Glenbarrow in the Slieve Bloom Mountains is the source of the River Barrow. Along with the Massif Central in France, these mountains are the oldest in Europe. They were once also the highest at 3,700m. Weathering has reduced them to 527m. On a clear day, one can see the high points of the four ancient provinces of Ireland.
This painting uses only 3 colours (Indian yellow, Permanent Rose, Prussian Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The size is 16.5″ x 12″.
Here is the video of the painting process. To view this video in realtime change speed setting to .25. Quality can also be increased to 1080HD.
Unseasonal weather has fooled the snowdrops and daffodils into the first stages of blooming. This is a month too early. The outlook is not good for a colourful spring unless the extreme mildness lasts for another few weeks and this is unlikely.
Red and green, the traditional colours of Christmas, permeate this scene. The colours uses are Yellow Ochre, Indian Red and Cobalt Blue plus black and white. I normally use these for Summer landscapes. By leaving the green colours until the end of the painting and applying this green as I would white in a typical ‘snow scene’ I avoided a summery look.
As usual I did not use a medium, only White Spirits solvent. The size is 12″ x 9″.
After the recent high winds, snow, sleet, hail, rain, the landscape has a ‘shredded’ look. What a change from recent days.
The colours used are Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna and Cobalt Blue. These 3 work particularly well in winter landscapes if green is not required. Raw Sienna is too red to produce a green when mixed with a strong blue as Cobalt is. A similar colour, Yellow Ochre, will give the most natural greens, mixed with Cobalt (see here).
This painting, like the last is painted in flat ‘curtains’ of thin atmospheric colour. I used a single filbert bristle and allowed the colours to fade into the next without much cleaning of the brush. I also used variations on these background colours to suggest the buds on the trees, The filbert shape is so versatile as I switch from flat featureless distant hazes to the impossible details of trees. All lines of the graphic details of storm damaged trees were painted with a ‘liner’ (sign writers brush).
This painting is 18″x11″ and was painted in one session in under 2 hours. As usual I used no medium, only solvent, and even as I finished the painting, the dark shadows were beginning to go pale from the evaporation of the solvent. It will however spring back to life when I ‘oil it out’ in a few days.
Here’s the video of the painting process, see you soon.
Bleak and bright, this part of the woods was cleared during summer. A few evergreens survived the harvesting. The snowfall was only a dusting and was gone in a few hours.
I used a round bristle (No. 12) for most of the painting but I prefer the filbert shape. This is a flat brush with a rounded tip. Its shape allows it to be used like a round or a flat. As I’m now using a single brush this versatility is better with this method.
I used 4 colours here, Raw Sienna, Raw Umber, Dioxazine Purple and Cerulean Blue. The subtle Cerulean when mixed with Raw Sienna or Raw Umber produces those beautiful shades of green. You would expect this with the Raw Sienna but there is a definite unexpected green with Raw Umber, a brown colour.
Advent, a time of expectant waiting and preparation. And so it is. The little ones have no problem preparing for the celebration of the Nativity, its the arrival of Santa Clause which causes most concern. One grandchild could not understand why Santa came down the chimney to deliver their gifts, and why he does not use the door like everybody else. The mystery and suspense makes it a magical time, especially for children.
I’m reminded of the poem, Advent, by Patrick Kavanagh where he writes about adults loosing something by thinking they know everything. “We have tested and tasted too much, lover- Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder. But here in the Advent-darkened room Where the dry black bread and the sugarless tea Of penance will charm back the luxury Of a child’s soul, we’ll return to Doom The knowledge we stole but could not use.”
Appropriately the colour which dominates this painting is purple, a colour I started to use a few months back. Like green, its a secondary colour made by mixing 2 primaries, yellow and blue for green, red and blue for purple. My usual colour scheme is 3 primaries (yellow, red, blue) and 1 secondary. For me, red includes Umbers, Burnt Sienna as well as the obvious reds like Cadmium Red and Alizarin Crimson. In fact, the range representing each of my primaries is very broad but I think the 3 primaries should be present in some form to produce the widest range of colours and help the ‘natural’ look of a landscape. Because the resultant secondaries are sometimes not the expected colour (here Burnt Sienna (red) and Ultramarine (blue) does not produce a strong purple) I used a ‘tube’ purple.
