Late Harvest

Late Harvest

Late Harvest

I’m told grain prices are so low this year that farmers will make a loss after this year’s harvest. Maybe this explains the lack of enthusiasm to get the corn cut.

This is a ‘soft sky’. The softness is achieved by hatching and cross-hatching with a wide brush. In this painting I used a clean wide filbert (No. 12, short bristle) to do this blending. This brush is only used as a blending tool and not used to apply paint. Check out recent paintings, especially ‘Late August’ (here) to see the difference this process makes.

Here is an example of an ‘Old Master’ Dutch landscape. I was always fascinated by the softness of the skies in this type of painting. I think the sky must have been produced in a similar way to what I used above, i.e. using a blending technique.

 SALOMON VAN RUYSDAEL A PANORAMIC VIEW OF RHENEN FROM THE BANKS OF THE RHINE TO THE WEST OF THE CITY, WITH THE CHURCH OF ST. CUNERA IN THE DISTANCE, AND A HORSE-DRAWN WAGON AND CATTLE IN THE FOREGROUND


SALOMON VAN RUYSDAEL
A PANORAMIC VIEW OF RHENEN FROM THE BANKS OF THE RHINE TO THE WEST OF THE CITY, WITH THE CHURCH OF ST. CUNERA IN THE DISTANCE, AND A HORSE-DRAWN WAGON AND CATTLE IN THE FOREGROUND

My painting uses 3 colours Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber & Cobalt Blue plus black and white. There is no medium used, only solvent. The size is 16.5″ x 12″ and was painted in a single session of about an hour and a half.

Here is the video of the painting process, see you soon.

Straw Fields

Straw Fields

Straw Fields

The rain came before the straw was gathered, the green growth is now showing through.

Painting fine lines ‘wet on wet’ is always going to be problematic. The physical application of paint is the least of your worries. As in other techniques, like pen & ink, there is absolutely no room for error in the ‘drawing’ of the fine lines. Mistakes cannot be repaired. The only recourse is to ‘disguise’ the mistakes. This type of drawing takes a long time to learn. In traditional oil painting, where the under layer is allowed to dry, the process is a lot easier. Any mistake can be wiped off with solvent and the line reapplied.

As for the application of paint ‘wet on wet’ – the brush applying the paint can pick up the under-colour instead of putting it down. I have a very simple rule which applies to all situations and it is this: the paint on the brush must be more ‘liquid’ than the paint in the under-layer. This means, in most cases, the paint being applied has the consistency of ink, very different from the usual oil paint consistency. This is achieved by mixing the paint thoroughly with solvent, not medium, which tends to be of high viscosity (oily). I find using solvent firstly in the under-layer and allowing it to evaporate and/or using Alkyd fast drying oil paint does make it easier. This is why I use so much solvent.

For thicker lines on wet under-paint, I scrape a ‘channel’ in the paint with a palette knife and paint into this with the liquid paint as you will see in this painting video.

Here’s the process. See you soon.

September Evening

September Evening

September Evening

Season of mists…

The under colour seems to have no relationship to the final colours‘ is a comment I’ve had regarding a number of recent paintings. Sure enough, this is something I’ve started to do in the last few months. There are several reasons for this apparent irrational behaviour.

Principaly, I use only 3 colours and I try and get the 3 into every mix to produce a ‘harmony’. Sometimes this means having the inappropriate colour as an under colour (example: red in the blue of the sky) and not completely covering it with the final layer.

This is the effect the Impressionists were trying to achieve, but in a different way. Their way was to have opposite colours adjacent to each other as deliberate brush strokes. This did achieve the effect of ‘shimmering’ natural light but lost out in terms of producing a natural realism.

You can view the above picture in close up, by clicking on the picture. Notice the multitude of colours in the ‘blue’ of the sky. This may not be ‘photographically’ correct but I think it is vibrant and alive.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Indian Yellow, Permanent Rose, Cerulean Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The painting is 16″ x 12″ and was painted in a single ‘wet on wet’ session of about 90 minutes.

Here’s the video of the painting process.

Late August

Late August

Late August

Autumn colours.

Yellow Ochre and Burnt Sienna are not the most spectacular colours but form rich combinations with Prussian Blue. The colours are ‘natural’ greens, oranges and purples of Autumn.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Prussian Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The size is 12″ x 16.5″ and was painted ‘wet on wet’ in 90 minutes.

Here’s the video. See you soon.

 

 

August Wood

August Wood

August Wood

As we progress through Autumn the colours are rich but the light is reducing in intensity. There is a feeling of over ripe fruit in the landscape.

As you have noticed in recent paintings, I’m using a single ‘largish’ bristle brush for the bulk of the painting. This is not self imposed hardship but part of the 3 colour method I’m working in at the moment. Not too long ago I would have used 6 or 8 brushes and more colours. In a way, more colours necessitated more brushes. Having particular brushes loaded with certain colours and not letting these brushes get ‘contaminated’ by other colours was how I managed to keep colours clean and not descend into a muddy mess.

With 3 colours (a red, yellow and blue – primary colours) I deliberately let all colours come together and only vary the different proportions in the mixes. The colours evolve on the brush blending one into the next without any cleaning of the brush. The brush for fine lines (liner) doesn’t affect this arrangement as it does not hold a significant amount of paint. As you watch the video note the colour changes on the bristle brush.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Prussian Blue) plus black and white. The medium is a very small amount of Liquin in White Spirits (petroleum spirits) and White Spirits neat in separate containers. The painting size is 16″x12″ and was completed in a single session of about 2 hours.

Here’s the video. See you soon.

Wexford Coast

Wexford Coast

Wexford Coast

Ireland’s East coast, particularly Wexford, does not have the spectacular mountains or cliffs you find in the West. More of a sunny, sandy, almost Continental flavour and only 40 miles from where I live.

The soft texture in the sky was produced by blending the paint with the wide filbert brush. The brush is drawn lightly in opposite directions, like cross hatching, to produce a ‘misty’ cloud effect. This paint has a ‘dry’ consistency, i.e. very little medium or solvent.

There is another ‘misty’ effect in this painting, the distant coastline. Painted with a liquid paint, mostly solvent with a little Liquin added. It was the paint left on the brush from the painting of the sky, diluted with the medium solution and placed with very little brushing on the horizon. This liquid paint was transparent and allowed the red under-colour to shine through.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Indian Yellow, Cadmium Red, Prussian Blue) plus black and white. The Medium – Liquin and White Spirits. I used a single large filbert bristle and a ‘liner’ for details. The size is 16.5″ x 12″ un-stretched canvas and was painted in a single session of about 90 minutes.

Here’s the painting process. See you soon.