South Beach, Courtown – Time Lapse Painting

South Beach, Courtown

South Beach, Courtown

In recent paintings I’ve been using a knife to suggest details. The sort of detail it would be impossible to paint with a brush. The surprising thing is that the context and the bits of paint supplies clues and the viewer fills in the missing bits.

This worked well for me in the painting of the people on the pier. To illustrate what I mean I’ve included a very much enlarged detail from this painting. I placed silhouetted shapes and the context suggests the shapes are people, because you expect people, you see people.

I think that the resultant images are more strikingly real than a meticulously painted figure. I proves that there is nothing more powerful than the imagination.

On the subject of the power of the imagination, another point of interest here is the brilliance of the blue of the sky and sea. This is pure Prussian Blue and white, laid down before later colour mixes were added on top. In the entire painting there are only four colours used, and in the foreground all of these were used. Some were blended and some placed as pure colour which mixed with what was already there. This reduced the brilliance of these colours, further emphasising the chroma of the pure blue colour. What is seen is brilliant blue, not Prussian, which after all, is not a precise colour match of sky blue. Your imagination sees this as seaside sky colour in a similar way to how you see the family group out for a stroll on the pier.

Here is the video of the painting process and see how easy it was to suggest the figures using the point of a knife.

South Beach, Courtown, detail.

South Beach, Courtown, detail about 4″ x 2.5″.


South Beach, Courtown – Oil Painting

South Beach, Courtown

South Beach, Courtown

The weather here is great at the moment. A mixture of intense sunshine and showers. The sort of weather which makes the garden scream for attention and so painting is put on hold for a few days. The sun sets here at 10 pm and darkness falls at about 11 pm. I managed a 2 hour painting after sunset and here it is. Its 14″x10″, the colours are limited as usual, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber and Prussian Blue. As the painting has a rough look to it, when it came to painting the birds I had to resist being too careful with these, as to keep the rough look throughout.

I will post the painting video in a day or two. See you then.

Courtown Harbour – Time Lapse Painting

Courtown Harbour

Courtown Harbour

I liked the mechanical lines and confusion of ropes and cables in this scene. These are working boats, as the pungent stench of fish, nets and various implements testify. I’m not knowledgeable in these matters so I just painted what I saw, lines and angular shapes. How different from natural shapes and growing things like trees. A fine brush can trace the lines of growth and the shapes almost flow off the brush. These lines are harsh and straight.

I used a few painting knives to paint these lines. The knife was used in a few other places to induce a uniformity of texture. I used 3 colours in this painting, Windsor Lemon, Permanent Rose and Prussian Blue. More or less the same as I have been using in the landscape paintings, but there is no ‘earth’ colours used. These are the Ochres, Siennas and Umbers and produce natural colours found in nature. I was hoping to convey a sense of industrial activity and a scent of fish as a bonus.

The painting is 16″ x 12″ and took under 2 hours to complete, which was fast compared to recent paintings so I have the video ready to post now. See you soon.

Courtown – Time Lapse Painting



I think its important to have the horizon level in a landscape painting. I will always draw this important line first before the sketch is started. On bigger paintings I will measure the distance to be absolutely sure its correct.

Its not so noticeable on standard landscape because of distant hills or mountains but when the flat line of the sea is included in a painting its critical its completely level. Its all about the illusion of reality I continuously try and achieve.

I have a steel ruler I use to help me in this endeavour. By lying it flat on the surface of the painting and using it like a stencil to brush flat the lowest sky colours I get a final paint layer completely straight and level. Its amazing how crooked this line can be when painted by hand alone. Only when the ruler is employed can you see how wobbly this horizon line can be. If the ruler causes a few smudges on the lower part, usually the sea, that’s OK as these are going to be overpainted later on.

Here is the video of the painting. See you soon.

Courtown – Oil Painting



I went for a long walk along the beach at Courtown, Co. Wexford as part of my recuperation following a week of sneezing, coughing and everything else that goes with the common cold.

This painting is a bit bigger than my usual, measuring 16″ x 20″ and also took a bit longer than my usual 2 hours, 4 hours in fact. From the outset, the large featureless areas, like the calm sea, the flat beach, would need to be a complex series of colours and shapes to weave an interesting surface. This is a personal preference, I cannot tolerate the monotony of a single layer of colour. By applying layers and not completely covering the previous layer adds this complexity. It means a particular area of the painting must be built up relative to other areas. The clouds were finished relative to the final shape and colours of the waves. As there are only 3 colours used, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Prussian Blue, the process is a bit tedious but the final harmony is worth it.

I have not suggested the scale within this landscape. The trees on the cliff top are no help – they could be any size. I was going to put the usual couple walking at the waters edge in the middle distance, but I thought I could get it to work without this visual cliché. So now the viewer could be standing on the cliff overlooking the panoramic view or standing on the beach about to walk into the sunlight.

I will post the video, possibly in 2 parts, in a few days. See you then.