The colours used here were Raw Sienna (yellow), Burnt Sienna (red), Ultramarine (blue) plus Dioxaline Purple. Black and white are also used but not considered as colours.
The painting is 12″x9″ and was painted with a single long bristle filbert and a very fine nylon for thin lines. I also used a painting knife for really thin lines. I used only solvent, no medium, and the painting was completed in a single 2 hour session.
There is nothing as inspiring, at this time of year, than the trees as they slowly change their colour and prepare for winter.
Its an opportunity to paint in an ‘impressionist’ way with loads of suggested details in the splashes of colour. Its interesting to note that the colours of the background trees are practically the same as the reflections in the water. The shimmering water is suggested by the blending of the colours in the reflections. This is a similar technique to the way I paint skies as in the previous painting (here). Its the contrast in the texture of the paint which tells the viewer which is the solid parts and which is the fluid movement of the water surface. Sharp details, in the foreground tree and grasses, painted directly onto the soft under colours of the water reinforce this contrast.
There are only 3 colours (Winsor Lemon, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue) plus black and white used here. There is no medium used, only White Spirits.
I normally lay down layers of raw colour with solvent only and use the transparency offered by these washes as part of the final painting. Rich shadows, onto which the final opaque colours are painted, can achieve the depth of colour as seen in the previous painting (here).
This time I was interested in a bright, lightly coloured woodland scene. The initial colours were not the unmixed raw colour, as in previous painting, but an opaque light blue in the sky and a grey in the foreground. Solvent only was also the method of application and although the solvent evaporates quickly the paint layer will still be wet enough to mix with subsequent added paint layers. This can cause problems as the white will ‘muddy’ any attempts to paint rich shadows.
So when painting the final colours I made them darker than normal and flooded the colour with loads of solvent. In some places the colour was unmixed and picked up the lighter under colour. This was OK for mid tones, but the deeper colours were dropped in as blobs of liquid paint. In this situation the liquid tends to fill the lines left by the previous brush strokes and you can get some nice random shapes. Remember the painting will dry very flat and disappointing and will definitely need ‘oiling out’ to restore the colour.
The painting is 12″ x 9″ and the colours used were Cadmium Yellow, Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue plus black and white.
This water logged landscape gives very little traction to the roots of heavy deciduous trees and they fall at the first spell of very wet and windy weather.
The tangle of dead branches and smooth water surface makes an interesting pattern and texture.
Three colours used again, Cadmium Yellow, Burnt Umber and Prussian Blue plus white and no black. The technique is very liquid, something I haven’t done in a while. Dry brush work has a softness and does not express the detail found in a subject like this.
The painting has a ‘watercolour’ look and this is not surprising as the paint was very solvent rich and was flowing like watercolour. The initial colours were thin and wet and allowed to ‘dry’ with the help of a hair dryer. Onto this was drawn the darker trees and foliage – very much a ‘watercolour’ approach. Of course in the final stages the lightest colours were added in the normal oil painting way.
The video shows how easy it is to paint onto a wet layer of paint without too much mixing with the base layer. A problem when shadow colours are needed on a layer containing white.
The fast drying paint (Alkyd) I’m using at the moment is working great and the range of painting types that can be completed in alla prima has greatly expanded. I’m actually looking for subjects to stretch the capabilities of this medium.
In the meantime here is the video of the painting process for this painting. I will be posting a completely different painting type tomorrow. See you then.
Last Autumn I painted a few similar paintings to this. The difficulty was placing the leaves onto the wet paint of the sky. Wet on wet has a particular look, created simply by the process. Its very difficult to get sharp details, either fine lines of branches or the sharp points of paint to represent foliage when the canvas has a layer of wet paint. My workaround was to use a very thin wash of sky colour in White Spirits. This I then evaporated with a hair dryer. The resultant background sky was OK to paint on but looked like what it was – a thin anaemic layer. The paintings worked because I covered most of the sky colour with foliage (an example here).
The medium of the above painting is Alkyd fast drying oil paint. A rich layer of sky was painted and within a half hour the foliage and leaves were painted in sharp details onto this wet paint. The sky colour was not completely dry but dry enough. A definite plus for my alla prima method.
As I was progressing through the painting, from time to time I’d add a layer of shadow colour, these getting richer with every layer. All will be seen in the video which I will post in a day or two. See you then.