Time lapse painting with materials used

Copper Plums

In this post I am concentrating on the accompanying painting. The video tells the story of its creation and I am adding the details of materials used, remembering the last post about mixing colours.

MATERIALS: The medium was Liquin with 50/50 White Spirits. I also have a container with White Spirits only. The painting surface was Frederix Oil Painting Canvas Pad. From experience this is relatively non-absorbent so I must remember not to have a lot of medium in the paint mixes. Brushes are bristle mostly No. 12 (about 12″ wide), filbert and square, one round brush, about 1/4″ diameter.

The colours follow my tried and trusted method. This is a personal choice and does not suit everyone. I think of the colours as 3 groups – 1 & 2 are essential and the 3rd is variable. For this painting the colours and relevant paints are listed as follows.

1st Group:    Black & White –  Titanium White and Ivory Black.

2nd Group:  Red, Yellow and Blue – Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre and Ultramarine Blue.

3rd Group:    Added colours – Alizarin Crimson, Chrome Green Light, Raw Umber and Cadmium Yellow.

The sketch was made with Raw Umber and White Spirits. The colour was distributed here and there to give a flavour of this colour to the painting. This is OK with Raw Umber – it mixes well with my other colours.

The background colour, on left, was a mixture of Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue with a little black. On the right, using the same ‘dirty brush’, Chrome Green was picked up and applied. This is then a mix of the previous paint on the brush, plus the green. 4 pigments in this mix and the colour is still rich. Again, because these pigments get on well together. A little white is added on the right side to contrast the dark shadow on the left. This white is dangerous if it gets into mixes at this stage – thoroughly clean the brush which applied the white.

There are no deep shadows in the painting so shadows are introduced on the kettle and fruit with Raw Umber with a very small amount of Ultramarine Blue. This colour is also used to put shadows on the cloth. This will be mostly white and a little colour in the white will be good. The other mid-tone colours are Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre and Alizarin Crimson for all items in the painting. This is unusual, but the copper and fruit are basically the same colour. More Crimson in the plums, less in the copper.

The handle of the kettle is a narrow precise shape which has to be painted directly onto background. Two interesting points here. Firstly, the initial sketch of the handle has been obliterated by the background. Painting onto wet paint has no room for errors. By scratching the shape into the wet paint background I create a guide line for the painting of the handle. Errors in this scratched guide line can be repaired with the brush which was used to paint the background and still has this colour. When I’m happy with the shape I apply the colour of the handle. Secondly, the background paint has Liquin in the mix. You will notice a lot of vigourous brushing in this area to make the Liquin ‘tacky’ and easier to apply the precise shape of the handle.

The highlights are the above colours with white and a little Cadmium Yellow in the plums. The application can be seen in the video so does not require explanation. One of the last touches is the blue-grey bloom on the skins of the plums. This is a mix of white and Ultramarine Blue. Its not that noticeable in the video or the photo but looks great in the flesh (or should I say on the flesh).


Painting different textures & clean colours

Copper Plums

Just a quick painting in honour of the Victoria Plum. What a fruit? The crop this year is so great the tree is in jeopardy. God forbid! However, myself, the wasps and the birds are doing our best to relieve the situation.

Alla prima again. But it was 40 minutes before I could eat the models. Anyway, just a few interesting points about this painting. The copper kettle has a hard brittle surface, not like polished silver, more of a ‘brushed metal’ effect. The skin of the plums is like satin – no highlight. Both copper and plums are similar colour but texture is contrasting. The satin cloth is similar in texture to the plums but colourless. There is also the texture of the old wooden table top.

On a different matter there is another important painting subject which is rarely discussed these days – chroma. In practical terms its the ‘clarity’ of colours in a painting. The paints used by the artist are not like the colours used, for example, in photoshop. Mixing colours in a computer is a mathematical process. The resultant colour does not loose its intensity. Artists’ pigments when mixed, loose some of their intensity. A good example is mixing a blue and yellow to produce green. This green will look more natural in a landscape painting as opposed to the intense green straight from the tube. The more pigments in the mix the more towards mud the colour goes. To complicate the matter further, some pigments don’t mix well and ‘kill’ each other. The solution is simple. Keep the number of different pigments at an absolute minimum. My basic 3 are, Burnt Sienna (red), Yellow Ochre (yellow) and Cobalt Blue (blue). No matter what combination of the 3 are used the resultant mixes are always clean and natural for landscape. They mix well together. If the resultant colour mixes need to be pushed in a different direction a little pure colour can be added from a different pigment. An example, like the blue and yellow above, is the green produced by mixing Yellow Ochre and Cobalt Blue. If its a little dull (this green tends to be), adding small amounts of Viridian (a green bottle colour) makes a more ‘green’ green.

The most valuable result of this approach is being able to remember the resultant combinations because the number of different pigments is small. The more you paint the more you learn. You will remember that horrid green (Yellow Ochre and Cobalt Blue plus Pigment X) and will not use it again.

The next post will have the time lapse video of the above and more about the painting itself.

