Snow Stream – Time Lapse Painting

Snow Stream

I’m very busy in my day job so I am making this a quick post. You will notice from this video that the initial under colour was not the usual unmixed paint straight from the tube with only White Spirits. This time the colours were mixed with white and applied with the solvent.

This is a critical difference. Allowing white paint into a painting in the early stages can be disastrous. Because this is a snowscape, which ends up almost all white, makes this less problematic.

In a standard landscape, I will paint the landscape and at the very end will ‘turn on the lights’ by adding paint containing white. I am so particular about keeping white away from the paint mixes I will wipe the palette to remove white paint.

Here is the video. See you soon.


White Christmas – Oil Painting

White Christmas

The second in the series of Christmas card subjects. This is an amalgamation of three scenes with a sprinkle of snow to produce a Christmas subject. Each piece would be recognisable in isolation, so it will be ‘familiar’ to many people from this part of the world. But this does not matter, its the ‘feeling’ of Christmas that’s important. I’ve been thinking about what are the essential ingredients in the effective Christmas scene. Time, or the passing of time is important. To quote John Lennon “Another year over. And a new one just begun“. Its the time we stop and think about how quickly things move on, leaving so much behind. Like childhood, parents, grandparents, ancestors.

The above photo does not convey the very subtle colours in the colouring of the snow. It will be a challenge to print this scene as a card, but it will be Ok, I hope. As you will see in the video in the next post I don’t mix these colours on the palette. Instead I place layers of colours where the snow will be. These are thin washes (in solvent) of paint. When the solvent evaporates, pure white is rubbed into these colours picking up and mixing with what’s there. The more the paint is manipulated the deeper the resultant colour. The shadow areas have a ‘blueish’ tinge and the lit areas are a warmer yellow/brown. The final highlights are ‘blobs’ of white with little or no blending or mixing. There is one little problem with this method. The ‘blobs’ are three dimensional and sometimes very much so. With the textured paint I allow the ‘skin’ of the paint to dry and flatten down the paint with my finger tip. Featureless ‘spikes’ I will shave off when dry enough.

The colours used are: Burnt Sienna (red), Raw Sienna (yellow) and Cobalt Blue. No medium, solvent only.

I will have the video in a day or so, 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.