Kilkea Castle Grounds

Kilkea Castle Grounds

Built in 1180ad by the invading Normans, this castle was the longest inhabited castle in Ireland until the financial crash nearly a decade ago. In recent decades it was a hotel and plans are afoot to reopen the hotel..

The two towers of the castle, in grey limestone, are intrusive in this idyllic scene. I echoed these two vertical shapes in various parts of the design. Most notably the reflection in the river, the two trees on the right and the two trees on the left of the castle. This places the castle as part of the landscape. I think this is a harmonious arrangement in this instance, rather than placing trees etc. at random. Of course if this is too obvious it will look un-natural.

The use of only three colours will guarantee harmony of colour, provided the colours are well distributed over the entire surface as secondary and tertiary mixes. The three colours used here are Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits.

The size is 16.5″ x 12″ and was painted in a single ‘wet on wet’ session of about two hours.

Here is a video of the painting process. To view in realtime change setting to .25. Quality can also be set up to 1080HD. See you soon.

Wetlands

Wetlands

Wetlands

The emergence of spring green with the remains of winter browns is always an inspiration.

I’m using my usual composition to draw the viewer into the painting. The diagonal lines from the corners lead the eye into the landscape, around the central group of trees, to the mysterious mountain in the distance.

There is the appearance of perspective because of the regular size reduction, with distance, seen in the trees. I was trying to avoid the cliche of the line of trees running into the distance with the appropriate perspective applied. So the trees are grouped, flat-on to the viewer, and placed at receding distances. The central group have 3 shorter trees on the left to help the illusion. I think it is more interesting like this.

I’m making much use of underpainting and allowing it to be part of the final painting. I’m choosing transparent colours as these work best and glow in the final painting.

The size is 16.5″ x 12″ and was painted in a single ‘wet on wet’ session in about 2 hours.
This painting uses only 3 colours (Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits.

Here is the video of the painting process. To view in realtime change speed setting to .25. Quality can also be set up to 1080HD. See you soon.

February Marsh

February Marsh

February Marsh

Highlight colour usually contains white. The more white the lighter the tone, the weaker the colour. I used very little white in these foreground colours in order to get rich colour. The dark colourless shapes of the trees on the right emphasises this colour. Notice the transparent under colour layer of blue also in here using colour contrast to help emphasise the richness of the colour. To see these details click on the picture above to see an enlarged version.

The size is 16.5″ x 12″ and was painted in a single ‘wet on wet’ session in about 2 hours. This painting uses only 3 colours (Cadmium Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits.

Here is the video of the painting process. To view in realtime change speed setting to .25. Quality can also be set up to 1080HD. See you soon.

Winter Marsh

Winter Marsh

Winter Marsh

The unusual lighting in the winter skies is creating very colourful landscapes with warm colours on very cold days.

Sometimes even the finest brush can’t get the really thin lines as needed in the distant trees above. Or maybe the wet under colour just won’t allow it. As my method is ‘wet on wet’, scratching the paint with a point is always an option. Depending on the pressure applied, you can reveal the white primer or with a little less pressure the under layer of raw colour. The problem is, as it is so easy to do it can be overdone.

I have a few other interesting variations on this technique of scratching the wet surface. Here is one I use from time to time. A pool of very liquid paint is placed on the surface of the painting. It can be drawn out into very fine lines with a point or as I use, the nib of an old pen. An example could be the trunk or branch of a tree in dark brown, painted in blobs of liquid paint on a wet sky layer. By drawing the point out of the blob of liquid paint you scratch a fine channel in the wet sky paint into which the liquid will flow – producing the finest branches no brush can match.

By clicking on the image above you can get an enlarged view of the painting. See how the under colour is revealed in the scratches.

3 colours used (Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The size is 16.5″ x 12″. Most of the painting was done with a No. 8, long filbert bristle. A No. 12 was used to blend the sky but not apply paint. A small round bristle and nylon liner were used for details.

The painting process is below. To view in realtime change speed setting to .25. Quality can also be set up to 1080HD. See you soon.

The Hidden Cold

The Hidden Cold

The Hidden Cold

A little bit of Eastern European weather came our direction recently. No rain or snow, just cold air. The landscape is desiccated and even the evergreens have yellow and orange colours. Warm colours, cold walking.

