Cloney East

Cloney East

Cloney East

Travelling south from Monasterevin to Athy takes you through Cloney. At this time of year, the low lying sun makes this an uncomfortable journey as the glare is blinding on this long straight stretch of road. This scene presented me with an unusual composition full of contrast and glittering after recent rain. Coincidentally the river, which runs parallel to the road, is called River Boherbaun or, in English, white road. Appropriate when you look along this white streak on the landscape.

The light source in this painting is within the scene, creating a silhouette effect. This is a problem, with dark areas threatening to dominate the composition. Two areas stood out as potential shadows problems. The tree on the right and the bridge. I reduced the volume of the tree and made the dark areas less solid with light peeping through the ivy covered tree trunk. The bridge was a large dark area and by adding a little reflected light and leaving the two arches, broke up the shadow.

The real world rarely obliges the artist with an ideal composition. There were many changes made in this scene, like the relative size of the tree but nevertheless, the scene was instantly recognisable.

This painting has only 3 colours, Yellow Ochre, Permanent Rose, Ultramarine Blue plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The size is 15″ x 12″.

Here’s the video. See you soon.

Spring Grazing

Spring Grazing

Spring Grazing

The livestock are out and about enjoying the fresh growth having been cooped up since the end of last year. They tend to be a bit frisky and take advantage of any weakness in fencing, ending up where they should not be.

This painting contains only 3 colours (Indian Yellow, Permanent Rose, Cobalt Blue) plus black and white. Indian Yellow is similar to Cadmium Yellow and so produces strong greens when mixed with Cobalt Blue. These 2 primary colours are close to the ideal yellow and blue as seen on the colour wheel. The resultant green is an ‘unnatural’ colour needing red to produce the shades seen in nature. I will always use 3 primaries but most of the time the colours are not perfect versions of the primaries. For example, I use Burnt Sienna as a red, Yellow Ochre as yellow and purple blues like ultramarine or Prussian. The greens produced are usually more natural.

By using a single brush, a filbert No. 10, and not cleaning between mixes there is sufficient ‘contamination’ to ensure red gets into the green mixes. You can do this sort of thing with a limited palette. Obviously there are never more than 3 colours in any mix, so the dreaded mud of too many colours does not happen.

There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The size is 16″ x 12″.

Here’s the video, see you soon.

April Evening

April Evening

April Evening

This unusual sky occurred a few times over the last weeks. Not quite a sunset, but a break in the storm clouds on the horizon producing a band of orange light several hours before sunset.

During the recent controversy concerning the use of cadmium pigment in artists paints, I had a look at possible alternative colours in the event of a total ban on the use of cadmium. I bought a tube of Indian Yellow as it looked a little like Cadmium Yellow. As it turned out, the ban was applied to general industry only and not to artists paints, so cadmium yellow is safe for the foreseeable future.

I used Indian Yellow in this painting where I would normally have used cadmium. Its a strong yellow/orange colour similar to Cadmium Yellow but a little more orange. Its very transparent and so is a good glazing paint. However, in mixes it looses its brilliant golden colour to produce dull secondaries. Notice the left end of the orange band above. In this painting it suits the situation as it does not need to glow as in a traditional sunset subject. As an ‘all prima’ painter, I will be careful in using this colour if I need brilliant effects. I can appreciate how this colour would be great in traditional oil painting. Used as a glaze over pink, for example, would make a sunset glow.

This painting uses only 3 colours, Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson and Prussian Blue plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The size is 16″ x 12″ and was painted in a single session (wet on wet).

Here’s the video.

Wicklow Mountain Snow

Wicklow Mountain Snow

Wicklow Mountain Snow

Only 20 miles to the east, the Wicklow Mountains are rarely seen in normal conditions. Normal conditions are rain and low lying clouds. Occasionally at other times, we get a glimpse of this mysterious backdrop. As they say in Ireland, if you can see the mountains – rain is on the way. If you can’t, its because its raining and most of the time its raining. The scene in this painting is an exception. After days of ‘wintry showers with snow on high ground’ (as he weatherman puts it), spring arrived with sunshine and warm air. The glare of white snow was shimmering on the horizon. What a contrast, cold mountain snow and warm spring growth.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue) plus black and white. The colour wheel used by artists is split into into warm and cool colours. Although interesting and logical in its analytical approach I find it difficult to apply to painting. Paint colours don’t slot into pure primaries producing secondaries etc., so mixing paints does not result in secondaries or tertiaries according to plan. The proportions of paint in the mix will push a colour into the warm or cool sectors. For me its a matter of judging by eye and remembering all colour is relative.

Applications like Photoshop used by digital artists are different. The colours are pure not like those produced by grinding materials like clay or sand into a paste.

The size is 12″x9″. The brushes were a large filbert bristle, a pointed round bristle and a liner for fine lines. No medium used, only solvent.

Here’s the video of the painting process. See you soon.

Morning Frost

Morning Frost

Morning Frost

The winter is almost over. Mornings are beautiful, the bare trees allow the light to penetrate into the deepest places.

This is a break from the graphic paintings of recent times. As you are probably aware I use Alkyd Fast Drying Oils, I mix them with standard oils to overpaint ‘wet on wet’. Overpainting with standard oils requires the under layers to be dry. Although the Alkyd colour is not completely dry, after an hour or so, it is ‘set’ sufficiently to allow a gentle layer to be applied on top. Not ‘glazing’ in the traditional sense, as some mixing does happen. Also note, I don’t use a medium. The solvent I mix for the under layers will evaporate (sometimes with the help of a hair dryer. And yes I know, the danger of solvent inhalation and fire are always foremost on my mind) leaving a very thin layer of paint.

I have in previous posts (very old posts) mentioned the dangers of mixing Alkyd and standard oils (its not recommended by W&N). If you are interested use the search box above. The short version of mixing these two types of paint safely, is not to paint in layers (as in the traditional oil painting method) with the different paint types because the drying rates are so different. Painting in a single thin layer of well mixed paint would seem to be a safe bet (but only time will tell).

Here’s the video, see you soon.