Woodland Stream – speed drying

Woodland Stream

Its not unusual to see a watercolour painter using a hair dryer to speed up the drying of background washes before the final details are added on top. This ensures that the details are sharp and not blended into the wet surface. The initial dark colours in oil painting are sometimes mixed with a solvent only which will evaporate quickly and not interact too much with the final colours. In this painting I needed to evaporate the solvent quickly as I wanted to finish the painting in about 1 hour. So I used the hair dryer. The downside of this is that these colours will become lighter in colour and affect the apparent tonal range within the painting. You must ignore these parts and press on with the painting. If you paint a picture over several sessions allowing the previous layers to dry the usual practise is to ‘wet out’ the painting with something like ‘Liquin’ and the painting looks as if it is freshly painted without the problems associated with painting into wet paint. For example, suppose you are painting a landscape which has a tree in front of a sky. You have painted the sky which is now dry and you you now want to paint the tree. You ‘wet’ the sky with a thin layer of ‘Liquin’. As you are putting in the details of the tree the lighter colours of the sky are not contaminating the darker colours of the tree. It feels like you are painting onto wet paint with the advantage that if you need to make a correction the offending piece can be removed easily with a tissue paper dampened with solvent. It allows you to have several attempts at painting the tree as in our imaginary landscape above.

Check out the video in previous post.

Art Materials – from where?

When I decided to start this blog I decided only to make contributions which are of interest or value to anyone who bothers to read it. I will resist the urge to outpour details of the trivia of my life and times and keep the format simple and straightforward. This post, I think, will be of interest to Irish readers living in relatively remote areas, of which there are many in Ireland. Where I live there are no art supplies outlets. There are, of course, suppliers of craft products and stationery items but not the ‘artists’ grade or range of materials. I needed some paints and Liquin and would have to order ‘on line’. This normally means a UK based company which means an extended wait for the materials to arrive. I discovered ‘CorkArtSupplies’ an Irish based ‘on line supplier. I ordered 5x37ml tubes of Winsor & Newton paints, 500ml of Liquin and a small brush on Sunday night (after midnight, so actually Monday morning) and received the package today (Tuesday morning) by post. The prices were not significantly different from what I would have paid elsewhere and the range of materials is good. Check it out!

Outdoor sketch, Church Ruins, Inis Oir

Summer is slowly arriving and I am looking forward to getting out and painting a few ‘bright, green landscapes’. I intend to video some of these painting sessions but will have to reduce the size of the paintings. A 1 hour painting compresses nicely into a 10 minute ‘time lapse’ YouTube video and is not too compressed. I personally enjoy watching these type of painting videos. Not too long to be boring and as they say ‘a picture is worth a 1000 words’, especially a moving picture.

On left, an ‘on the spot’ sketch, a possible painting in the future.

Still Life, direction change

Latest version

I’ve been busy working on this painting. The original plan was to have a screen of some type resting on the table behind the objects. This looked odd so a change had to be made. I hate when I have to do this. Painting behind foreground objects is difficult. The edges always get ‘damaged’ and have to be repaired later. I removed the screen and extended the tabletop. The addition of the green curtain adds more colour. Now what to do with the right hand side??

This illustrates one of the great features of oil painting – you can make changes as you go along. I will publish a time lapse video in 2 parts because the 10 minute limit is too short for the full painting.

Point of interest: Working out the shape of the rectangular tabletop! Of course you can do it ‘by eye’. But there s a simpler way. At the drawing stage the horizon line has to be established first. As you will see in the video the horizon line is very high up – about a quarter of the way down from the top of the painting. The opposite sides of the table top, if extended, have to converge and meet on this line to have correct perspective. These meeting points may, or may not be within the area of the painting. In the above painting the right and left sides converge in the upper right corner of the painting. I will do a more precise explanation at some point in the future, whenever I finish the above project.