White Rose – the sequel

A door or a window were my original ideas for the right side of the painting but there was not enough space to have an architrave and the the door or window. There would not be enough of either to ‘explain’ what was there. An open window would have been a nice escape from the intensity of the detail in the items. The solution was to have a corner on the wall around which the viewer would explore the darkened corridor. The window effect was provided by a hanging a framed painting, the scene from a previous post – Cromaboo Bridge and White Castle. White Rose, White Castle, appropriate.

The oblique angle was going to introduce a ‘wild’ effect to an otherwise calm, static composition. As mentioned in a previous post, the converging lines of the wall, picture frame and floor were worked out and charcoal lines placed on the painting. A mysterious light illuminates the hanging painting, wall and floor.

Over the next few days the dull patches will appear especially on any painted parts which contained Ivory Black in the mix. I will apply a thin coat of Liquin which will create an uniform ‘sheen’ and fill any deep crevices in the brush strokes.

I will exhibit this painting, and others, in the Athy Art Group exhibition in June (will open on Tuesday 7th June) so there will be no time to apply a coat of final varnish. A very light coat of aerosol varnish will be applied just before framing.  I will use glass in the frame with a gap of at least 20mm between painting and glass.

I am now looking forward to painting a ‘fast’ picture as a break from the restrictive nature of this type of still life.

White Rose – The Movie

This painting has been around the block a few times. The original plan was to have a still life which was essentially a vertical composition on a horizontal shaped surface. By using a screen resting on a tabletop as the backdrop (possibly an old map) would be an horizontal element and extend the interest to the left and right of the central objects. Great plan – but it didn’t work.

Why? It’s hard to say. Possibly the extended surface created an expectation of ‘something else’ which wasn’t there. Or the empty space ‘miniaturised’ the central characters. Something didn’t work so a change of plan was needed.

The green curtain was a flash of inspiration. OK, loose the screen and produce a wall behind the table. The table is beside a window which has a curtain, green harmonises with the books and emphasises their antiquity. I liked the angle of the tabletop so the wall had to be created against the back edge of the table. Adjustments were made to the table shape and also the reflected light from the backdrop to accommodate this new arrangement.

The right hand side was another flash of inspiration which I will discuss in the next post.

In case you’re interested the materials used:
The colours are,
Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre,
Raw Umber, Burnt Umber,
Chrome Green Deep, Chrome Green Light,
Cerulean Blue, French Ultramarine Blue,
Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Red, Vermillion Red,
and of course Titanium White and Ivory Black.

Linseed Oil, Liquin,
White Spirits.

Daler-Rowney Oil Painting Surface.

Hog Hair Bristles mostly filbert shape, No. 8 some bigger, some smaller,
Long bristled nylon, small.

Still Life with Two Glasses

The finished painting

Still Life is a form of painting which requires a different approach compared to landscapes. I like to strongly create an illusion of realism with the marks of creation (brush strokes) in contradiction to the realism we witness. To see daubs of paint which transform into a solid real world is magical.

This requires more colours than I used in the previous paintings. There are no atmospheric effects on the colours so they will be richer with less ‘misty distance’ tints. My basic Burnt Sienna (red), Yellow Ochre (yellow) and Cobalt Blue (blue) does cover the range but each one is helped by stronger colours. Burnt Umber, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Yellow and Ultramarine Blue.

The basic drawing is simple enough. If you have your subjects positioned and you are using solid objects, as I have, the basic shapes are spheres, cones and cylinders. An interesting grouping or composition of objects is found by moving the objects and observing the scene. I would not spend much time on the initial drawing as it will be covered several times before you are barely started.

Because I like to finish a painting in the one sitting this requires a different treatment when painting a still life. Its the most interesting part of this demonstration. Paint has to be placed on top of previous layers without much mixing taking place. The painting of the glasses illustrates this and is probably the most difficult thing to do ‘wet on wet’. You have one shot to get it right. If I waited a few weeks for the under layers to dry I would have the opportunity to paint the glass and wipe off and try again if I was not happy with the previous attempt. These results, I think, are rigid and hard and not as interesting as the ‘wet on wet’. But if this is what you have to do, so be it.

As you can see from the demo there is an uneven reflective gloss from the surface regardless of the angle of view. This is because there is very little medium in the paint. The colours are ‘dry’ and the brush bristles leave ridges which catch the light. I have to work this way or subsequent paint layers will lift the under layers rather than sit on top. An essential component of this method is ‘Liquin’. I mix it 50/50 with Linseed Oil and use a lot of White Spirits. You will notice I do a lot of vigorous brushing which thickens and makes the Liquin ‘tacky’. I would take a few days for this to happen if I used Oil on its own without the Liquin. When the delicate parts (as in this case the glasses) are in place I then try and reintroduce the brush strokes which are an attractive feature in this painting.

I think the time lapse video is better than the real time, which would require several videos as in the Impressionist Style Painting. This painting took 2 hours to complete.

P.S. I used the handle of a brush to ‘scratch’ an image of the glasses into the underlying wet paint. The brush which had the background colour is then used to remove any scratch marks not required.