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Friday, 28 January 2011

Nearly finished


Here is the more or less completed painting (of Fawley Oil Refinery, from the Solent). I think it's a little skewed - had trouble taking the photograph, and it looks as though the chimneys are leaning slightly leftwards; this is complicated by a rather interesting (I lead a dull life..) optical illusion: the faint beams of light give the impression of an even greater lean, in the photograph, which isn't in fact apparent in the painting.
Anyway - it would have been quicker to say I'm a rubbish photographer, I suppose...
As you can see, this is a combination of glazing in transparent colour over the original underpainting, plus some thicker, opaque paint in places. Once upon a time, most paintings were created this way (in oil; this of course is acrylic); then alla prima came in, where painters tried to create an instant impression by laying down solid blocks of colour. The latter approach tends to lead to a somewhat looser effect; its drawback is a loss of luminosity.
This isn't completely finished yet, just one or two touches to add - but they'll be more obvious to me than anyone else, so - this is about it. Not on my website yet, but there are one or two changes there (www.isleofwightlandscapes.net) on the Buy page.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Underpainting


Happy New Year, all... I've been very lazy over Christmas/New Year, but have been (by my standards) hyperactive in the new year. I decided to try another attempt at acrylic underpainting, glazing colour on top. This is the underpainting, I'll post the finished painting in a day or two - what I've done here is to do the painting in very basic colours, in this case burnt sienna, white, and a touch of French Ultramarine.
It's not a bad way to start any painting, especially in acrylic; just lay in the basic drawing and colours, and then add more colour in glazes, ie thin transparent veils of colour over the base. This is how I started, from a basic drawing - took a few minutes, then left to dry. You can do this in oil, it just takes a bit longer to dry.
You can adjust the painting as you go along, so you're not bound by the initial image; but it's helpful and quite satisfying if you can just lay it down, and then float the colour on top. My first drawing/painting was quite fussy, so I simplified it later on.
I shall post the finished painting, plus a snow scene; the usual approach to the latter is that you lay down the white of the snow, then add shadow in shades of (usually) cerulean/coeruleum; however, I first of all laid down an imprimatura (ie, base coat) of Prussian Blue, and indicated the snow on top: I think that tends to work better than laying in the delicate shadows and shapes later. But - you can see what you think in a day or three, when I add the snow painting.
In the meantime - here's my underpainting for the Fawley oil refinery.
I've been painting in oil for a while now, but have taken a diversion into acrylic - whether it's best to stick to one medium or to diversify, I don't really know; but I so enjoy painting in oil, watercolour and acylic that I should hate to choose between them: they all offer something different.
The glazing technique in oil is an ancient one, but strangely it's particularly relevant to the modern medium of acrylic. Try it - paint your first idea in monochrome, then add glazing in colour: your paintings will certainly look different to the 'alla prima' approach, in which thick opaque colour tells the whole story: glazing can add subtlety and a degree of luminescence. It may not be a technique you wish to employ with every painting, but, when skillfully employed, it can impart a stained glass appeal to your paintings.