Shady River Bank

Shady River Bank

Shady River Bank

Cold and colourful, the essence of Autumn.

This painting is 16.5″ x 12″ and uses only 3 colours (Yellow Ochre, Permanent Rose, Ultramarine Blue) plus black and white. The medium is Liquin and White Spirits.

Season’s End

Season's End

Season’s End

The days are shortening and colours are getting greyer, Winter’s coming.

In the painting of the sky, the brush strokes were very obvious because I used solvent only, and lots of it. I don’t like this effect in the sky which should be soft and misty. These brush marks are lessened by blending the paint layer. After the lower part of the painting was completed (in about 1 hour), the solvent had evaporated sufficiently in the sky to allow the paint to be blended. I used a clean large filbert brush to blend the sky colours.

The size is 12″ x 16.5″ and was painted in about an hour and a half. As usual there are only 3 colours used, Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber and Cerulean Blue plus black and white.

Here’s the video, see you soon.

Straw Fields

Straw Fields

Straw Fields

The rain came before the straw was gathered, the green growth is now showing through.

Painting fine lines ‘wet on wet’ is always going to be problematic. The physical application of paint is the least of your worries. As in other techniques, like pen & ink, there is absolutely no room for error in the ‘drawing’ of the fine lines. Mistakes cannot be repaired. The only recourse is to ‘disguise’ the mistakes. This type of drawing takes a long time to learn. In traditional oil painting, where the under layer is allowed to dry, the process is a lot easier. Any mistake can be wiped off with solvent and the line reapplied.

As for the application of paint ‘wet on wet’ – the brush applying the paint can pick up the under-colour instead of putting it down. I have a very simple rule which applies to all situations and it is this: the paint on the brush must be more ‘liquid’ than the paint in the under-layer. This means, in most cases, the paint being applied has the consistency of ink, very different from the usual oil paint consistency. This is achieved by mixing the paint thoroughly with solvent, not medium, which tends to be of high viscosity (oily). I find using solvent firstly in the under-layer and allowing it to evaporate and/or using Alkyd fast drying oil paint does make it easier. This is why I use so much solvent.

For thicker lines on wet under-paint, I scrape a ‘channel’ in the paint with a palette knife and paint into this with the liquid paint as you will see in this painting video.

Here’s the process. See you soon.

September Evening

September Evening

September Evening

Season of mists…

The under colour seems to have no relationship to the final colours‘ is a comment I’ve had regarding a number of recent paintings. Sure enough, this is something I’ve started to do in the last few months. There are several reasons for this apparent irrational behaviour.

Principaly, I use only 3 colours and I try and get the 3 into every mix to produce a ‘harmony’. Sometimes this means having the inappropriate colour as an under colour (example: red in the blue of the sky) and not completely covering it with the final layer.

This is the effect the Impressionists were trying to achieve, but in a different way. Their way was to have opposite colours adjacent to each other as deliberate brush strokes. This did achieve the effect of ‘shimmering’ natural light but lost out in terms of producing a natural realism.

You can view the above picture in close up, by clicking on the picture. Notice the multitude of colours in the ‘blue’ of the sky. This may not be ‘photographically’ correct but I think it is vibrant and alive.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Indian Yellow, Permanent Rose, Cerulean Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The painting is 16″ x 12″ and was painted in a single ‘wet on wet’ session of about 90 minutes.

Here’s the video of the painting process.

August Wood

August Wood

August Wood

As we progress through Autumn the colours are rich but the light is reducing in intensity. There is a feeling of over ripe fruit in the landscape.

As you have noticed in recent paintings, I’m using a single ‘largish’ bristle brush for the bulk of the painting. This is not self imposed hardship but part of the 3 colour method I’m working in at the moment. Not too long ago I would have used 6 or 8 brushes and more colours. In a way, more colours necessitated more brushes. Having particular brushes loaded with certain colours and not letting these brushes get ‘contaminated’ by other colours was how I managed to keep colours clean and not descend into a muddy mess.

With 3 colours (a red, yellow and blue – primary colours) I deliberately let all colours come together and only vary the different proportions in the mixes. The colours evolve on the brush blending one into the next without any cleaning of the brush. The brush for fine lines (liner) doesn’t affect this arrangement as it does not hold a significant amount of paint. As you watch the video note the colour changes on the bristle brush.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Prussian Blue) plus black and white. The medium is a very small amount of Liquin in White Spirits (petroleum spirits) and White Spirits neat in separate containers. The painting size is 16″x12″ and was completed in a single session of about 2 hours.

