This painting is in response to a number of issues I’ve been having over the last few months. I am also experimenting with different techniques I’ve tried on a smaller scale in recent paintings. The scene is imaginary, this is so I can include the ‘problem’ bits and leave out the areas, like the sky, which I’m happy with.
OK, lets go through the difficult bits. I must firstly say, these are caused by my working method, so I’m not moaning about the materials. What I want to do is finish a painting in under 2 hours with all the sophisticated bits you find on a painting which is painted in several ‘paint/allow to dry/paint’ sessions. I won’t go into the reasons why I don’t follow the traditional route, suffice to say, I get bored easily.
The first is the problem with using Liquin when the painting time is longer than about an hour. Regular readers will be saying at this point, ‘Oh no, here he goes again, ranting on about that ******* Liquin’. So I’ll be brief. Liquin is a quick drier. This is great, the wet layers get ‘tacky’ soon after painting and fine lines (details) can be painted on top. After about an hour the other effects of drying begin to emerge, the dark colours get lighter in tone and the tones of the final light colours can’t be gauged. Big problem.
The next issue is ‘stylisation’. This is a tendency I have of turning a scene into a series if abstract marks, constructing a landscape which is too far removed from reality (‘Bluebell Wood’ see here). This is a problem caused by working from the imagination. Painting the landscape which is in my head and not the one which the viewer is likely to recognise as normal. By far, the most popular painting I’ve posted in this blog is ‘Beside the Lake’ (here), so I feel I’m right in trying to ‘stay real’ in how I construct the landscapes. I think this painting is a little too real for my liking, but good to do now and again. Curiously, ‘Bluebell Wood’ is the most popular YouTube video??
What I did for this painting was not use any medium at all, just White Spirits. I started to paint final elements of the landscape immediately in very wet paint allowing the solvent to carry the paint in thin washes. This is similar to how I painted watercolours. The blocks of colour are flooded on and accidental shapes are left as they are without the usual dark/medium/highlight colours of traditional oil painting. As the solvent evaporates quickly, the dark colours go matt (lighter in tone) and the whole painting proceeds with all colours flat and matt. There are large areas of this painting with a single under coat and no final details painted in. So I have not included my neurotic ‘paint what I imagine’ bits. It will have to be ‘oiled out’ as already (24 hours later) the surface is a patchwork of dull and glossy bits. This will be interesting, the darks will go very dark and the lighter colours will, more or less, stay the same.
Will I be doing all paintings like this in future? The immediate answer is no. The main reason is that the flat areas do not have the intensity I can achieve with my thick strokes of colour. I will however be more open to leaving some areas as flat thin washes. When I look at my own videos I see there are times when the under coats have a some nice shapes which I systematically cover up. I will think before I do this in future. Regarding Liquin, I will do what did for years, that is, add a little Linseed Oil into the Liquin, just enough to keep the ‘wet look’ in the darker colours. I used to mix 50/50 Liquin/Linseed Oil, then I stopped adding the Oil as it was too ‘greasy’ for my fast painting method. I never tried reducing the proportion of Oil in the mix, I just dropped it altogether. This has possibilities considering how little Linseed Oil is needed to ‘oil out’ a painting after it has dried.
The colours used were, Raw Umber (red), Yellow Ochre (yellow) and Prussian Blue (blue). Chrome Green Light was also used to boost the Yellow/Blue mix. Black and white were also used. The brushes were different from normal. Just 3, 2 of round No. 6 (1/4″ diam.) and a fine nylon. Here is the video of the process.