Morning Mist

 

Morning Mist

Morning Mist

These mornings are deceptively cold. The warm sky colours of dawn has the landscape glowing. In the woods an icy blue mist sits on the pond.

This week instead of colours and the application of paint I will say a little about the planning and design in this painting. As usual this starts as a general plan which is constantly changing as the painting progresses. The under colours, opposite of the final colours, mark out the general shapes.

From the start the open gate was going to be the entrance into this scene. I was manipulating the sky shapes to subtly lead the eye into the opening. See how many lines of colour point the way through this open gate. Foreground plough ridges and pathway also lead the eye in. In the sky I was also trying to keep warm and cool colours playing against each other without a noticeable divide between them. Neutral grey was used to separate the warms and cools. In the early stages the opening and gate was marked with a heavy blob of paint to remind me where it would be. This is on the ‘one third in from the edge’ position, the recommended centre of interest in landscape painting, but I always try and disguise obvious construction elements. This I will do later.

Of course there is the danger of an unbalanced composition with all this activity on the right hand side. To balance the composition I used strong bright sky colour, just above the horizon, extending to the left. I introduced this colour very early in the painting and continued to add raw yellow and white to intensify the colour. The colour is blurred into the distance to give further ‘weight’ to the left.

Finally the trees were added like weights to balance the left and right hand sides. The tallest and heaviest tree is on the left of the two in the centre. Its a little inside the ‘one third’, from the left, as the other tree is a little inside the ‘one third’ from the right. So the ‘one third’ rule is applied to create a balance but using it twice makes it less obvious.

I have to be careful not to overwork. Sometimes ‘mistakes’ I was about to correct, but didn’t, seem not so noticeable after a few days. Other times ‘mistakes’ add interest. After moving around the scene adding or painting out details, I stop when the overall design and composition seems to be right.

There are 3 colours used (Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Prussian Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The size is 16.5″ x 12″. The painting time was about 2 hours, in a single ‘wet on wet’ session.

Here is the video of the process. To view in realtime change speed setting to .25. Quality can also be set up to 1080HD.

Winter Marsh

Winter Marsh

Winter Marsh

The unusual lighting in the winter skies is creating very colourful landscapes with warm colours on very cold days.

Sometimes even the finest brush can’t get the really thin lines as needed in the distant trees above. Or maybe the wet under colour just won’t allow it. As my method is ‘wet on wet’, scratching the paint with a point is always an option. Depending on the pressure applied, you can reveal the white primer or with a little less pressure the under layer of raw colour. The problem is, as it is so easy to do it can be overdone.

I have a few other interesting variations on this technique of scratching the wet surface. Here is one I use from time to time. A pool of very liquid paint is placed on the surface of the painting. It can be drawn out into very fine lines with a point or as I use, the nib of an old pen. An example could be the trunk or branch of a tree in dark brown, painted in blobs of liquid paint on a wet sky layer. By drawing the point out of the blob of liquid paint you scratch a fine channel in the wet sky paint into which the liquid will flow – producing the finest branches no brush can match.

By clicking on the image above you can get an enlarged view of the painting. See how the under colour is revealed in the scratches.

3 colours used (Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The size is 16.5″ x 12″. Most of the painting was done with a No. 8, long filbert bristle. A No. 12 was used to blend the sky but not apply paint. A small round bristle and nylon liner were used for details.

The painting process is below. To view in realtime change speed setting to .25. Quality can also be set up to 1080HD. See you soon.

The Plantation

The Plantation

The Plantation

At this time of year, greys and browns dominate the landscape. If you feel like a bit of colour you will only find it in the sky.

This drainage ditch, dug mechanically straight, aligns perfectly with the setting sun, like a neolithic monument on this one insignificant day in the year. The artificial straightness is part of the cultivated plantation. On this side of the fence the wilderness is trying to get in.

