Unexpected – Time Lapse Painting



I’m adjusting to the Alkyd Fast drying oil colours. The changeover from standard oils was gradual with a phase where I was using Alkyd as an under layer and finishing the painting in standard oils.

Now its Alkyd only. At one point I thought they were only useful as an under layer as the luminosity of the lighter coloured mixes were not as intense as standard oils. This painting and the next (just completed) are exercises in vivid colour, contrast, glowing highlights, and rich shadows.

My initial thoughts about lack of strength in the colours was probably due to the fast drying. By the time the painting was finished in about 2 hours the paint was already beginning to dry and the usual dulling of the colours was already happening. I’ve ‘oiled out’ the recent paintings and wow they’re sparkling.

Here is the painting video. See you soon.


Unexpected – Oil Painting



It started beautiful, a mild and sunny Spring day. By late afternoon the clouds were gathering and a darkness spread across the landscape. The first clap of thunder was unexpected as we did not notice the flash. The startled birds had taken to flight by the time the second flash lit the darkening sky, followed by an earth shaking rumble of thunder.

I am reluctant to paint spectacular natural phenomena. Whether its a sunset or cloud formation, or a grossly unusual gnarled tree. If they are faithfully depicted the integrity of the image is suspect. After all, an artist can imagine any scene and the resultant image may be a figment of his/her imagination.

This scene is from the imagination. I tried to create a natural landscape as it was in this split second of the lightning strike. Not spectacular, just natural beauty. Hopefully, in its normality it will be accepted and invite the spectator to explore.

The shape of the lightning reminded me of an inverted tree. So the scene was created based on the similarity between these two very different natural forms. The world was divided down the middle. Heavenly lit on one side, contrasting with the chaotic, gritty natural world.

As usual I’ll post the video of the painting process in a few days. See you then.

Corn Thieves – Time Lapse Painting

Corn Thieves

I may have mentioned it before but this method of painting is very much related to materials and their handling. Come to think of it, most painting techniques are the same. Watercolours look like watercolours, regardless of the subject of the painting. The same is true with pastels, inks etc. Acrylics and Oils can sometimes be mistaken for each other, because the method and materials are similar. The point I’m making is this, the more competent the painter is with their chosen medium, the more potential there is for creating a satisfying painting.

You might think this is an obvious conclusion. Not to everyone. Too many beginners decide they are not good enough to be a painter after a single attempt. Practice is good. Practice without pressure to produce the goods, is better. Copying a photograph is not so good. Copying a painting is good, as all the stuff like original concept, inspiration, planning, background and also the subconscious stuff working in the background which the experienced artist isn’t even aware of, are not obstacles to learning how the materials work.

I like watching YouTube videos of other artists working (this is a great resource for beginners and experienced artists). Sometimes I cringe at the working methods I see because I work differently. Brushes are a case in point, I take great care of my brushes, many painters don’t. I’m not talking about cleaning them but just using them. A particular brush type does a particular job well. It can do other things but not well.

Brushes used in ‘Corn Thieves’

I include a photo of the brushes I used to paint this picture. Notice the ruler to give an indication of size. A painting has ‘flat’ areas like large areas of skies, and lines, some narrow and some wide. Generally, flat brushes for flat areas and round brushes for lines.

The entire sky was painted with the brush on the left. A ‘filbert’ with long-ish bristles, partially cleaned between colours. The second from the left was used to blend the colours and soften the sky – not to apply colour. The third from the left is a round, also long-ish bristles and this was used in almost all the rest of the painting. This implies lines make up the bulk of the painting and, to a certain extent, this is true. The only ‘flat’ area was the distant corn fields and the pathway, and here the flat, fourth from the left, was used. The other ‘flat’ areas were the distant blue trees and the water in the left foreground. Here the ‘sky’ brush (first from the left) was used.

The small round ‘nylon’ brushes draw the really fine details like the tree branches, birds, gate, posts and grasses. The large ‘Ox Hair’ on the right, I use to do the initial sketch with solvent only, like a watercolour technique.

The different brushes can be identified in the video by the colour of the handles (not intentional, just luck). So here is the video. The colours and medium was discussed in the last post.

P.S. I will not be posting for the next week or so. I will be in Bavaria in Southern Germany. Hoping to get to the Durer Exhibition in Nuremberg.