Misty Woods – Time Lapse Video

Misty Woods

Misty Woods

For this alla prima painting to work the shafts of light had to be placed deftly and in a radiating way – not parallel lines. The path of the light must be smooth and uninterrupted. Its easier said than done.

If the painting is not alla prima, the dry layer of the background can be glazed with a lighter tone to represent the shafts of light. It needs to be brushed in and made smooth as possible. Its OK but does not have the same vivid effect as wet on wet.

Planning is important. Like the last painting, this is a fleeting moment and not a scene you can study and record at your leisure. Which means its mostly from the imagination / memory. Constructed layer by layer, and like a game of chess, what you do early on will have a bearing on what will happen a few moves later.

The video will illustrate the process and seeing it done is far more instructive than a written description. There are a few issues which will not be apparent in the video. I will briefly mention them.

The sky is simple and flat with a few clouds for variety. The cloud on the left was placed as a reservoir of white paint for the shafts of light later on. What’s not used to drag down as light shafts will be left as a distant cloud. Immediately after smearing the paint for the light shafts the trees are painted in. The trees which will intersect the shafts are painted onto the smeared paint and because the paint is wet it will blend with the tree colour, lightening it. The trees behind the shafts are painted above and below, not intersecting the shafts. All this is to create the effect of distance. Some trees are beyond the shafts of light, some are intersecting, and later I place the trees in front.

The nature of the wet paint is used to create the tones needed and it can be done quickly with the result  fluid and dynamic. The alternative method of letting each layer dry, then mixing a range of lighter tones to represent the trees in their various states of concealment, is tedious and the result can be stiff.

The most critical factor was the drying time of the paint. Standard oils would have to be left for a day or two between layers, not to dry, but to become tacky. I’m using Alkyd fast drying paint and this painting was completed in under 3 hours. Much of that time is waiting for the paint to partially dry. Its very manageable compared to checking the paint for drying after days, as with standard oils.

You must understand the nature of the paint and how it behaves when manipulated on the canvas. Its craftwork requiring practise and patience. The painting is constructed, based on what you know you can do. There are accidents and calamities every step of the way and you must be able to incorporate these and change course continually.

Here is the video. See you soon.

Misty Woods – Oil Painting

Misty Woods

Misty Woods

Early morning fog is lifting but it lingers in the shade of the woods. Last October I painted a similar painting titled ‘Golden Pond‘. That painting was smaller than this one and the range of colours was much more limited. My memory of painting ‘Golden Pond’ was of layers of thin washes of colour and the overall effect of mist was difficult to achieve. This was a consequence of alla prima, one session painting, a wet on wet event.

In this painting the fast drying Alkyd colour made the job easier. Fast drying gives some of the advantages of multiple session painting. There is also an advantage in that colours which don’t mix very well together on the palette can be partially mixed on the canvas as the colours are partially drying as they are added.

For no particular reason, I’m reducing the number of colours used as my experience grows. This painting has 5, one of which was Permanent Rose, a colour I need not have used.

I will post the video of the painting process in a day or two, see you then.

Sliabh Bloom – Time Lapse Painting

Sliabh Bloom Waterfall

Sliabh Bloom Waterfall

Just a quick post to connect you to the YouTube video of the painting here.

I’m getting the hang of the Alkyd colours at last. It wasn’t much of a bother for me as I was doing much of the stuff that is recommended by the manufacturers anyway.

Stuff like:

  • Painting within a 4 hour period as Alkyd colours begin to loose their workability then.
  • Keeping brushes in constant use, or cleaning continually as I work as the paint is difficult to remove even in the initial stages of drying.
  • Using thin washes as a base layer to be painted over by standard oils.
  • Not keeping paint on the palette for use in the next painting session.
  • Removing completely every trace of paint from the palette and the brushes at the end of every painting session.

If you are not in the habit of working like this, Alkyd colours would be a nightmare.

Here is the video of the 2 stage, Alkyd and standard oil paint, painting session.

Sliabh Bloom Waterfall – Oil Painting

Sliabh Bloom Waterfall

Sliabh Bloom Waterfall

A range of hills to the west of where I live, the Sliabh Blooms are the eroded remains of a mountain range formed about 400 million years ago. This makes them one of the oldest mountain ranges in Europe. Before the Great Famine (1845-52) this was a very populated area. The population never recovered after this calamity. Now its a favourite place for hill walkers who like a little bit of solitude.

In this painting experiment I placed an under layer of Alkyd colour which was lightened in tone by the addition of Titanium White. This was, in a way, similar to the Watercolour technique of laying down light coloured washes to be over painted in the darker transparent colours of the later stages. From the beginning it was not going to work. Alkyd colours from the tube are more transparent and vivid than traditional oils. With the addition of white this transparency is completely lost and the resultant colour mix has a ‘milky’ look. Furthermore, the chroma of the original is also lost. If either transparency or chroma survived the mix with white, this might have worked. Without either, it doesn’t.

When the solvent evaporated the colours were set enough to overpaint in standard oils, and this allowed me to proceed with the painting. The quick dried Alkyd did help as I was able to place a very thin layer of oils not completely covering the Alkyd. This was important as I was planning to overpaint some very thin lines of trees, silhouetted against the bright light in the distance. This I was able to do without having to scrape a series of fine lines in the light coloured paint and painting into them which I would usually have to do with standard oils. This is of course if the painting is to be completed in a single session.

I’ll post the video of the process in a few days. See you then.