The Fox – Time Lapse Painting

The Fox

When you view the video you will see 2 interesting procedures that are indirectly connected.

The first is the painting of the canvas with a flood of colour diluted with white spirits. This is allowed to stand as long as possible for the white spirits to evaporate. But sometimes the process has to be helped with a hair dryer and the excess wiped with a dry tissue. Because different coloured paint is applied relative to the final content of the painting, this is called underpainting by some painters, as opposed to staining of the canvas. Underpainting usually refers to layers built up, before the final skin is applied as in the multi-stage painting process of letting the initial paint layers dry before proceeding with the next. ‘Alla prima’ (as this painting is), or one session, wet on wet painting can’t really have an underpainting, because its all wet, and mixes together into a single homogenous layer. So its not, strictly speaking, underpainting.

The purpose of this layer of dilute paint is to modify the subsequent colours applied. As there was going to be a lot of white colour applied, for the snow, the paint underneath interacted with the white and produced a range of hues and tones impossible to produce by mixing on the palette and applying individually. Another  incidental advantage is that the final paint can be applied without trying to completely cover the canvas. If there are ‘gaps’, the under layer  eliminates the stark white of the blank canvas. This brings us to the second procedure – scratching or scraping the wet paint to reveal whats underneath. As mentioned in the previous post, painting the fine lines of the trees, on the left, into the thick wet layer of sky colour was going to cause problems. By scratching the fine lines and filling them with the dark colour of the trees was fine for the thicker branches, but some scratch marks were not painted into. These were OK as the under-layer of the dark colour was uncovered. There were also a few scratches made here and there to help integrate the ‘scratch’ texture across the entire surface.

Hopefully the following video will explain the process a little better.


7 thoughts on “The Fox – Time Lapse Painting

  1. Great concept on using time-lapse videos, and thank you for showing us the process.

    I take it that you start with a picture in mind, and then put your expertise to work?

    I just started painting. I don’t have much training, just what a middle school art teacher / baseball coach taught me. Lately I just love to experiment with whatever I have on hand, mixing and layering and watching as different shapes and textures develop. I plan on returning to your excellent site for inspiration.

    • Thank you for your comments. Welcome to the club. I’ve never had an art lesson in my life. I started like you and kept at it. However, I trained in industrial science and worked in that capacity for 20 years. This has taught me to work from first principles, little steps at a time. Like playing the guitar, learn the chord shapes, practice the riffs, and keep what works for you. Your proficiency will increase in time. Start small, small paintings, small number of colours, small brushes, small steps towards the way you would like to paint in the future. Never paint what you see, paint what you think your viewers will see. Yes, I start with a picture in mind and it always changes when the reality of the limitations of the medium and my skill, intervenes. Paint in short bursts of energy and inspiration and quit before exhaustion gets a grip. Look at all the stuff available (YouTube is great) and above all remember the art is in the doing (like playing ‘Stairways to Heaven’ on that old acoustic for your own amusement) not in the finished work. You would know I was self taught, I break every rule out there. Thanks again.

  2. Pingback: The Fox – Oil Painting « PictureS

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