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Wednesday, 15 September 2010

A new one

I've returned to oil paint for my latest. This is the best photograph I've been able to take of it so far, but the colour is a little more intense in the real thing.
I built this one up from an underpainting of Flake White with Mars Brown and some Prussian Blue, on a canvas board primed with Gold Ochre acrylic, applied with a knife. The idea was to give some random texture, but on reflection the oil paint itself is capable of giving that, and in future I shall go back to my old method of applying a thin coat of reddish or raw sienna oil paint, thinned with mineral spirits. The acrylic in the end gave me more problems than advantages.
Haven't got a title yet; it's an area of countryside just around a few corners from here, this path leading up to cliffs which culminate at Rocken End, Niton.
Building up a painting from thinly painted underpainting, in just a few colours (or even just one) is a very traditional way of painting in oil: you can paint over the top when it's dried a bit, with opaque colour, which is what I did here, or "glaze" over a more carefully finished underpainting, with transparent colours; or you can combine the two. The important thing to remember is that there has to be more oil in the top coat than there is beneath it - or you find the paint cracking. Similarly, you really need to avoid at all costs any slow-drying (and therefore oil-rich) paint in the underpainting, especially Zinc White, Titanium White (unless heavily thinned), or Ivory Black.
I used a little Viridian, ie a tube green, in the foliage - just laziness on my part, which I regretted later. Not that Viridian's a bad colour, but mixing green, from blues and yellows, nearly always produces fresher results.
Ah well. You live and learn - which is what this business is all about.
This painting is 30 by 40 cm; not on my website yet, but for sale at around £100.
By the way, I have some work available on Affordable British Art, a website that offers facilities for artists and buyers. Find it at
Back soon!

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