New Light, Old Year – Time Lapse Painting

New Light, Old Year

New Light, Old Year

The last day of the year and the last painting. The weather is cold and yesterday the sun was shining from early morning burning away the woodland mist. Although the days are lengthening, by just a few seconds at the moment, the promise of spring is definitely here.

I was interested in depicting the effect of the low sun filtering through the undergrowth. I was trying not to produce a ‘photographic’ like image. The prevalence of such scenes in photography has conditioned the way we expect to see it. Even with the modern HDR (High Dynamic Range) cameras the scene will tend to be in silhouette with lens flare and other ‘limitations’ of photography becoming the way we think we see.

The sparkling pinpoints of light were placed with the edge of a knife. Firstly as vertical lines and then overpainted with horizontal lines. This produced a pattern of ‘+’ shapes where the light was breaking through. Impossible to do with a brush, regardless of how small the point.

The colours are Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber and Prussian Blue and Titanium White. There is no black used. A little Liquin was used as I have found this smoothes the flat areas, like the sky, on this rough textured canvas.

The picture size is 16″ x 12″ and took about 2 hours to complete in a single session. Here is the video of the painting process. See you next year 🙂

Dollardstown House – Time Lapse Painting

Dollardstown House

Dollardstown House

Close to where I live, this is a nice walk in the early morning when the frost is still on the grass and mist hangs in the air. I liked the orange colour of the beech trees, lit by the rising sun, set against the cool blues of the misty wood. Nice contrasting colours.

I’m adding small amounts of Liquin to all the mixes. I’m talking about, maybe, 20% Liquin in solvent (White Spirits). The resultant flat areas are less ‘gritty’ than using solvent alone. An example of this ‘gritty’ effect can be seen here. Click on the photo to enlarge and see the sky, especially the blue.

Remember I’m using Alkyd Oil Colours which dry very fast. Liquin actually slows the drying slightly. The dry paintings have a uniform sheen and might not need ‘oiling out’

The colours are Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Prussian Blue and White (no black). The painting is 12″ x 9″  and took about an hour and twenty minutes to complete.

Here’s the video. I’ve also included a ‘real time’ version of a portion of the previous painting.

November Shades – Time Lapse Painting

November Shades

November Shades

This scene, almost on my doorstop, reminded me of a Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot painting. So I painted it in a similar style. In recent paintings I was working on transparency effects as mid-tones and even to produce highlights. As I said then, this method I found to be very limiting. Here there are areas in the sky where pure colour is allowed to stay uncovered and the this pure colour is shining as the white of the canvas is illuminating the colour from underneath. The blue and yellow areas are 2 such places.

In the lower part, mid and fore ground, the transparent colour was applied with a Liquin medium. This was wiped off resulting in a glowing range of reds and greys. When I applied the final opaque layer of blue-green and white, I did not cover this completely but left much of it to peep through this layer.

What an interesting texture this created. The transparent red beside the turquoise-ish opaque is a beautiful effect, impossible to convey in the photo above. Although the canvas is rough textured the painting has a delicate, fragile feel to it.

The colours used are Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Cobalt Blue, plus white and no black. Liquin was used in layers destined to be left as final colour but also to produce a transparent smooth layer. The painting is 16″ x 12″ and took about an hour and a half to complete.

Here is the painting process. See you soon.

Winter Green – Time Lapse Painting

Winter Green

Winter Green

This painting is as much about taking paint off as putting it on. Its a complete departure from what I’ve been doing of late. This painting, and the last one, are painted with a medium rich paint. This is then removed with a brush wetted with solvent. The idea is to reveal the transparency which some oil colours posess. Transparency is normally used in shadows, with mid tones and highlights produced with opaque colour, usually with white in the mix.

There are limitations with this method as with others. Obviously, using transparent colours is essential. But using a limited range of colours is also important as transparency is reduced the more colours are added to a mix. The artist Dennis Sheehan is an expert with this technique. He uses only 2 colours (brown and green) to produce a landscape. See him at work here www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKFGe35y1N8.

Another, less obvious, requirement of this technique is to use a medium (not solvent) to spread the paint. Solvent does not produce a paint film. Medium will form a layer which coats the canvas texture evenly. Solvent flows into the canvas weave producing a grainy effect.

As I said this is a limited method of painting when used on its own. However, incorporated into a standard painting technique it could produce some interesting effects.

