October Light – Time Lapse Painting

October Light

Recently I’ve been using no medium and a lot of solvent in my paintings. The solvent spreads paint and I’ve used this effect to create shapes and suggest detail in an almost haphazard way. I find this useful in areas of the painting where there are no identifiable features to be painted in. Watercolour artists do something similar with wet on wet washes, allowing the paint to flow here and there. Very often the most difficult areas of a painting to fill in, are these open ’empty’ spaces between features.

Another way to help add interest in a featureless area is to use no medium or solvent at all. The dry brush dragged across the canvas is a bit like drawing with charcoal. Pressure, or lack of it on the brush can suggest details. If you look at the painting here, the foreground really didn’t have anything specific to paint. What I didn’t want was a flat uninteresting area. Using the dry brush and working over this area, features almost suggested themselves and I the just added a few highlights to these features. The old tree stump on the right was needed to balance the ‘exit’ on the left. It was a definite feature and, as such, was easy to paint unlike the ’empty’ stretch running into the distance.

I always try to add interest into empty spaces. Making ‘apparently’ random shapes and colours looks more natural. I find attempts at creating deliberate features tend to look contrived and artificial.

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

Woodland Stream, Late Autumn – Time Lapse Painting

Woodland Stream, Late Autumn

The incredible seasonal variation in the landscape in this part of the world is a constant source of inspiration for me. Recently I’ve noticed, regardless of the colours I use, the flavour of the seasons seem to emerge by the time the painting is finished. I’m a little surprised by this. This presents me with a challenge I can’t resist, as the world changes and we plunge into stark winter.

Not too long ago, before I started a particular painting, I would decide a set of colours appropriate for the scene. As you know I’m not very adventurous regarding the variety of colours I use, but the colours would still be different. Provided I have a red, yellow and blue, all the colours of nature can be mixed. The set of colours for this and the last few paintings was strong and bright (Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow, Prussian Blue), because I wanted to paint the strong and bright colours of Autumn. I was expecting a closer matching of colour from this batch of paintings, but they’re different. Some very different, and without a conscious effort to make them so.

What I am going to do is push this set of colours into a batch of paintings not depicting Autumn, but the cold blue and browns of our Winter. It may not work out and I may be recruiting the Umbers and Ochres and the winter blues (Cobalt) before long. We will see.

I also have to consider the method of painting I’m employing at the moment. Remember a few months ago I started using some ‘watercolour like’ applications of paint, floods of liquid (White Spirits) and washes of colour. Maybe I’m getting more control using this method. It remains to be seen. Isn’t it amazing how interesting and complex such a simple process as putting colours on a white surface can be.

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

Golden Pond – Time Lapse Painting

Golden Pond

This little painting (12″x9″) was an experiment in painting mist in a scene with deep shadows. Of course I’ve painted mist before, but not with such colour and deep shadows, and now without medium in the paint mix.

Looking at this video I’m reminded of this rule for oil painting – darks before lights. It would appear I do not subscribe to this rule as many of the final colours are the darkest in the painting. I have to say, in spite of appearances, I’m a strict follower of the darks before lights principal.

If the rule is qualified by a few additions, it does make sense. In traditional landscape painting, perspective is an important issue. If a landscape is painted from the distance towards the viewer, the scene can be broken down into ‘planes’ of similar distance, each one painted systematically. For example, the sky is the most distant ‘plane’. This is painted first. Within this ‘plane’, the darks are painted first. The deep blues, the greys of the clouds and then finally the lightest parts of the sky. The next ‘plane’ are the hills and mountains of the horizon. Here again, the dark colours are placed down before the brighter shades. The point is, within each ‘plane’ the darks are painted first. Sometimes its necessary to remove all the lighter colours, especially those containing white in the mix, from the palette before a new ‘plane’ is started. Even the smallest contamination of white in the shadow colours can completely destroy the richness of the colour.

The small palette, with so few colours of my working method make this system easy to control. It would not suit most painters as it is restrictive, lacking the flamboyance of other methods. Here’s the video of the above painting including paint mixing.