Dollardstown Wood – Time Lapse Painting

Dollardstown Wood

As any blogger who tries to upload photos or home made videos knows, what you finally see on your blog page never quite looks like what you intended. I constantly have trouble trying to get exposure and colour balance right on the photos and the video. I use the same lights, camera and computer software and still the difference between still photos and video can be enormous.

The exposure is simple, or should be. If the viewfinder is filled with an image of the blank white canvas, automatic exposure will underexpose the image. This is because the camera is programmed to find the average light reading and record it as an average. But the white is not the average. To find correct exposure I take a manual reading from a mid grey card, this is an average. When the white canvas is then placed in front of the camera, with this setting, it will show an overexposed image, that is, a pure white canvas. By the time the painting is finished, if there are equal amounts of darks and lights in the painting, the exposure is indicating correct exposure. If it’s a dark painting it will appear to be underexposed and if a bright painting it appears to be overexposed. This is OK, as dark paintings are supposed to be dark and light coloured paintings light. When viewed on a computer screen, in Photoshop or web browsers, the brightness of the screen or the room lighting where the screen is viewed will affect the apparent brightness of the picture.

Alexander made a comment, on the ‘Dollardstown Wood’ post, about the darkness of the photo. He was right. I had edited the photo in Photoshop in a darkish room. It looked OK to me at the time but when I read Alexander’s comment, I had a look at the post and the photo was, indeed, too dark. He adjusted the exposure and included a link to the photo (here). This brings me to the other problem with photos – colour balance. Although the exposure was correct the colour balance was too red.

I use iMovie to edit the video because its fast and simple to use. I set the colour balance using the white blank canvas. But still the video always looks a little too red. The still photo (at the start and end of the video), has the same colour balance and  is close to the actual colour of the painting. But when placed into the video the colour is altered towards green. There are video editing facilities in iMovie but these are too crude to make the fine adjustments needed. To add further to the mess, YouTube compresses and causes further colour changes which are totally beyond my control. I archive the original video until the technology improves to allow a more accurate representation of the painting. Some day in the near future, hopefully, I will be able to make available the full 1 to 2 hour video. For a beginner in painting this might be useful.

Here’s the video. There is more info on this painting in the previous post.


14 thoughts on “Dollardstown Wood – Time Lapse Painting

  1. Hi. This is the first time I’ve watched a video of your painting and it is very instructive. I see how you use color to achieve the look of the fence posts and how you use the palette knife for the last steps and that fence wire. Thanks! Jane

  2. I just wanted to thank you for visiting my site and leaving a footprint. I tried to find a page or a post that would tell me more about *you*, but you’re all about the work here. Very cool.

  3. Hi Liam, I’ve missed visiting, but I needed a big break from the whole world for a while. I’m glad to be back, your work is stunning, as always! Come visit me at
    I’m just getting started again, but I took your advice and started using oil pastels and I’m loving it. I hope all is well with you! – alissa

  4. That was very enjoyable. I find painting in oil to be very frustrating and you do it with such ease and confidence. The landscape as I watched it unfold almost looked as if it could have turned into a battlefield scene from WWI. The greys and the distant tree line barely visible. Gotta share this with my Mom who made painting a viable interest in my family as a child.

  5. Hi, you applied blue to the sky; then yellow. Why didn’t the sky turn green ?
    Or was there a delay between the time you applied the blue and the time you applied the yellow ?

    • The yellow I used was Raw Sienna and the blue, Ultramarine. The result is not a vivid green. All colour is relative. The green formed from the mix, relative to the dark browns which also contains the same yellow and blue but much deeper in tone, is not seen as green. This is why I like a limited palette. All colours are related forcing the viewer to see them as different.

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