Here is the video of my efforts, but with white added in a few places. The colours are Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber and Prussian Blue. The medium I used was Liquin with a little White Spirits to help it flow. The painting is 12″ x 9″ and took about a little over an hour to complete.

The Copse – Oil Painting

The Copse

The Copse

I intended to use Alkyd only colour, plus traditional Titanium White and Ivory Black oils. As it turned out I under painted in Alkyd, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber and Prussian Blue, then finished in standard Cadmium Yellow, Viridian Green and Cobalt Blue.

So here are my initial observations. Everything happens fast. Thin washes, with solvent only, are sufficiently ‘set’ after evaporation, not to mix with subsequent layers of paint. This is similar to how traditional oils behave after 24 hours. Thicker layers stay workable for at least a few hours. This is good for my method as I very often paint an under layer, sometimes to mix with later layers and other times I’d prefer if they didn’t mix. This is controllable by the addition of solvent or the thickness of the under layer applied.

As an under paint, Alkyds are good. Strong transparent rich colour, drying fast to an inflexible layer allowing later additions of traditional oils. However, in this first encounter with Alkyd paint, I could not get the paint to produce an intense final layer. I rescued the painting with standard oil colour. The Alkyd paints I used, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber and Prussian Blue would have been capable of producing a final layer in standard oils, but not so here.

I think if I were to use Alkyd only I would have to increase the number of tube colours on the palette to compensate for this. I will post the video of the painting process in a few days.

The 28th Lock – Time Lapse Paintings

The 28th Lock

The 28th Lock

The 28th Lock (2)

The 28th Lock (2)

In recent times I’ve been stretching the capabilities of traditional oil painting to the stage where some of my practices are almost unworkable. It boils down to this, the medium of oil painting was not designed to be used in this way. Floods of solvent, forced drying with a hair dryer, no added medium, paint messaged and manipulated until it behaves like ink, the expectation of a finished painting in under 2 hours, etc, etc. Add to this the fact that some of what I’ve been doing is downright dangerous and unhealthy. Solvent fumes, heaters, poor ventilation, all while I’m smoking my pipe. Time for a change.

I’ve been looking at Alkyd oil paints and I will start to introduce them gradually, firstly with the under layers. The main difference between this paint type and standard oil colour is the binder. Paint is made from pigment, binder and solvent. Standard oils use a vegetable oil as a binder, Alkyd uses a Liquin type material as its binder.

The concerns I’ve had with Liquin, since I started using it, were eased a little after my research into Alkyd paints. The technical spec. on Liquin mentioned not using it as a last paint layer especially if the painting was going to be varnished. Without a reason for this recommendation, I assumed there was a danger of Liquin binding to the varnish, especially as it was advised to use a standard oil medium as the final coat or for ‘oiling out’.

Liquin and Alkyd binder are similar materials – chemically modified vegetable oil but remaining mixable with the oils from which it was produced. On its own it dries very fast forming an impervious, inflexible layer. These 2 issues will cause problems if this medium is used as a final layer over normal oil paint. Firstly, an impervious layer over a standard oil layer will stop the oxidation of the under layer – the painting will not dry underneath. Secondly, an inflexible layer over a flexible layer will eventually flake off.

What this also means is that Alkyd oil colour is an excellent under paint. Inflexible and fast drying. Also, if the under layer is not fully dry and is painted over with standard oil paint it will mix, forming an homogenous layer without the issues caused by separate layers. It looks promising.

As usual I’ll document the process and progress. In the meantime here are the videos of the above paintings. If your computer and broadband are up to the task you can run the two simultaneously to see the different methods of painting side by side. See you soon.

The 28th Lock – Oil Painting

The 28th Lock

The 28th Lock

The 28th Lock 2

The 28th Lock (2)

The last lock on the Grand Canal where it joins the River Barrow at Athy, the 28th Lock was built in 1792. Arthur Guinness was instrumental in having the canal extended to Athy, from where he received his supplies of malted barley. There was no wheeled transport in Ireland at this time and his expanding brewery needed this extension to connect him directly to St. James’s Gate, the front door of his brewery in Dublin.

After I completed the painting (on top) I felt the treatment was a bit harsh. The second painting was completed the following day with a softer approach. I was interested in the late morning light when the sun was high and the last wisps of fog were burning away. I was also going to have more colour, in celebration of spring, as my recent paintings, when seen as a group, have the gloom of winter all over them.

When separated, each of these 2 paintings is OK. When seen together, one seems to illustrate the limitations of the other.

I videoed both painting processes and will post them in a few days. See you then.