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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This canvas has a rougher texture than I normally use. In some ways this makes painting easier, especially if you want a loose textured look. Although with a lot of brushing very soft effects can be produced.
In the sky here, there is a fluffy softness. It took a bit of brushing and blending but I stopped in time to retain a textured look. There is a longer transition between rough and smooth and this allows more control over this gradual change. On a smoother surface a few extra brush strokes can obliterate your carefully painted clouds.
The previous painting (here) was painted in a similar way to this, on a less textured canvas, resulting in a smooth film of paint. The cloud details were painted last. In the above, details were placed early on and even after a fair bit of blending they were there at the end.
Notice the contrast between the distant trees and the foreground. Working the paint into the canvas gave a cloud-like softness in distant trees. Mid and foreground shapes are just placed brush strokes. At a point near the end of the painting I thought this ‘roughness’ was a little too severe so I softened the hard edges to match the look of the sky.
3 colours were used again, exactly the same as the last painting (Raw Sienna, Raw Umber and Prussian Blue plus white and no black). The size is 16″ x 12″ and took about an hour and a half to complete.
The nights are closing in and there is a definite nip in the air. Twilight is a magical time with an almost full moon and the remains of the sunlight still hanging on the horizon. The moon always looks bigger when its low in the sky. Photographic evidence shows that this is an optical illusion and the moon is the same size regardless of its position in the sky. In a painting I would exaggerate the size a little because we expect the moon to look bigger when its low in the sky.
A bigger problem is the size of the moon relative to the size of the painting. A large landscape, lets say 3′ x 2′, can have the moon size about 1″ in diameter. A painting the size of the above, 12″ x 9″, would have a diameter so small it would look ridiculous if the proportions were scaled down precisely. So the size is again exaggerated to compensate for the small painting size.
In this small painting I wanted a largish moon that was in proportion to the rest of the landscape. I fluffed the outline to not have a precise diameter so it can be as big, or small as you like.
As I said, its a small painting 12″ x 9″, with 3 colours, Raw Sienna, Raw Umber and Prussian Blue plus white. I am still not using black. A little solvent (White Spirits) was used to spread the paint but I used no medium. A single round bristle, No. 12, was used for the entire painting except for the fine lines in the trees. For this I used a 00 nylon brush. The painting time was about an hour.
Although darker than recent paintings, there is no black used in the shadows.
All 3 colours used are very transparent. Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna and Prussian Blue retain it even when mixed together. Any 2 will produce good effects and the addition of the third colour will begin to add opacity.
One way of taking advantage of this transparency is by using solvent in a ‘wash’, like with watercolour. The problem here is the texture of the canvas. It becomes way too noticeable as the paint flows into the weave. Working the paint ‘dry’ into the weave gives the same transparency without the ‘dotty’ pattern. This colour will be intense as seen in the green of the distant foliage in this painting.
The background haze of colour was a solvent wash of colour with white added. This is opaque and although it does flow into the weave, because of the opacity you get an even ‘dot’ free layer. The reason for the solvent wash was that it would evaporate and the resultant paint, containing white, would not interfere as I ‘brushed-in’ the rich greens later on.
The painting is 12″ x 9″ and was painted in an hour and a half. I used a little Liquin to help with the fine lines of the trees otherwise it was solvent only painting. The second dipper on the palette has the Liquin plus White Spirits solution. Notice I use a pipette to transfer this medium and also the White Spirits in the other dipper, to the paint mixes. Although dippers are supposed to be for dipping, I don’t like introducing a paint covered brush into either the medium or solvent solutions, it always causes a mess with both solutions ending up contaminated with paint. Also the amount of either solution can’t be controlled by just dipping the brush.
Here’s the video of the painting process. See you soon.