This little boathouse is on the grounds of the De Vesci Estate, Abbeyleix. The house, a four storey mansion, was built in 1774 by James Wyatt. The boathouse was probably built some time after this date. Although its overgrown and in need of restoration, it still retains the essence of 18th century estate life. As you can see from the photos I took when I visited the estate, I used a little bit of ‘artistic licence’ to convey how it might have looked in former times.
This is another ‘green’ painting. As you probably know I’m using Alkyd oil colours at the moment. Unfortunately the range of colours are not as extensive as standard oils. So I used a standard Cadmium Yellow with the other Alkyd colours (Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna, Viridian Green and Prussian Blue). They are compatible if a few rules are observed. The greens are warm and rich and quite different from the last painting (here).
I am staying with the ‘green’ theme, in celebration of the arrival of summer, but I intend to try and vary the colours as much as I can. Unlike the last painting this took nearly 3 hours to complete because of the details in the foliage. As you will see in the video (in the next few days) the colours were built up with the lightest colours first, with progressively darker colour overlaid. This is one of the advantages of Alkyd, the under colours begin to dry before the next layers are overpainted. Almost impossible to do with standard oils.
I will have the video in a day or two, see you then.
The problem with this time of year, for landscape artists in Ireland, is the overabundance of green. The monotony of green. Its a real challenge to produce variety from one painting to the next. Green is a difficult colour at the best of times. The standard greens like Viridian, Chrome Green or Sap Green straight from the tube have to be conditioned with a red colour to have a natural look. In fact the most natural greens are usually those made from mixing yellow and blue. The colour will vary infinitely between the yellow and blue so its easier not to have a uniform boring colour.
My next painting is also a green Summer landscape and I made a big effort to be different.
In the meantime have a look at the painting of this one See you tomorrow.
If you visited Ross Castle at Killarney, you probably passed this scene. I thought as a subject for a painting this was more interesting than the usual ‘tourist’ scene of the castle and lakes. The circular shape of the bridge and its reflection has a surreal appearance in this ‘jungle’ like setting. I painted the bridge and boats as smooth regular shapes and everything else as chaotic blobs of paint.
I’m still using the Alkyd fast drying paints and these are way more flexible in a single session painting. Another characteristic of Alkyd is the ability to paint on more absorbent surfaces than you would do with standard oils. This painting is on Daler Oil Painting Paper. I’ve had this for years but found it way too absorbent for oils. The only disadvantage is its mechanical weave not like the organic texture of canvas. The paint layer is thick so very little of the weave is evident in the final painting.
The painting was completed in under 2 hours and I will have the video of the process in a day or two. See you then.
The scene is near where I live. The bridge spans the canal, south of the town of Athy. I don’t know why this bridge is named ‘Bunbury’s’. The bridge is disused now as it was on the entrance to Kilmoroney House which is now a ruin. Kilmoroney House was built before the canal arrived here in 1791, so the bridge was probably built at the expense of the canal company as it crossed the entrance to the house. Its possible Bunbury was the contractor who built the bridge.
This week we had 24 hours of rainfall, non stop. One average month’s rainfall, in one day. Now the sun is shining again, and after the recent rain the air is clear and its extremely hot. This affects the colours in a sunset. The last post also featured a sunset with the colours we are more familiar with – reds, oranges and yellows. This sunset is after the rain and the colours are very muted. This is reflected in the palette of colours used. There are still only 5 colours used and they are the same as the last painting [Cadmium Red (red), Cadmium Yellow (yellow), French Ultramarine (blue). Viridian Green, Raw Umber] EXCEPT Cadmium Red is replaced with Burnt Sienna.
The composition would appear to break one of the basic rules, which is ‘never put the centre of interest in the centre of the painting’. The bridge is dead centre and other elements are ‘see-sawed’ either side of this pivot. Its hard to plan this type of structure before starting to paint the picture. It has to be constructed almost like putting children on a see-saw. Two five year olds on one side will weigh the same as one ten year old on the other, or so you think. When the ten year old is outweighed, you add another three year old beside him, but now these two outweigh the other two, and so on, if you follow my drift.
So it is with this type of composition. The large tree was supposed to balance the tow-path and smaller trees on the left. It was too heavy, so I put a gap in the line of trees to add more interest and give extra ‘weight’ on this side. It did, but too much. So more detail on the near right was added… and so on… and so on. Its more time consuming as constant reworking of already painted areas can go astray if concentration is lost. The total time of painting was about three hours. A lot of time was spent just looking at the painting, the actual time of painting was under an hour and a half. I can tell this from the video recording, which I will have in the next post. See you then.