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Saturday, 18 December 2010

Happy Christmas, or Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

The First Little Rat,
The Angels Did Say,
Was followed by Others
Who all came to stay...
They stayed and they stayed,
They just would not leave;
I found one this morning
Asleep in my sleeve...
Noel, Noel,
Noel, Noel,
We're in your Kitchen and doing quite well...

Christmas Greetings to all my followers, friends, numerous admirers and ... potential customers?

Robert Phillip Jones

Friday, 10 December 2010

A one-off!

Here is a better photo of the oil I've been working on for several weeks, on and off. I don't know if I like it or not, but it's what I meant - heavily worked, because I was trying to get the confusion of twigs and branches, dying orange, red and yellow leaves, and also trying to avoid any suggestion of a "pretty" approach. Although I'm all for loose painting and impressionistic techniques, just now and then I like to remind myself that nature is so often not tame and obedient, with helpful little pathways and dappled paths, but rather prickly, muddy, and even impenetrable.
I wouldn't want to paint like this too often - I now feel a strong desire to simplify. But I did enjoy playing with the thick paint, and attempting to find structure in a seeming chaos of branches, foliage, grasses and mud.
It's based on the River Ems, across the Solent from me - haven't thought of a title as yet.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Update on last post

I now have a much better photograph of my most recent oil - done with a painting knife in one session, 30 by 40cm. Found that fears of excessive use of expensive paint were unfounded, to my gratification... while the paint on this is thicker than normal for me, you actually use all the paint you squeeze onto the palette when painting with a knife; the pleasure in the process lies in picking up a quantity of different colours, spreading them on the canvas, and seeing how they work together. You don't use any medium, like turpentine or Linseed oil (and on this occasion I used the more liquid Titanium White, rather than my lead-based Flake White, which would have been much harder to apply freely) - and at the end of the process, your palette is much easier to clean, because you've scraped most of the paint off already; and you can just wipe clean your knife or knives - none of this squeezing the paint out of hog hair brushes, swishing them in turps, then washing each one in soap and water. So I'll do THAT again, then!
When painting with brushes, the whole nature of the process means that you inevitably squeeze out more paint than you can use: small quantities are no use at all, because you can't see what you're doing when you mix colours together. And there's inevitable paint wastage at the end of a session. Not only that, but if you work over several stages, ie several days (even weeks) as I often do, you need to clean the palette every day or every other day: paint on the palette which is tacky, half wet, half-dry, is useless for painting - and can cause cracking of the paint surface to boot.
Anyway, here it is: Skies about to Open is its working title, loosely based on the landscape above Niton on the Isle of Wight; on this occasion, it was the sky that interested me more than the land.