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.

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Spring Sunshine

Spring Sunshine

Spring Sunshine

There is a noticeable brightness, spring is here.

This painting is a celebration of the return of bright days. The composition and general design follows the classical format, drawing the viewer into the painting along enticing visual paths disguised as part of this natural landscape. I added a few paths to bring the viewer back to explore more. But before this, the sky had to be formulated.

The sky had a number of functions to fulfil. Firstly, it set the mood of the scene. A fresh lively day and an inviting landscape to explore. Added layer by layer, each blended into the previous, there was no definite plan. I knew the final focus in the painting was going to be on the left side, with the sunlit trees, approximately one third of the width in from the edge. So to bring a balance on the right side, the sky needed activity in this area. This was achieved by having a general absence of yellow in the sky, and using it noticeably on the clouds to echo the sun lit trees which would be painted later.

The viewer stands in shadow and is drawn to the light. You can follow the river, starting at the left, to discover the distant mountains and their smoky blue colour. This translucent layer was applied as a solvent rich paint and is so delicate its not noticed until the viewer arrives here. Another route into the scene is on the right side, through the open gate and turning left across the river into the sunlit trees. Or you can travel along either bank of the river to reach the rich farming lands.

Notice the small trees on the extreme left and right sides. I use these like bookends to keep the composition contained. As I mentioned earlier the focus of the painting is the trees on the one-third position on the left. The one-third position on the right is where the river and shaft of light intersect helping to balance the composition.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Cadmium Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits.

I made much use of the transparent under colour in this painting. The line of the far bank of the river is the blue left uncovered and is glowing in the shadows. The foreground shadow of dark green has a lot of the crimson under colour coming through. These shadow areas can be overly heavy and adding lighter shades will destroy the richness of transparent shadow 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.

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.

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.

Morning, Late October

Morning, Late October

Morning, Late October

Dark morning, frost on the grass, a chill in the air. In a week or so, the clocks will be turned back an hour, so we start the day an hour later, and brighter.

I used an extra colour this time – Olive Green – making it 4 colours instead of my usual 3 (Yellow Ochre, Olive Green, Permanent Rose, Cobalt Blue plus black and white). I use a secondary when the resultant mixing of the primaries does not produce a particular colour. Olive Green is a deep, transparent ‘organic’ green. I placed it in a very solvent-rich layer on top of the wet sky colour. The transparency works very well. The lighter sky colour shines through the rich dark green. The green from the Ochre and Cobalt (used in this session) would not have worked without the addition of black, giving a greyish colour.

The size is 14.5″ x 11″ and was painted in a single session of about 2 hours.

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.

Low Water

Low Water

Low Water

Lakeside debris, dried and bleached. A nice contrast to the cool blue of the lake.

This painting uses only 3 colours (Indian Yellow, Permanent Rose, Cobalt Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits.

Here’s the painting process, see you soon.

Flowers of May

Flowers of May

Flowers of May

What a burst of colour. The wildflowers in this old meadow have really come alive in the recent dry weather.

I am using transparent colours to give the effect of wild flower randomly scattered in the lush grass. This is, of course, a watercolour technique, applying under colour and allowing little bits to show through the final layers of the green grass.

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’s the video of the painting process.