix.
There are limitations with this method as with others. Obviously, using transparent colours is essential. But using a limited range of colours is also important as transparency is reduced the more colours are added to a mix. The artist Dennis Sheehan is an expert with this technique. He uses only 2 colours (brown and green) to produce a landscape. See him at work here www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKFGe35y1N8.
Another, less obvious, requirement of this technique is to use a medium (not solvent) to spread the paint. Solvent does not produce a paint film. Medium will form a layer which coats the canvas texture evenly. Solvent flows into the canvas weave producing a grainy effect.
As I said this is a limited method of painting when used on its own. However, incorporated into a standard painting technique it could produce some interesting effects.
Here is the video of my efforts, but with white added in a few places. The colours are Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber and Prussian Blue. The medium I used was Liquin with a little White Spirits to help it flow. The painting is 12″ x 9″ and took about a little over an hour to complete.
Its been a while since I produced a painting. We were visiting our German grandchild and spent a lot of time playing football in the park (he’s just started to walk). It was 6 months since he saw us last but after a thorough visual examination (see photo), he either recognised our vaguely familiar faces or remembered us. It wasn’t long before he had us recruited to provide entertainment which we thoroughly enjoyed.
The painting here is a slight departure from what I’ve been doing recently. Its less structured and relies more on suggested forms. I used Liquin to keep the paint fluid, unlike my usual solvent only method, which evaporates and allows painted details to be placed on top.
Although its a darker painting, I’m still not using black. In many places I lifted the paint off to produce mid tones. This relies on the transparency of the paint. The Liquin provides a stronger film of paint in these situations where the paint film is so thin it could be damaged by later oiling-out or varnishing.
The colours are Raw Sienna, Indian Red and Prussian Blue, plus white. I used a very large (No. 12) filbert bristle and a very small nylon brush. These were the only brushes I used with not much cleaning between paint applications. Transparent effects are something I think I will explore over the next few paintings. There is a richness in the colour that cannot be matched without glazing over dry layers. This is a traditional method that requires layers and months of drying, and this does not suit my method.
Here is the video of the painting process. Watch out for the paint lifting with a solvent wet brush – it looks like I’m applying a lighter paint layer.
This canvas has a rougher texture than I normally use. In some ways this makes painting easier, especially if you want a loose textured look. Although with a lot of brushing very soft effects can be produced.
In the sky here, there is a fluffy softness. It took a bit of brushing and blending but I stopped in time to retain a textured look. There is a longer transition between rough and smooth and this allows more control over this gradual change. On a smoother surface a few extra brush strokes can obliterate your carefully painted clouds.
The previous painting (here) was painted in a similar way to this, on a less textured canvas, resulting in a smooth film of paint. The cloud details were painted last. In the above, details were placed early on and even after a fair bit of blending they were there at the end.
Notice the contrast between the distant trees and the foreground. Working the paint into the canvas gave a cloud-like softness in distant trees. Mid and foreground shapes are just placed brush strokes. At a point near the end of the painting I thought this ‘roughness’ was a little too severe so I softened the hard edges to match the look of the sky.
3 colours were used again, exactly the same as the last painting (Raw Sienna, Raw Umber and Prussian Blue plus white and no black). The size is 16″ x 12″ and took about an hour and a half to complete.
Here’s the video, see you soon.
The nights are closing in and there is a definite nip in the air. Twilight is a magical time with an almost full moon and the remains of the sunlight still hanging on the horizon. The moon always looks bigger when its low in the sky. Photographic evidence shows that this is an optical illusion and the moon is the same size regardless of its position in the sky. In a painting I would exaggerate the size a little because we expect the moon to look bigger when its low in the sky.
A bigger problem is the size of the moon relative to the size of the painting. A large landscape, lets say 3′ x 2′, can have the moon size about 1″ in diameter. A painting the size of the above, 12″ x 9″, would have a diameter so small it would look ridiculous if the proportions were scaled down precisely. So the size is again exaggerated to compensate for the small painting size.
In this small painting I wanted a largish moon that was in proportion to the rest of the landscape. I fluffed the outline to not have a precise diameter so it can be as big, or small as you like.
As I said, its a small painting 12″ x 9″, with 3 colours, Raw Sienna, Raw Umber and Prussian Blue plus white. I am still not using black. A little solvent (White Spirits) was used to spread the paint but I used no medium. A single round bristle, No. 12, was used for the entire painting except for the fine lines in the trees. For this I used a 00 nylon brush. The painting time was about an hour.
Here’s the video of the process. See you soon.
Although darker than recent paintings, there is no black used in the shadows.
All 3 colours used are very transparent. Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna and Prussian Blue retain it even when mixed together. Any 2 will produce good effects and the addition of the third colour will begin to add opacity.
One way of taking advantage of this transparency is by using solvent in a ‘wash’, like with watercolour. The problem here is the texture of the canvas. It becomes way too noticeable as the paint flows into the weave. Working the paint ‘dry’ into the weave gives the same transparency without the ‘dotty’ pattern. This colour will be intense as seen in the green of the distant foliage in this painting.
The background haze of colour was a solvent wash of colour with white added. This is opaque and although it does flow into the weave, because of the opacity you get an even ‘dot’ free layer. The reason for the solvent wash was that it would evaporate and the resultant paint, containing white, would not interfere as I ‘brushed-in’ the rich greens later on.
The painting is 12″ x 9″ and was painted in an hour and a half. I used a little Liquin to help with the fine lines of the trees otherwise it was solvent only painting. The second dipper on the palette has the Liquin plus White Spirits solution. Notice I use a pipette to transfer this medium and also the White Spirits in the other dipper, to the paint mixes. Although dippers are supposed to be for dipping, I don’t like introducing a paint covered brush into either the medium or solvent solutions, it always causes a mess with both solutions ending up contaminated with paint. Also the amount of either solution can’t be controlled by just dipping the brush.
Here’s the video of the painting process. See you soon.