This was a time consuming painting and I blame the placing of individual leaves in an apparent random pattern on the bare branches of these trees. Its a difficult process, to create a pattern and have it not look like a deliberate design, but looking like the randomness of nature. We instinctively create patterns or see patterns especially when they are not needed.

This painting is 16.5″ x 12″. There were only 3 colours used (Indian yellow, Permanent Rose, Ultramarine Blue) plus black and white. There was no medium used, only White Spirits.

Here is the video of the painting process and remember to view in realtime change video speed setting to .25. Quality can also be set up to 1080HD.

Scarlet Flood

Scarlet Flood

Scarlet Flood

The new year starts with great skies, here’s one.

There are only 3 colours used in this painting. They are the primaries, yellow, red and blue. Up until recently I used colours which were weak versions of the 3 primaries. For example, Burnt Sienna for red or Yellow Ochre for yellow. The secondary mixes were subtle soft colours and I would introduce the raw colour, here and there, to perk up these colours. Where the secondary mix was particularly weak, like the green produced by Yellow Ochre and Cerulean Blue, a ‘tube’ green like Viridian was used.

This painting is produced by very strong primary colours, Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson & Ultramarine Blue. To produce a natural landscape with these vivid colours requires using all 3 colours, even in tiny amounts, in each mix. The initial under colours are the lowest quantity in the mixes. For example, the red in the sky is under painted with blue and the blue of the sky is under painted with red. Because its ‘wet on wet’ there is a little bit of this under colour picked up in the final layers. The more you brush the more is picked up. To perk up these layers some of the under colour is left uncovered.

All is revealed in the following video. And remember, to view in realtime change speed setting to .25. Quality can also be set to 1080HD.

Colours used Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue plus black and white. All Alkyd Oil Paints. There is no medium used, only White Spirits solvent. The size is 16.5″ x 10″ and was painted in a single session in under 2 hours.

The Hidden Cold

The Hidden Cold

The Hidden Cold

A little bit of Eastern European weather came our direction recently. No rain or snow, just cold air. The landscape is desiccated and even the evergreens have yellow and orange colours. Warm colours, cold walking.

When you view the accompanying video, notice the 2 ‘dippers’ on my palette. The lower one contains solvent – White Spirits, a petroleum derivative, the upper one I rarely use and when I do, contains Liquin and solvent. The proportions are 25% Liquin, 75% solvent. I use this when the weather is warm as it slows down the evaporation of the solvent.

‘Dippers’ clipped onto the palette and brushes ‘dipped’ therein is the traditional method of adding solvent or medium to paint mixes. What a mess this makes. How do you keep the liquids clean? I use very few colours and a bit of cross mixing will not do much to ‘dirty’ my colours, but with a large number of different colours, all adding their bit to the liquids, makes it impossible to keep colours from becoming muddy.

I use a plastic pipette and add the liquids to the paint mix. I can add a specific quantity, a drop at a time, until I reach the consistency required. Check it out in the video below.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Indian Yellow, Permanent Rose, Prussian Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The size is 15.75″ x 9.75″ and was painted in a single session in under 2 hours.

To view in realtime change setting to .25. Also, quality can be set up to 1080HD.

Year’s End

Year's End

Year’s End

A little bit of frost remains on the grass as a warm front moves in.

One of the most frequent requests I get is to upload a ‘realtime’ video of the painting process. This was technically impossible for me because of the file sizes involved and my broadband was not good.

Recently my broadband capacity got a boost and I can now upload much bigger files. The video I uploaded in this post can be slowed down to the ‘realtime’ speed using the YouTube settings. By doing it like this the file size is still 25% of an actual realtime file but the movement is a bit blurred. Needless to say, the speed can also be increased to my previous setting.

Also remember the viewing quality can be maxed up to 1080HD in the same settings (All this depends on your broadband speeds).

Please excuse the missing start of the painting. In my experimenting, I ‘lost’ the first part of the painting video.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Prussian Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The size is 16.5″ x 12″.

Here’s the video. See you soon.