Amber Shade – Time Lapse Painting

Amber Shade

From the point of view of materials this painting is simple. This requires more effort to achieve an acceptable result and this means working the brushes to create a interesting surface in the absence of colours. Apart from the limited palette (Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre and Cerulean Blue) there were only three brushes used.

This is significant for me as I generally use a range of brushes for each stage in the painting process. I have my favourites. The small long bristled nylon for details, usually at the final stages. The large flats for the expansive areas of sky and the very large ‘filberts’ to blend and soften the clouds. The work horses are the medium rounds for the main areas of painting. These are the most useful as they are wide enough to apply large amounts paint quickly but also for painting areas needing a clean sharp edge. This is achieved by rotating the brush clockwise in left to right strokes and anticlockwise for right to left strokes. In both cases the sharp edge will be on the upper edge of a horizontal stroke. If you try it you will know what I mean.This might sound a little fussy but if your paintings need areas of colour with edges and not outlines, this is a good skill to master.

Unusually, as I said above, there were only three brushes used in this very limited palette of ‘dull’ colours. The main reason for using many brushes is to reduce the time required to clean them while painting. This method of applying washes of colour with White Spirits only, effectively kept the brushes clean between the applications of different colours. Another advantage of the ‘no medium, solvent only’ method.

The extra effort in the painting I began to talk about, before I digressed into brushes, is the drawing of a multitude of fine lines onto the wet backgrounds. Its not a simple task. There are no ‘construction’ lines or sketch marks to follow. As in all drawing the line makes a definite statement and the image leaves the area of realism (as in photo realism) and becomes representational. This painting subject is from the imagination and the multitude of lines suggest areas of solid mass drawn from the imagination. I am creating what I know is there and not what I would see if this scene existed and I was looking at it.

If I allow this to progress I can loose the link to realism and enter the area of ‘fantasy’ images. These images will resonate with viewers whose visual experiences is similar to mine but lack the universal language of the visual world. An ongoing struggle for me as I attempt to keep a ‘look of reality’ in my paintings.

Here is the video of the above painting process.


Amber Shade – Oil Painting

Amber Shade

The season of autumn is upon us. In the woods the change is most obvious. The bright sparkling light filtered through the amber leaves was the inspiration for this painting. Although in shade, there are few deep shadows.

I’m trying my ‘watercolour’ method on this woodland scene. As in the previous paintings (here and here) there is no medium used, only White Spirits. I’ve described the method in recent posts. Here, the materials are simpler than before. Three colours and three brushes. Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre and Cerulean Blue are the colours used.

I will post the video of the painting process in the next few days.

Harvest – Time Lapse Painting


For the unlearned, old age is winter; for the learned it is the season of the harvest.

This is a technique you might like to try. It involves using a solvent only, like White Spirits, to flood the surface of the painting in washes, allowing the spirits to evaporate between applications. There is absolutely no medium added. However, remember there is a certain amount of medium already in the paint, but in spite of this the painting will dry to a very flat, matt finish. It will, most certainly, need to be ‘oiled out’ when dry (see here).

It reminds me of ‘loose’ watercolour painting, in that the flow of the liquid very often determines the shapes and textures of the final painting. I use this technique to counteract the ‘heaviness’ that can creep into my paintings if I concentrate too much on technicalities. Here, its haphazard and accidental, but I let it flow (literally) and then add the final touches, normally the highlights. This is in fact the reverse of traditional watercolour, where the lightest washes are applied first and the final touches are the darker colours.

Brushes used

There are a few things to be aware of. The vapour from the solvent is toxic and flammable. Need I say more! The solvent will flow everywhere, so the canvas will have to be horizontal, or flat on a table top. A soft ‘watercolour’ type brush will be useful to carry the liquid as is the case in watercolour painting. Included on right is a photo of the brushes used. The large ‘filbert’ on the left is used to blend the colours and soften edges but not to apply paint. The second is a standard round bristle, used to apply the final layers of paint. The third is the ‘watercolour’ type brush and the two on the right are nylon fine tipped for details.

There are many advantages in this type of painting technique. The later layers of colour sit nicely on the under colour, for example the painting of the trees on the sky was easy with no contamination of the dark colours in the fine branches. When medium is used in the sky mixes I will usually have to scrape a track with the knife to accommodate the fine lines of trees as in this painting. The paint manufacturers (Windsor & Newton) say this is the only ‘safe’ way to use oil colours. Very thin layers with the minimum of medium. The problems of cracking, flaking, extreme long drying times, etc are reduced or eliminated. But as I said previously, the painting must be ‘oiled out’. There might be a problem with colours which are not fully permanent. Extremely thin layers of a ‘fugitive’ colour could make the fading more noticeable than a thicker layer. I am probably overly concerned with permanence as is reflected in the ‘dull’ colours of my limited palette.

Here is the video of the painting process. The size, about 13″ x 20″. The actual painting time was about an hour and a half, with another hour spent waiting for the spirits to evaporate between applications of paint and going outside to ‘take the air’.