River Griese near Kilkea
The day is calm, cold with a light dusting of snow. I like dramatic skies but for this scene I had to resist the urge and paint a ‘flat’ sky.
As you will see in the accompanying video, I put a pattern of cloud-like shapes in the sky area. These are ‘islands of paint’ on the blank canvas. Part of this area has a wash of Raw Sienna and solvent only. This was allowed to peep through the later layers to suggest sunset colours behind the gloom of grey. When these ‘islands of paint’ are blended with a flat brush they join up and produce an almost invisible pattern. The original ‘islands’ had a rough perspective applied, that is, the bigger shapes were higher up and slightly darker in colour.
The mid-ground, snow covered field needed an underlying pattern for the same reasons as the ‘flat’ sky needed a bit of variation. This area was coated in a transparent layer, with Liquin medium added. This was then lifted off with a brush moistened with solvent. When the pure white was lightly brushed onto this, a range of subtle colours were produced. There is transparency and opacity in this area, better than a thick layer of white.
The size is 16″ x 12″ and was painted in about 2 hours. 3 colours only used, Raw Sienna, Raw Umber and Prussian Blue plus white but no black. As mentioned, Liquin was used to produce smooth transparent washes and help with the fine lines painted onto the wet under layers.
Here’s the video. See you soon.
Kilkea Bridge, First Snow
First snow, a little bit premature perhaps, but the weather men are talking about the threat, or promise, of snow in the near future. Its a year since I painted a snowscape and my approach to painting has changed in that time. Previously I painted the landscape, shadows and mid-tones, in solvent rich transparent layers. When the solvent evaporated I placed the snow, as a pure white paint, on top of the flat paint layer. By working the white into the under layers it picked up some colour and this added shadow colour to the snow. Check out these paintings and method by typing the word “snow” or “Christmas” in the search box on the left side of this page.
The painting above progressed as a standard landscape with the snow added, not as pure white, but like the standard highlights of a landscape with more white added. The result is less contrasty and harsh.
The painting is 18″ x 12″ and was completed in 2 and a half hours. The colours are limited to 3, Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber and Cobalt Blue. I’m still not using black. I used Liquin to produce smooth transparent under-layers in the sky and distant trees. As I said in previous posts, ‘solvent only’ under-layers exaggerate the canvas texture, Liquin coats and smooths the texture.
Here is the painting video. See you soon.
This scene, almost on my doorstop, reminded me of a Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot painting. So I painted it in a similar style. In recent paintings I was working on transparency effects as mid-tones and even to produce highlights. As I said then, this method I found to be very limiting. Here there are areas in the sky where pure colour is allowed to stay uncovered and the this pure colour is shining as the white of the canvas is illuminating the colour from underneath. The blue and yellow areas are 2 such places.
In the lower part, mid and fore ground, the transparent colour was applied with a Liquin medium. This was wiped off resulting in a glowing range of reds and greys. When I applied the final opaque layer of blue-green and white, I did not cover this completely but left much of it to peep through this layer.
What an interesting texture this created. The transparent red beside the turquoise-ish opaque is a beautiful effect, impossible to convey in the photo above. Although the canvas is rough textured the painting has a delicate, fragile feel to it.
The colours used are Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Cobalt Blue, plus white and no black. Liquin was used in layers destined to be left as final colour but also to produce a transparent smooth layer. The painting is 16″ x 12″ and took about an hour and a half to complete.
Here is the painting process. See you soon.
This painting is as much about taking paint off as putting it on. Its a complete departure from what I’ve been doing of late. This painting, and the last one, are painted with a medium rich paint. This is then removed with a brush wetted with solvent. The idea is to reveal the transparency which some oil colours posess. Transparency is normally used in shadows, with mid tones and highlights produced with opaque colour, usually with white in the mix.
There are limitations with this method as with others. Obviously, using transparent colours is essential. But using a limited range of colours is also important as transparency is reduced the more colours are added to a mix. The artist Dennis Sheehan is an expert with this technique. He uses only 2 colours (brown and green) to produce a landscape. See him at work here www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKFGe35y1N8.
Another, less obvious, requirement of this technique is to use a medium (not solvent) to spread the paint. Solvent does not produce a paint film. Medium will form a layer which coats the canvas texture evenly. Solvent flows into the canvas weave producing a grainy effect.
As I said this is a limited method of painting when used on its own. However, incorporated into a standard painting technique it could produce some interesting effects.
Here is the video of my efforts, but with white added in a few places. The colours are Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber and Prussian Blue. The medium I used was Liquin with a little White Spirits to help it flow. The painting is 12″ x 9″ and took about a little over an hour to complete.
Its been a while since I produced a painting. We were visiting our German grandchild and spent a lot of time playing football in the park (he’s just started to walk). It was 6 months since he saw us last but after a thorough visual examination (see photo), he either recognised our vaguely familiar faces or remembered us. It wasn’t long before he had us recruited to provide entertainment which we thoroughly enjoyed.
The painting here is a slight departure from what I’ve been doing recently. Its less structured and relies more on suggested forms. I used Liquin to keep the paint fluid, unlike my usual solvent only method, which evaporates and allows painted details to be placed on top.
Although its a darker painting, I’m still not using black. In many places I lifted the paint off to produce mid tones. This relies on the transparency of the paint. The Liquin provides a stronger film of paint in these situations where the paint film is so thin it could be damaged by later oiling-out or varnishing.
The colours are Raw Sienna, Indian Red and Prussian Blue, plus white. I used a very large (No. 12) filbert bristle and a very small nylon brush. These were the only brushes I used with not much cleaning between paint applications. Transparent effects are something I think I will explore over the next few paintings. There is a richness in the colour that cannot be matched without glazing over dry layers. This is a traditional method that requires layers and months of drying, and this does not suit my method.
Here is the video of the painting process. Watch out for the paint lifting with a solvent wet brush – it looks like I’m applying a lighter paint layer.