When you view the accompanying video, notice the 2 ‘dippers’ on my palette. The lower one contains solvent – White Spirits, a petroleum derivative, the upper one I rarely use and when I do, contains Liquin and solvent. The proportions are 25% Liquin, 75% solvent. I use this when the weather is warm as it slows down the evaporation of the solvent.

‘Dippers’ clipped onto the palette and brushes ‘dipped’ therein is the traditional method of adding solvent or medium to paint mixes. What a mess this makes. How do you keep the liquids clean? I use very few colours and a bit of cross mixing will not do much to ‘dirty’ my colours, but with a large number of different colours, all adding their bit to the liquids, makes it impossible to keep colours from becoming muddy.

I use a plastic pipette and add the liquids to the paint mix. I can add a specific quantity, a drop at a time, until I reach the consistency required. Check it out in the video below.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Indian Yellow, Permanent Rose, Prussian Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The size is 15.75″ x 9.75″ and was painted in a single session in under 2 hours.

To view in realtime change setting to .25. Also, quality can be set up to 1080HD.

December Afternoon

December Afternoon

December Afternoon

Fog and mist hang in the air.

The size is 16.5″ x 12″. Painted in a single session.  3 colours used Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits.

Here’s the video of the painting process.
The photo of the painting can be seen enlarged by clicking on the image above.
The YouTube setting allows the video to be played at a slower / faster speed or the quality to be changed up to 1080HD.

See you soon.

Silver Shadows

Silver Shadows

Silver Shadows

Gold sky and frosty silver shadows, has given this mucky lane a certain charm.

Only 3 colours used (Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue) plus black and white. The medium is Liquin and White Spirits. The size is 16.5″ x 12″, painted in a single session.

Here’s the painting process, see you soon.

November Fog

November Fog

November Fog

The greyness of fog will soon melt away in the morning sun.

I like to have fine line details in my paintings, such as in the trees or foreground grasses. I also like these details to have a natural look. This is a difficult task. Some very small details can be suggested as in the distant trees or the very small branches in the 2 trees on the left in this painting.

I use a very fine nylon brush for the details which have to be seen, the tree trunks and fence posts for example. Carrying a solvent rich quantity of paint on the brush can produce these lines on the wet under colour. The smaller details can be dragged out of these ‘reservoirs’ of liquid paint with the tip of the fine brush. As with the trees here, they were populated quickly with lots of smaller branches using this technique.

For foreground grasses the same applies – blobs of liquid paint are put in place, sometimes outside the edge of the painting and flicked upwards with the fine brush.

This painting uses 4 colours (Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson, Raw Umber, Cobalt Blue) plus black and white. All colours are Alkyd Fast Drying Oils, except Cobalt Blue. The medium used is Liquin and White Spirits. The size is 16.5″ x 12″ and was painted in a single session in under an hour and a half.

Here’s the painting process, see you soon.

First Snow

First Snow

First Snow

The first snow of the season. Autumn colours, not completely blanketed in white, are still there.

The under colours mix a little with the overpainted white and add so much colour in faint shades. There is always a danger of snowscapes being sterile and stark. I apply all the usual colours of a standard landscape as transparent layers with very little medium and then apply the white. Its helpful to do this ‘wet on wet’ as I have done here in this painting.

The size is 16.5″ x 12″ and was painted in a single session of about 2 and a half hours. The colours are: Indian Yellow, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Dioxozine Purple, Ultramarine Blue plus black and white. The medium used is Liquin and White Spirits.

Here is the video of the painting process, see you soon.

Blackthorn Hedge

Blackthorn Hedge

Blackthorn Hedge

A few recent frosty nights has denuded this row of blackthorn trees and left them in a decidedly ragged state.

Most of this painting is composed of transparent shadow colours. I’m using Liquin medium in a lot of solvent to achieve the transparent effect. I would like to use solvent only in these layers for the ease of overpainting trees and leaves later on. But the solvent on its own does not form a paint film and seems to wash the paint into the weave of the canvas, exaggerating the texture.

24 hours later the painting is dry (remember I use some Alkyd fast drying paints) and very dull. A day later I will ‘oil out’ and the colours will return to their original glory.

The size is 18.5″ x 16″ and was painted in a single session of about 3 hours. The colours used are Indian Yellow, Burnt Sienna, Dioxozine Purple, Ultramarine Blue plus black and white. The medium is Liquin and White Spirits.

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