Christmas Wood

Christmas Wood

Christmas Wood

Unseasonal weather has fooled the snowdrops and daffodils into the first stages of blooming. This is a month too early. The outlook is not good for a colourful spring unless the extreme mildness lasts for another few weeks and this is unlikely.

Red and green, the traditional colours of Christmas, permeate this scene. The colours uses are Yellow Ochre, Indian Red and Cobalt Blue plus black and white. I normally use these for Summer landscapes. By leaving the green colours until the end of the painting and applying this green as I would white in a typical ‘snow scene’ I avoided a summery look.

As usual I did not use a medium, only White Spirits solvent. The size is 12″ x 9″.

Here is the painting process. See you soon.

November Stream

November Stream

November Stream

What was a pathway in Summer is now a stream. Excessive rainfall has changed the landscape. The blue of the sky penetrates into this dark corner carried by the recently exposed limestones.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, Cerulean Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The size is 16″ x 10″.

Here’s the video of the painting process, see you soon.

 

October Wood

October Wood

October Wood

Golden browns against the misty blue/green of the deep woods was the inspiration for this morning scene. A lack of rainfall and wind has left the foliage on many of the trees but this is set to change, the storms are coming in from the west.

The background is painted dry and thin. The only solvent was in the initial raw blue. Yellow and white were added to produce a thin transparent gradient. The distant trees were the same 2 colours, just thicker paint and less white. In fact, the only white was what was left on the brush from the previous mix (I’m using a single brush for the entire painting). These trees had shape and definition which was lost in the blending but I think was necessary for a natural effect.

The blending of colours at this stage will make the later fine lines easier to apply. The distant leaves are brushed into the background and the white in this background colour, changes the rich browns to a softer tone. How different this is to the same colour placed on top of the background as in the foliage in the left foreground.

All paint in the later stages had quite a lot of solvent. It has to be ‘wetter’ than the layer onto which its applied, otherwise the under layer is lifted off the canvas on the brush.

As usual I used just 3 colours, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Prussian Blue, plus black and white. I used a single flat filbert bristle and a fine ‘liner’ for the thin lines of trees and branches. The size is 12″ x 9″ and was painted in a single session of about an hour and a half.

Here’s the video of the painting process. See you soon.

Harvest Sky

Harvest Sky

Harvest Sky

With the days shortening the landscape is taking on the colours of Autumn. Greens are now dull and red is everywhere, even in the sky.

I used Cadmium Red. Like all the Cadmium colours this is strong and vibrant. In the sky its mixed with white only, toned down with what remained of the blue/grey on the brush. I’m still using the single brush technique allowing the colours to evolve into the next so the Cadmium mix is not completely 100% with white, which is good. Diagonally opposite is the blue (Prussian) of the water. Again ‘almost’ pure Prussian with a little ‘contamination’ from the Cadmium on the brush.

As usual I used only 3 colours (Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, Prussian Blue) plus black and white. The painting is 12″x9″.

Here’s the video of the painting process. Remember YouTube settings can be changed to view at 720HD and at a slower speed than uploaded.

Harvest Time

Harvest Time

Harvest Time

The glowing yellows of high summer have passed and the ‘brownness’ of autumn is upon us. as yet, there are no typical autumn colours, just a hint of things to come.

The colours used, and there are only 3, are Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, Cobalt Blue. Yellow Ochre and Cadmium produce a range of subtle greens which don’t need the addition of red to give a ‘natural’ green colour. I suppose its the orange in the ochre which is responsible for this nice effect. The addition of the Cadmium Red moves the colour quickly into the autumn colour range.

As usual the process involves using the 3 colours for each and every part of the mid and foreground areas, varying the proportions of each colour to move the colours between purples (Cadmium and Cobalt with a little Ochre) to orange (Cadmium and Ochre and a little Cobalt). I try and avoid equal proportions, as you probably know, this is a formula for shades of grey, OK in the sky but not for closeup foreground colours.

The painting is 16″x10″.

Here’s the video of the painting process. See you soon.

Recent Rain

Recent Rain

Recent Rain

‘Variable’ weather has postponed the onset of harvest. The forecast is not great for the coming days and the current strong winds have made the landscape look a little ‘shredded’. This is not a sunny summer scene but I must be careful not to loose the look of a typical Irish summer.

This painting has only 3 colours; Raw Sienna, Raw Umber, Cerulean Blue, plus black and white. I used no medium, only the solvent, White Spirits. The colours may not be a strong vibrant range but they are warm, even the Cerulean Blue has a warmth, if that is possible for a blue.

