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Friday, 1 October 2010

Stage Two, Work Still in Progress

Here's the second stage of the oil painting I started yesterday. I was able to work on it again amazingly quickly, because I used Flake White with a little low-odour thinners and, in places, a very small amount of linseed oil. The surface today was just the right degree of tackiness that I like.
I rarely if ever finish an oil painting in one session. This is partly because of arthritis - just can't stay on my feet long enough to work for hours on end, and sitting down on the job isn't much more comfortable; apart from which, standing up to the canvas enables brush strokes from the shoulder; if you're sitting down, the tendency is to paint from the wrist. For detailed work, however, I use a table-top easel (courtesy of my mother's generosity!) which enables me to take a good, close look at what I'm doing.
But the other reason for not finishing a painting in one go, or "alla prima", to give the technical term, is that while I have nothing against it as a technique, it never was my preferred way of working even when I was a bit more flexible than I am today. I like to build things up, with lean paint, then thicker and richer paint (ie, with more oil in it), and then to apply glazes. You can't do that in the alla prima technique; and I think most painters actually use a combination of techniques in practice - they may do most of the work in the field, but I suspect come back and apply the final touches in the studio.
Anyway: we are still a long way from the finish-line with this, but I think it's coming on; mostly worked with large flat brushes, with some stippling with a fan brush so far; and I realized that I also used a little pthalo blue in the greens, which I didn't mention in the last posting. You'd never have got those deep colours with just cobalt. No ready-made tube greens (yet!), but I've also brought in some Yellow Ochre, and a little bit of Cadmium Yellow.
A problem is going to be to stop this turning out too dark - hmmm. We shall see.


  1. Seems to be a problem leaving messages. So this is a test.

  2. Your painting seems ok to me for the moment. I like the composition and can almost feel the wind in the lonely tree on the top. I don't paint in oil, so I can't give you any advice or comment on that. I hope the comment stays on.

  3. See: it is still there