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.
Here’s the video, see you soon.
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.
Here’s the video of the process. See you soon.
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.
Its a time of storms as the last leaves are shaken from the trees. I was interested in portraying movement and energy. I used diagonal lines and rough painting to help convey this.
The colours used are Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber and Prussian Blue. White was also used but no black. I’ve not been using black recently and this has an effect on the colours and the overall look of the paintings. When I was using black, its purpose was to darken the colour of the various mixes used in mid-tone areas to produce shadow areas. Without black the shadows are produced by adding more blue to the mid-tones. So all shadows are blue-purple, as the only other colours I’m using are Burnt Sienna, or Raw or Burnt Umber. Only 1 of these are used in a painting. Also the greens don’t get darker in shadows they become a shade of turquoise.
At the moment I have no plans to start using black again, but things could change. I like the look of these paintings. The colours are beautiful, if you don’t mind me saying so myself. I’m happy I have retained a semblance of the real world with colours that belong to semi-abstract paintings.
The size is 16″x12″ and took about 2 hours to complete. I used no medium only solvent to spread the colour.
Here’s the video of the painting process. See you soon.
This is a 3 colour painting plus white. The unusual feature here is the sky. It was painted with 2 colours plus white. Burnt Sienna and Prussian Blue produce a range of colours from green to purple depending on the proportions of each colour. The very first ‘wash’ of paint has a definite green look to it and you would be forgiven for thinking that the final lighter shades on the right hand side of the sky has some yellow in there. But no, not a bit. Its Burnt Sienna and the smallest hint of Prussian Blue. Amazingly, its yellowish in the presence of the same mix with more blue in there. Magic!
The yellow I used later on was Raw Sienna. This is very similar to Yellow Ochre but with a more orange tint. It fits in nicely with the shades produced by the Burnt Sienna and very similar to the tints in the sky, mentioned above. It was introduced for the first time in the foliage of the large tree. As you will see, in the accompanying video, this was quite late in the painting process. There was no deliberate attempt to produce a green colour by mixing with blue. The greenness was there from the Burnt Sienna and Prussian Blue under layers, as discussed previously.
The painting is 16″x12″ and was painted in 2 hours, 3 colours plus white (no black used) and no medium, White Spirits only. Only 1 brush was used for the bulk of the painting, a No. 12 round bristle. The fine lines were introduced with a 00 size, cheap nylon brush. Note that the bristle brush was not cleaned during the entire painting. The excess was wiped off in a tissue paper. This is possible because throughout the entire painting, the same 2 colour mix is used, only the proportions of each colour changes.
Here is the video. See you soon.
In every part of Ireland you will see walls like these. Usually they are associated with an estate or landlord’s residence. Many were built as famine relief work in the 1840’s. At that time, the social structure was landlords and tenants, similar to the rest of the United Kingdom. Tenants rented small holdings from the landlord and paid rent in the form of a portion of their produce. In Ireland there was one major difference to the situation that existed in the United Kingdom. Here, the landlord was usually a ‘planter’, that is, English or Scottish, planted on the land in place of the de-possessed Irish chiefs. Some landlords treated their tenants very well and some did not. But nevertheless, having a non indigenous aristocracy was a social structure doomed to failure. This came during the Irish War of Independence in 1920. Some of the ‘bad’ landlords were attacked and their houses burned. Others, including some ‘good’, took fright and abandoned their estates. When the Irish Free State was formed, the Land Commission divided many of these abandoned estates and distributed the land among the former tenants. The estates were gone but the boundary walls still remain. Here is a poem titled “The Planter’s Daughter’ by Austin Clarke and gives a flavour of the position of the landlord in Irish society prior to independence. There’s an interesting discussion on the poem here.
The Planter’s Daughter
When night stirred at sea
And the fire brought a crowd in,
They say that her beauty
Was music in mouth
And few in the candlelight
Thought her too proud,
For the house of the planter
Is known by the trees.
Men that had seen her
Drank deep and were silent,
The women were speaking
Wherever she went –
As a bell that is rung
Or a wonder told shyly,
And O she was the Sunday
In every week.
Here is the video of the above painting. Materials and method similar to last painting. See you soon.
Round Towers are found in many parts of Ireland, usually associated with former monastic settlements. It was once thought they were built as places of refuge from the raiding Vikings over a 1200 years ago. After all they were built like small castles and the only entrance was 10 feet above ground level, accessed by a ladder. Although the monks may have tried to escape the raiders in the towers most experts now think the towers were built primarily as bell towers. Monastic settlements were more than just places of worship. The temporal welfare of the occupants needed to be catered for so this meant a lot of agricultural and industrial activity. A bell to announce times for the beginning and end of various activities throughout the day was essential for a well ordered society and these settlements could cover large areas and have many occupants. One of the best preserved towers is in Glendalough, County Wicklow. I have included it in this scene. By the way the reason why the entrance was so high up was because the towers were built without a foundation so the bottom of the tower was a solid lump of masonry, up to the height of the doorway, to stop it falling over.
Like the last painting (here) this scene was sketched in with dry paint (unmixed with solvent or medium). Later colours are added on top and a certain amount of mixing happens to alter these colours. Its easy to control if the paint is kept dry. The more you work it, the more mixing happens.
Still using just 3 colours and white only, no black. The colours are Raw Sienna, Raw Umber and Prussian Blue. White Spirits was used initially to spread the dry paint at the sketching stage and at the end to paint the fine lines of the trees and building details.
Here is the video of the painting process. See you soon.