The attached video illustrates the difficulties with glare from the surface of a wet oil painting. Using an easel with overhead lighting is no problem, if the top, of the almost vertical painting, is tilted slightly forward.
If you are familiar with YouTube videos of oil painting you will realise that this may be perfect for the artist but impossible to video record simultaneously as the painting is executed. Basically the camera and the artist cannot be in the same place at the same time and many videos have the camera to one side giving an obtuse angle of view.
My painting ‘on the flat’ is a legacy of my watercolour days and continued when I went back to oil painting using very liquid paint. The problems of glare from this horizontal surface are more pronounced with lighting overhead. This is probably the greatest drawback to painting in this way.
My workaround is to have, on each side of my painting table, two photo studio lights set barely above the level of the canvas and shining horizontally across the surface. If the lights are not horizontal my downward view will have glare. The camera, in front of my face and pointing down, has more or less the same viewing angle as myself and also avoids the glare. So this arrangement happens to be good for videoing the process.
This works fine when the layers of paint are flat, as they are when so much liquid is used in the paint mixes. However, when dryish paint is used (as in this painting), the ridges left by the brush bristles will glare as white lines along the stroke of the paint. The strokes most affected are those at right angles to the light sources, ie the downward strokes. I don’t notice this as I unconsciously shift position to counter the effect as I work. Unfortunately the camera does not move so the glare is there as a fixed series of white lines very noticeable in darker colours.
The last time this happened was in this still life, painted in April 2011 using a similar dry paint technique.
Here is the video and please excuse the glare.
This painting has a mysterious quality to it. Is this based upon a real place or imaginary?
I prefer to paint from imagination or memory of a place I’ve seen. What I remembered about this scene was the little tree in the distant clearing. It is out of line with the rest of the trees and this oddity was the basis of this painting. I’m conscious of drifting further and further from reality by not basing the subject on a ‘real’ location and so from time to time I will deliberately set about painting a particular scene. But as you probably know the ‘real’ world always needs that bit more to be an interesting painting.