Here’s the video. See you soon.

Wexford Coast

Wexford Coast

Wexford Coast

Ireland’s East coast, particularly Wexford, does not have the spectacular mountains or cliffs you find in the West. More of a sunny, sandy, almost Continental flavour and only 40 miles from where I live.

The soft texture in the sky was produced by blending the paint with the wide filbert brush. The brush is drawn lightly in opposite directions, like cross hatching, to produce a ‘misty’ cloud effect. This paint has a ‘dry’ consistency, i.e. very little medium or solvent.

There is another ‘misty’ effect in this painting, the distant coastline. Painted with a liquid paint, mostly solvent with a little Liquin added. It was the paint left on the brush from the painting of the sky, diluted with the medium solution and placed with very little brushing on the horizon. This liquid paint was transparent and allowed the red under-colour to shine through.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Indian Yellow, Cadmium Red, Prussian Blue) plus black and white. The Medium – Liquin and White Spirits. I used a single large filbert bristle and a ‘liner’ for details. The size is 16.5″ x 12″ un-stretched canvas and was painted in a single session of about 90 minutes.

Here’s the painting process. See you soon.

 

Mid Summer Stream

Mid Summer Stream

Mid Summer Stream

After recent rain the landscape is buzzing with chaotic energy.

I used a little ‘Liquin’ in the mixes in this painting. It is normally used to speed up the drying time in traditional oil paints. I use Alkyd Fast Drying oil colours, usually with no medium. I am adding a little ‘Liquin’ to slow down the drying as the Alkyd paint is drying so fast in the warm weather.

This was most noticeable in the sky colours. These colours are blended and mixed quite a bit. In recent times I’ve noticed before I’ve finished the sky the initial colours (of the sky) are so set they are almost ‘tacky’ or ‘gritty’. Not good to convey the soft misty nature of clouds.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Indian Yellow, Cadmium Red, Ultramarine Blue) plus black and white. Liquin medium and White Spirits solvent. I used a single large filbert bristle and a ‘liner’ for details. The size is 16″ x 12″ un-stretched canvas and was painted in a single session of about 90 minutes.

Here’s the painting process, see you soon.

July Woodland

July Woodland

July Woodland

Dappled sunlight in the woods, as a painting subject, responds well to the ‘Impressionist’ treatment.

In my recent paintings I have been using a technique which produces an ‘Impressionist style’ end result. As I use only 3 colours ‘Impressionism’, in its traditional form, is difficult to achieve with such a limited palette. Remember this movement in art is characterised by strong, opposite colours applied in alternating strokes to produce a vibrant painting. Although I like ‘Impressionism’ I don’t like the ‘mechanical’ application of the principal with regard to the paint strokes. I sometimes think it was a reaction to the previous dull, flat paint layers and ended up being a distraction.

To make the most of the 3 colours used in this painting I use a method similar to the watercolour technique of applying transparent under layers and allowing some of this colour to show through in the final painting. I can get the vibrant colours but I can also apply the paint in a more graphical representative way.

The painting is approx. 16″ x 12″ and was painted in a single ‘wet on wet’ session in under 2 hours. I used a single filbert bristle No. 12 (1″ wide) and a ‘liner’ for fine lines. The colours are Indian Yellow, Permanent Rose, Cobalt Blue plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits (solvent).

Here’s the painting method. See you soon.

Early May

Early May

Early May

Summer is late this year. This scene is how I presume the landscape will be in a few weeks.

There are different ranges of colours I use for different moods or conditions in the landscape. My ranges are composed of 3 primary colours with the occasional addition of a secondary. This secondary is usually green, as this colour is the most used in landscape and sometimes the yellow and blue do not produce a good green. For example, in winter landscapes I will often use Yellow Ochre and Cerulean Blue. The resultant green from this mix is OK in dull winter paintings (here). Using these colours and also having the colours of spring or summer would require a ‘tube’ green to be added to the mix.

In this painting I used a combination of nice primary colours – Indian Yellow, Permanent Rose & Ultramarine Blue. The resultant mixes produced ‘Constable’ colours, deep rich purple shadows and strong greens which keep their vibrance when lightened with white. In my current painting method, when I use these 3 colours I try and include each of the colours in every mix. So the green made from the blue and yellow, will have a little red included or the purple made from the red and blue, will have a little yellow added. Sometimes the addition of the third colour is from the under layer as in the sky in this painting (yellow). Or if I plan the succession of colour mixes, what remains on the brush of the previous colour is enough to add to the new mix. That is why I use so few brushes and don’t have to clean them too often.

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