Wayside – Oil Painting


Hedgerows are a great source of wildlife in this part of the world. Because of the lack of cultivation, fertilization and grazing there are rare species of plants surviving here simply because of this lack of use. As the hedgerows are as old as the roads they belong to, some are thousands of years old.

This is another painting using the ‘solvent only’ method I’ve been experimenting with, over the last few weeks. It’s been an interesting project. If you were following the recent posts you will know that I decided to stop using a medium (eg. oil or Liquin) and use solvent only.

As with any method there are advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage is the element of random interesting patterns and shapes that happen when the solvent flows and carries the paint. Modern watercolorists  use this to great advantage using water of course, instead of solvent. Thin washes of transparent watercolour also have a great luminance. Oil colours do not. This is because the watercolour pigment is more finely ground resulting in more intense colour. Basically, oil colour is not designed to be used as thin washes and so the range of oil colours of sufficient transparency is small. In oils, the shadows are recommended to be transparent. But the lighter colours need opaque white in the mix to have an intense colour. Transparent oil colour as highlights does not work very well.

An example of this can be seen in the painting above. The road was a transparent wash of Raw Sienna with a little black added. I reviewed the final painting and this area was so weak it looked like a river and not a solid road. A mix with white was placed on top and although the tone (darkness/lightness) was the same there was now a solidness in the paint layer which suggested a road. Here and there, you can see transparent colour trying to be a highlight. The orange colour on the left side of the road is a mix of Raw Sienna and Burnt Sienna. This works here because its in partial shadow. It was not working on the right side (in full light) so a mix with white was added.

What I’ve learned from this little exercise is to pay more attention to the ‘drawing’ of the shadow details and not to just ‘block in’ these areas. Also, if an area of shadow accidentally looks finished because of partially transparent areas, I will leave it as it is, not insisting on applying final highlight colours with opaque white added.

I will post the video of the painting process in the next few days.