I’m still using the single brush technique, allowing the colour mixes to evolve one into the next with the minimum of brush cleaning. Remember this will only work with no more than 3 colours – any more and the colours turn ‘muddy’. Its also important that the 3 colours chosen are capable of producing the required colours.

Here’s the video of the process, see you soon.

 

Summer Green

Summer Green

Summer Green

A sunny painting, in keeping with the glorious long days of Summer.

The colours Cadmium Yellow, Permanent Rose and Cerulean Blue are the colours of Summer. Even the mild Cerulean Blue is capable of producing a strong green when mixed with Cadmium Yellow.

Here’s the video of the painting process, see you soon.

Crossing

Crossing

Crossing

The landscape is busy at the moment, lots of agricultural activity. I like the areas where it is not possible to have successful ‘commercial’ farms. There’s a wildness and charm about these unkempt places. We’ve had an exceptionally dry few weeks and where a once brisk little river served as a boundary, is no longer the case, for curious and mischievous  cattle.

This painting is small, a little bigger than some of my recent work, but nevertheless its small (16″x10″). At this size, painting details, like the cattle in the above painting, is a problem. Its not so much to do with size as with producing detail in keeping with the style of the rest of the painting. As you can see, the style is a collection of daubs and blobs, which when viewed from a moderate distance, take on the appearance of a landscape. Meticulously painted cows would not fit in with this scheme.

Its a trial and error form of painting, placing blobs of colour to give the illusion of cattle. Squinting the eyes and adding a bit, and removing another until it snaps into place is how it works for me. There must be a visual clue to this jumble of paint in order to point the viewer in the right direction as to what is happening. Here it is a single cow shape silhouetted against the reflected light which programs us to interpret the paint blobs as the rest of the herd.

Colours used are Cadmium Yellow, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Cerulean Blue plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits.

Here’s the video of the painting process, see you soon.

Tributary

Tributary

Tributary

As we move into Summer the dreaded ‘monotony of green’ has been delayed by the current dry spell. So there is a broader range of colours with green tempered by warn yellows and cool blues.

The solid structure of this composition was painted in a relatively flat mid green. There are no large shadow areas. In the final stages of the painting the flat green was altered on the palette into a range of colours by the addition of yellow and blue. These colours were mixed with large amounts of solvent and dropped onto the wet under layer of the flat green. This created even more variations by the flow of the very liquid paint, sometimes mixing or other times ‘glazing’ over the wet under colour.

There are 3 colours used in this painting, Cadmium Yellow, Burnt Sienna and Cerulean Blue plus black and white. No medium was used, only solvent – White Spirits. The areas where solvent was used extensively will dry to a very matt finish.

There are 2 possible reasons for this. The first is that the medium in the paint is carried into the ground. This is common on surfaces which are not sufficiently sealed for oil painting. Not good for the long term life of the paint layer. It is brittle and the thicker the layer the more likely it is to crack and flake off.

Assuming the surface is sealed, the second reason for the matt effect is caused by the volatile solvent migrating to the paint surface where it evaporates leaving a thin film of paint with very little medium and very little gloss. Some pigments in the paint are more prone to this so the painting will dry with patches of matt areas. The process of ‘oiling out’ corrects this by introducing medium onto this matt film. Because I use so much solvent my paintings dry with a very matt finish and ‘oiling out’ is always necessary.

Here’s the video of the painting process. See you soon.

Summer Blue

Summer Blue

Summer Blue

The season of yellow has passed. The wildflowers of spring and the many shades of yellow are replaced by the many shades of blue. Lilac and wisteria in the garden and bluebells in the woods.

The sky was painted with a thin layer of paint to allow the later layers of the foliage to sit on top without too much interference from the white in the sky mix. When painting ‘wet on wet’, this is always a problem. The white will destroy the rich shadows. The darker colours were placed on top in blobs of solvent rich paint. Any attempt to ‘paint’ in the traditional manner will cause mixing.

When it came to painting the trunks of the trees this mixing with the under colour produced the lighter shades. Just drawing the brush across the surface was enough to lift the lighter sky colour. For the darker fine tree branches I dragged some of the aforementioned blobs of paint in lines to suggest the branches. This is easier than loading the brush with paint and sketching the multitude of fine lines required.

The colours used were Winsor Lemon, Permanent Rose and Cobalt Blue, plus black and white.

Here’s the video of the painting process.