Abandoned House – Oil Painting

Abandoned House

The house may be abandoned, but it takes a long time for the spirits of those who lived there to completely evaporate. The theme of abandoned house is appropriate for this time of year, for a few different reasons. Emigration is once again a feature of Irish life and this scene is set to be repeated all over the country. After Christmas, families at home for the season, will breakup, many returning to the far corners of the world (such a rich country, such poor management). Christmas also reminds us of those, who were with us at this season in the past, and are no longer here.

Nothing different in the method I employed in this painting from previous oil paintings. When you watch the video (next post) you will notice how dark the overall painting becomes before the light is introduced. In this painting its very obvious as the entire foreground is featureless and has to be made interesting. I avoided the usual placing of a foreground ‘object of interest’ on the one third line which is the usual practice for producing a ‘pleasing’ composition. At the construction stage I drew in the lines of perspective and also the lines the eye follows (subconsciously) on its journey into the painting. This produces a framework on which I can create an interesting empty space. Its a common mistake to move into the light colour phase too early on, also, less is better than too much. Its good to progress slowly adding the lights. Stop after every few strokes of the brush and assess the situation. Look at the painting upside-down, in a mirror, from the next room. Anywhere, to get a fresh view. The lines of perspective are a great help in reminding you to enlarge shapes (and brushstrokes) as they approach the viewer.

The colours are: Indian Red, Yellow Ochre, Prussian Blue, Chrome Green Light, Raw Umber and black and white. A little bit more difficult to keep colour mixes clean with this selection. Indian Red, does not produce great vibrant colours in mixes, as mentioned in a previous post. The addition of white to any mix containing Indian Red produces a lifeless ‘smokey’ colour.

Liquin was the medium used, and used very sparingly. This means the painting will take ages to dry and will have lots of dull patches. As mentioned previously, I now always ‘oil out’ with pure Linseed Oil (50/50 with White Spirits) in case I decide to varnish and not frame under glass.

And now a poem to complete the picture.

ABANDONED HOUSE

Seduced by shelter and a door half closed
I press in. The rain subsides.
But I wait, a traveller at a terminal
long after all had gone and nothing of value
remains on the littered floor.

An open razor here.
Like the one my father used
in a time before he had fallen
in love with sadness,
is where it had fallen.

The leaves cascade.
A gentle hush, as a finger to the lips,
then talk of rain in the hills
and sun in the west.
Leaving, I close the door.

Enjoy the remainder of the holidays.

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