Oil paintings when kept in the dark tend to darken in colour. Its not the pigments, its the oil. Even the bleached Linseed oil will darken a little. So when the sun shines I take the paintings out of their dark storage and give them an hour to soak up the rays. What a noticeable difference it makes. I think it also helps a bit with the drying process, which apparently, can take years.
This batch of paintings, some of them 2 years old, when exposed to the light reeked of fresh Linseed Oil. A sure sign that there is still some un-oxidised oil present and a reminder of the advice of allowing a year to elapse before final or permanent varnish.
I wonder does anyone take this advice seriously. I agree this is the correct procedure for the hard final picture varnish. I prefer to apply a temporary varnish at 6 months and frame under glass. The option is there to apply a final varnish at some point in the future when the painting is a few years old.
Paintings in Sunlight
This long drying time really necessitates using some form of accelerated drying agent in the painting. I have switched to using Alkyd paints and sometimes the painting is almost touch dry after a few hours. This paint is based on a resin similar to Liquin, a medium for standard oil paints. Just remember not to apply this as a varnish or for ‘oiling out’ as it seals and retards the drying of all that lies below it.
Here is the video of the above painting process. See you soon.
Oughaval Wood, just outside Stradbally, Co. Laois, is full of curiosities like the remains of estate walls and there is also a Mass Rock nestling in a wooded dell deep in the woods. Its also a great place for Bluebells. I was there a few weeks ago when these beautiful wild flowers were only beginning to emerge. By now, after this warm dry spell, the woods will be carpeted in Ultramarine blue. I can’t wait to go back for a long walk.
I was interested in having a strong foreground feature to emphasise the distance and the inviting light. The flowers and ferns were just right for this little job. But in keeping with the style of the rest of the painting I could not paint these features as a botanical artist would do, that is with precise details with every leaf and petal rendered accurately. I painted an impression of this clump of foliage with blobs and splashes of colour (click on photo above to see what I mean). In a way its more difficult to do than a precise drawing. I place the shadows as large areas of thin colour and begin to add the highlights, a stroke at a time with my eyes half closed, until a recognisable image begins to emerge. Its very fast to do compared to the tedious task of accurate drawing and I think for some unknown reason looks more real, to me at least.
There are only 4 colours used in the painting, with no medium, only White Spirits. The colours are: Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine. With black and white also of course. I like the greens produced by Cadmium and Ultramarine. The ‘red’ in this blue makes a very natural green. The pure blue and white mix of the flowers are also more connected with the greens because the same blue is used throughout the entire painting.
I will have the video of the painting process in a few days, see you then.