Woodland Lake – Oil Painting

Woodland Lake

Woodland Lake

I used Yellow Ochre in this painting, as the only yellow in a palette of three colours. The other two are Alizarin Crimson and Prussian Blue. Its similar to my last painting in subject matter and also its a three colour painting with the difference of Cadmium Yellow replaced by the Ochre. In retrospect, I think the Cadmium would have been better in terms of variety of colour and vibrance. I’m pleased that I’ve managed to include a lot of Crimson without it dominating the painting as it did in ‘Winter Stubbles‘. I will have to decide to stick with a set of strong colours, or weak colours and not mix them unless for a very specific reason.

In recent months I had stopped using a medium in paint mixes. These paintings are ‘oiled out’ now and I’ve noticed a definite lack of ‘body’ in the paint layer when compared to previous paintings. The ‘oiling out’ does correct the problem to an extent and so to ‘beef up’ the paint layer I’ve started to introduce Liquin, in tiny amounts, to the mixes. At the moment this means using a second container with a very dilute solution (25%) of Liquin and White Spirits which is added a few drops at a time as I mix the paint. The other container has White spirits only. Even this small amount of Liquin makes the paint flow better than with solvent alone especially in fine lines. It does make painting easier.

Remember if you use Liquin or a similar medium be sure to ‘oil out’ with a pure vegetible oil like Linseed if you intend to varnish the painting. I will post the video of this painting in a few days, see you then.


Wood Pond – Time Lapse Painting

Wood Pond

In retrospect this is not a very ‘wintery’ scene. Actually its more like an Impressionist painting from the south of France. This certainly wasn’t the intention. But it’s OK with me. The next few paintings will be more seasonal. Its the time of the year again for thinking about Christmas cards. I like the tradition. Its also a nice way of sharing your art with family and friends. The process of producing cards from original artwork is so simple nowadays its well worth the small effort involved.

As usual the most difficult part is producing the original artwork. Hopefully my efforts and work of the next few weeks will be of help.

In the meantime here is the video of this painting.

Wood Pond – Oil Painting

Wood Pond

I’m back in the woods again. The colour is cool in spite of the rich red colours. This little pond will attract wild duck over winter. Their silhouettes against the moon lit evening skies as they explode into flight will be a feature of this part of the woods. Now its quiet and still.

This is a mixture of very wet solvent painting and a dry brush technique. There is no particular part of the painting devoted to either method. Initially, the underpainting was solvent saturated, this was allowed to evaporate and in the sky, dry paint was rubbed in to pick up some of the under colour. I’m making a conscious effort not to spend so much time painting parts of the painting which will be covered up later. I’ve noticed that I tend to do this without thinking, I’m ‘constructing’ the landscape, putting in the parts I know are there, even though they won’t be seen in the final painting. In alla prima this volume of wet paint under what is later painted over can cause problems, especially if there are shadows to be painted in. The problem, as usual, is with the white paint in the mixes used to convey distance in the landscape.

Traditionally, solvent rich paint was usually placed first in standard oil painting. This is important if the painting is painted in layers, each one allowed to dry before the next is applied. Oily layers under solvent layers can cause cracking as the painting dries. As there is a single layer in alla prima this is not a concern and the reason for solvent under layers here, has more to do with reducing contamination from the under layer as ‘wet on wet’ is applied.

I’m still not using medium, only solvent. Maybe its my imagination, but recently bought tubes of paint seem to be ‘wetter’ than those of a few years ago. This would mean less expensive pigment and more inexpensive medium in the tube. All I can say is, I’m finding paint is handling quite well without adding medium. In fact, I’ve recently had to soak up excess medium from a newly acquired tube of paint (see here). The colours used are Indian Red, Yellow Ochre, French Ultramarine Blue, plus a little Sap Green.

I will post the video of the process in a day or two. See you then.

Woodland Stream, Late Autumn – Time Lapse Painting

Woodland Stream, Late Autumn

The incredible seasonal variation in the landscape in this part of the world is a constant source of inspiration for me. Recently I’ve noticed, regardless of the colours I use, the flavour of the seasons seem to emerge by the time the painting is finished. I’m a little surprised by this. This presents me with a challenge I can’t resist, as the world changes and we plunge into stark winter.

Not too long ago, before I started a particular painting, I would decide a set of colours appropriate for the scene. As you know I’m not very adventurous regarding the variety of colours I use, but the colours would still be different. Provided I have a red, yellow and blue, all the colours of nature can be mixed. The set of colours for this and the last few paintings was strong and bright (Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow, Prussian Blue), because I wanted to paint the strong and bright colours of Autumn. I was expecting a closer matching of colour from this batch of paintings, but they’re different. Some very different, and without a conscious effort to make them so.

What I am going to do is push this set of colours into a batch of paintings not depicting Autumn, but the cold blue and browns of our Winter. It may not work out and I may be recruiting the Umbers and Ochres and the winter blues (Cobalt) before long. We will see.

I also have to consider the method of painting I’m employing at the moment. Remember a few months ago I started using some ‘watercolour like’ applications of paint, floods of liquid (White Spirits) and washes of colour. Maybe I’m getting more control using this method. It remains to be seen. Isn’t it amazing how interesting and complex such a simple process as putting colours on a white surface can be.

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

Golden Pond – Time Lapse Painting

Golden Pond

This little painting (12″x9″) was an experiment in painting mist in a scene with deep shadows. Of course I’ve painted mist before, but not with such colour and deep shadows, and now without medium in the paint mix.

Looking at this video I’m reminded of this rule for oil painting – darks before lights. It would appear I do not subscribe to this rule as many of the final colours are the darkest in the painting. I have to say, in spite of appearances, I’m a strict follower of the darks before lights principal.

If the rule is qualified by a few additions, it does make sense. In traditional landscape painting, perspective is an important issue. If a landscape is painted from the distance towards the viewer, the scene can be broken down into ‘planes’ of similar distance, each one painted systematically. For example, the sky is the most distant ‘plane’. This is painted first. Within this ‘plane’, the darks are painted first. The deep blues, the greys of the clouds and then finally the lightest parts of the sky. The next ‘plane’ are the hills and mountains of the horizon. Here again, the dark colours are placed down before the brighter shades. The point is, within each ‘plane’ the darks are painted first. Sometimes its necessary to remove all the lighter colours, especially those containing white in the mix, from the palette before a new ‘plane’ is started. Even the smallest contamination of white in the shadow colours can completely destroy the richness of the colour.

The small palette, with so few colours of my working method make this system easy to control. It would not suit most painters as it is restrictive, lacking the flamboyance of other methods. Here’s the video of the above painting including paint mixing.