October Wood

October Wood

October Wood

Golden browns against the misty blue/green of the deep woods was the inspiration for this morning scene. A lack of rainfall and wind has left the foliage on many of the trees but this is set to change, the storms are coming in from the west.

The background is painted dry and thin. The only solvent was in the initial raw blue. Yellow and white were added to produce a thin transparent gradient. The distant trees were the same 2 colours, just thicker paint and less white. In fact, the only white was what was left on the brush from the previous mix (I’m using a single brush for the entire painting). These trees had shape and definition which was lost in the blending but I think was necessary for a natural effect.

The blending of colours at this stage will make the later fine lines easier to apply. The distant leaves are brushed into the background and the white in this background colour, changes the rich browns to a softer tone. How different this is to the same colour placed on top of the background as in the foliage in the left foreground.

All paint in the later stages had quite a lot of solvent. It has to be ‘wetter’ than the layer onto which its applied, otherwise the under layer is lifted off the canvas on the brush.

As usual I used just 3 colours, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Prussian Blue, plus black and white. I used a single flat filbert bristle and a fine ‘liner’ for the thin lines of trees and branches. The size is 12″ x 9″ and was painted in a single session of about an hour and a half.

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

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Autumn Wilderness

Autumn Wilderness

Autumn Wilderness

Away from the frenzy of the harvesting, all is quiet here in the marginal land. To see some traditional Autumn colour I will have to go to the woods. Here all is wet and green still, with the darkening days the only reminder that summer is over.

In this painting I used a round bristle instead of my usual filbert. As I am now using a single bristle brush and a liner for details I wanted to see how this single brush technique would work for me. I found the round shape less versatile than the filbert, which, if you don’t already know is a flat with a domed shape. It does have the advantages of a flat for blending and covering large areas fast and also the domed shape allows details to be added. I thought the round would be better for lines, like the trees on the left.

This would have been the case with traditional painting, where the under coat is allowed to dry. No so in this ‘all prima’ method. The bristle picked up more paint than it put down so I finished off this section with the liner. In ‘alla prima’ the applied paint must contain more solvent than the under layer. This works well with the liner (liner = sign painters brush for applying long unbroken lines). The large bristle brim full of solvent might put down paint but not as fine lines.

So for the time being, I will stick with the filbert for the bulk of the painting and the liner for details and fine lines.

This painting is 12″ x 9″ and was painted in under 2 hours. As usual I used 3 colours, Winsor Lemon, Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine Blue plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits as I need the solvent to evaporate to make the later layer sit on top without too much interference from the under layers.

Here’ the painting process, see you soon.

Harvest Sky

Harvest Sky

Harvest Sky

With the days shortening the landscape is taking on the colours of Autumn. Greens are now dull and red is everywhere, even in the sky.

I used Cadmium Red. Like all the Cadmium colours this is strong and vibrant. In the sky its mixed with white only, toned down with what remained of the blue/grey on the brush. I’m still using the single brush technique allowing the colours to evolve into the next so the Cadmium mix is not completely 100% with white, which is good. Diagonally opposite is the blue (Prussian) of the water. Again ‘almost’ pure Prussian with a little ‘contamination’ from the Cadmium on the brush.

As usual I used only 3 colours (Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, Prussian Blue) plus black and white. The painting is 12″x9″.

Here’s the video of the painting process. Remember YouTube settings can be changed to view at 720HD and at a slower speed than uploaded.

Dollardstown Beech

Dollardstown Beech

Dollardstown Beech

After the storms of last winter, many trees were felled by the gale force winds and many of those left standing were severely damaged to the point of being dangerous. So this summer there was widespread harvesting of timber in the affected areas. Fortunately, it was the shallow rooted evergreens that suffered the most, the native evergreens like oak and beech weathered the storm for the most part. Already the new growth is colonising the clearings but the ruts and tracks of the heavy machinery will be there for some time.

We are enjoying a spell of dry, sunny weather. I wanted this painting to be bright and vibrant. In the last few paintings I’ve used a fourth colour, Dioxazine Purple, for the summer shadows (see here). I did not include it this time and used only 3 colours, Winsor Lemon, Burnt Sienna and Prussian Blue. These shadows are rich and dark and there is a lot of contrast in keeping with this brightly lit autumn day.

Here’s the video, see you soon.

 

Riverbank

Riverbank

Riverbank

These cool Autumnal sunny days inspired me to paint this picture.

The water in the foreground was a bit of a challenge as I wanted to represent movement and vigour in an otherwise quiet scene. I tried different approaches similar to the water effect I used here but it was too placid for this scene. Finally I just mixed up a very liquid paint, mostly white, and let the liquid of the paint create the effect. It was important to keep these mixes clean as it could turn ‘muddy’ very easily.

The colours used were: Winsor Lemon, Alizarin Crimson, Dioxazine Purple, Cobalt Blue plus black and white. I used no medium just solvent to liquify the paint.

Here’s the video. See you soon.

Windy Gap

Windy Gap

Windy Gap

An explosion of light here, near a gap in the flat hills of County Laois just West of where I live. There are touches of Autumn in the air and the beginning of the season of mists.

Cadmium Yellow in mixes of Dioxazine Purple and Cobalt Blue with touches of Permanent Rose. It sounds like an exotic recipe and the resultant glowing colours are just right for this landscape.

An abundance of green is lovely in a landscape but I find it difficult to manage in a painting. In a photograph of this scene the grassy fields are like smooth carpets and I will always add a little extra growth to the grass to produce a more interesting ‘shaggy’ look. In the painting above the field on the left was one such area. In a featureless area like this, I build up the colour by gradually adding colours I’ve used in other areas, making sure that the richest, deepest shades are closest to the viewer.

This painting uses only 4 colours, Cadmium Yellow, Permanent Rose, Dioxazine Purple and Cobalt Blue plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. For a while I was using Liquin to slow down the drying of the Alkyd colours I’m using. A better solution was to add standard white oil paint 50/50 with the Alkyd Titanium white. This white finds its way into the lighter final colours and does slow the drying. The shadow colours are better if they are beginning to dry as the painting progresses. This is helped by using solvent only which evaporates fairly quickly.

The painting is 17″ x 12″ and was painted in about 2 hours.

Here’s the video of the process, see you soon.

Winter Evergreen – Time Lapse Painting

Winter Evergreen

Winter Evergreen

Baby G

Baby G

Its been a while since I produced a painting. We were visiting our German grandchild and spent a lot of time playing football in the park (he’s just started to walk). It was 6 months since he saw us last but after a thorough visual examination (see photo), he either recognised our vaguely familiar faces or remembered us. It wasn’t long before he had us recruited to provide entertainment which we thoroughly enjoyed.

The painting here is a slight departure from what I’ve been doing recently. Its less structured and relies more on suggested forms. I used Liquin to keep the paint fluid, unlike my usual solvent only method, which evaporates and allows painted details to be placed on top.

Although its a darker painting, I’m still not using black. In many places I lifted the paint off to produce mid tones. This relies on the transparency of the paint. The Liquin provides a stronger film of paint in these situations where the paint film is so thin it could be damaged by later oiling-out or varnishing.

The colours are Raw Sienna, Indian Red and Prussian Blue, plus white. I used a very large (No. 12) filbert bristle and a very small nylon brush. These were the only brushes I used with not much cleaning between paint applications. Transparent effects are something I think I will explore over the next few paintings. There is a richness in the colour that cannot be matched without glazing over dry layers. This is a traditional method that requires layers and months of drying, and this does not suit my method.

Here is the video of the painting process. Watch out for the paint lifting with a solvent wet brush – it looks like I’m applying a lighter paint layer.