The landscape is busy at the moment, lots of agricultural activity. I like the areas where it is not possible to have successful ‘commercial’ farms. There’s a wildness and charm about these unkempt places. We’ve had an exceptionally dry few weeks and where a once brisk little river served as a boundary, is no longer the case, for curious and mischievous cattle.
This painting is small, a little bigger than some of my recent work, but nevertheless its small (16″x10″). At this size, painting details, like the cattle in the above painting, is a problem. Its not so much to do with size as with producing detail in keeping with the style of the rest of the painting. As you can see, the style is a collection of daubs and blobs, which when viewed from a moderate distance, take on the appearance of a landscape. Meticulously painted cows would not fit in with this scheme.
Its a trial and error form of painting, placing blobs of colour to give the illusion of cattle. Squinting the eyes and adding a bit, and removing another until it snaps into place is how it works for me. There must be a visual clue to this jumble of paint in order to point the viewer in the right direction as to what is happening. Here it is a single cow shape silhouetted against the reflected light which programs us to interpret the paint blobs as the rest of the herd.
Colours used are Cadmium Yellow, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Cerulean Blue plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits.
Here’s the video of the painting process, see you soon.
As we move into Summer the dreaded ‘monotony of green’ has been delayed by the current dry spell. So there is a broader range of colours with green tempered by warn yellows and cool blues.
The solid structure of this composition was painted in a relatively flat mid green. There are no large shadow areas. In the final stages of the painting the flat green was altered on the palette into a range of colours by the addition of yellow and blue. These colours were mixed with large amounts of solvent and dropped onto the wet under layer of the flat green. This created even more variations by the flow of the very liquid paint, sometimes mixing or other times ‘glazing’ over the wet under colour.
There are 3 colours used in this painting, Cadmium Yellow, Burnt Sienna and Cerulean Blue plus black and white. No medium was used, only solvent – White Spirits. The areas where solvent was used extensively will dry to a very matt finish.
There are 2 possible reasons for this. The first is that the medium in the paint is carried into the ground. This is common on surfaces which are not sufficiently sealed for oil painting. Not good for the long term life of the paint layer. It is brittle and the thicker the layer the more likely it is to crack and flake off.
Assuming the surface is sealed, the second reason for the matt effect is caused by the volatile solvent migrating to the paint surface where it evaporates leaving a thin film of paint with very little medium and very little gloss. Some pigments in the paint are more prone to this so the painting will dry with patches of matt areas. The process of ‘oiling out’ corrects this by introducing medium onto this matt film. Because I use so much solvent my paintings dry with a very matt finish and ‘oiling out’ is always necessary.
Here’s the video of the painting process. See you soon.
The season of yellow has passed. The wildflowers of spring and the many shades of yellow are replaced by the many shades of blue. Lilac and wisteria in the garden and bluebells in the woods.
The sky was painted with a thin layer of paint to allow the later layers of the foliage to sit on top without too much interference from the white in the sky mix. When painting ‘wet on wet’, this is always a problem. The white will destroy the rich shadows. The darker colours were placed on top in blobs of solvent rich paint. Any attempt to ‘paint’ in the traditional manner will cause mixing.
When it came to painting the trunks of the trees this mixing with the under colour produced the lighter shades. Just drawing the brush across the surface was enough to lift the lighter sky colour. For the darker fine tree branches I dragged some of the aforementioned blobs of paint in lines to suggest the branches. This is easier than loading the brush with paint and sketching the multitude of fine lines required.
The colours used were Winsor Lemon, Permanent Rose and Cobalt Blue, plus black and white.