Spring Light

Spring Light

Spring Light

The woods are about to spring into life. The light has arrived but the temperatures are still a bit low. At the moment the trees are bare, except for the beeches with their brown, over-winter foliage. Soon it will be green, green and more green and I will be trying to add a bit of ‘spice’ to this monotony. Its always a challenge.

I was trying to convey sunlight without the usual ‘sunny day’ look. Cool sunlight, fresh and clear. The curtain of blue (Prussian plus a little Lemon Yellow) in the background and water, dominate the scene. The touches of warm colours (Burnt Sienna, green and yellow) produce a vibrant contrast.

The painting has a graphic look created with a sign painters ‘liner’. An inexpensive nylon brush used to paint long continuous lines on signage. Trees drawn with these long unbroken lines, from the ground upwards, convey the growth patterns of trees. The loaded brush at ground level produces a thick heavy line which thins as the brush travels upwards. Its important to rotate the brush between your fingers, especially at the fine line stage. This keeps the bristles pointed, otherwise, instead of really fine lines you’ll get a ‘furry’ blur.

Remember, I don’t use a medium. The background has to be a really well brushed, thin layer of paint with solvent only added. In a few minutes the solvent evaporates and this can be painted over with the fine lines. The paint used to ‘draw’ the fine lines has the consistency of ink, produced by adding loads of solvent and ‘mulling’ the paint with the flat of the palette knife. If this paint does not contain more solvent than the surface on to which you are painting, the background paint will be lifted onto the brush with no paint will be applied. This technique irritates many traditional oil painters who like the thick, sticky consistency of oil paint.

Also remember I use Alkyd Oil Colours. These are fast drying colours and begin to ‘set’ as soon as they are applied, so the background can be painted earlier than with traditional oils.

The colours used were Winsor Lemon, Burnt Sienna, Prussian Blue plus black and white. I used a single filbert bristle and the ‘liner’ mentioned above. The solvent was Artists White Spirits (a petroleum spirit for thinning paint). The size is 13″x9″.

Here’ the video, see you soon.


13 thoughts on “Spring Light

  1. Pingback: After the Storm | PictureS

  2. I love the way you paint your trees so realist, Have been working with three colors and white for some time. Never thought to change out the red with Bt. Sienna.. Have learned so much from you… Thank you so much for sharing your talent with the world… Marilyn

    • Thank you Marilyn. The number of colours I use have decreased over the years. I used to put out the mandatory 12 and found I was using them because they were there and not because I needed them. I used 5 for a few years, then 4 and now 3, with the occasional flurry and I add an extra 1. I also put out ‘less’ paint than I think I will need. Adding more has to be a conscious decision with a particular need for it. This seems to be contrary to current methods where you are advised to put ‘generous’ amounts of paint on the palette. With so few colours I know exactly what to expect as its easier to remember the combinations. I like to have at least this level of control as the painting process is often chaotic.

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