Oil Painting, more brushes – less work


As I paint this little picture (8″x9″) the wind and rain is pounding the house. This is the season of muted colours with the threat of winter hanging in the air. I will try and give this feeling to the painting. The colours, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Cerulean Blue and Raw Umber. The brushes, medium round and larger flat bristles. The medium was Liquin only and White Spirits. The muted colours achieved is a direct result of using Cerulean Blue as opposed to Cobalt as used in May Meadow and other ‘rich’ coloured paintings.

Using only 2 brushes was an experiment to see how the time to paint was extended by having to clean them continually as I paint. I knew having extra brushes, one for the each different colour mix, was more efficient, but I didn’t know by how much. Recording the painting process involves starting the camera before each application of paint and stopping the camera to think, clean brushes, light my pipe, put the dog out, etc. The time from start to finish was about an hour, but the actual painting time was a little over 15 minutes. I think by using 6 brushes the painting would have taken maybe 35-40 minutes. So, for me, more brushes in use means faster painting. Another good reason for using more brushes is that the continual cleaning is stressful on the brushes, which means they wear out faster.

Details suggested using large brush

On the subject of brushes, lately I am trying to resist using really small pointed brushes to put in details. I think this makes the details too sharp and out of ‘sync’ with the strokes of the bristle brushes.

I will post the video next time. It will appear slower than usual as I will be reducing painting time from about 15 minutes to 7 or 8 minutes.