Getting ready for my next show and feeling all over the place with regards to process. I’v been playing around with all sorts of media and techniques and need to get back to basics. This blog is a reference for myself. To refer back to when I’m feeling a bit lost. I hope you enjoy looking in too.
Start by toning the canvas. Scrubbing the paint into the weave with an old stiff brush and thiner. Make areas of light and dark and create some movement with the brushstrokes. This will be a roadmap for the next layer.
Choose a pallet of colour to use throughout the whole painting. Here I’v chosen a warm and cool red, a light and dark blue and a transparent and opaque yellow. This is the fun part and in my opinion the painting rarely improves after this stage 😦
If you’ve read my blog “Glazing an Oil Panting” you’ll know this is my favourite thing to do. Here is the first layer, bringing out the shapes I see in the underpainting. You can really take your piece in any direction you like at this stage.
I’ll keep layering the glazes until I’m happy with the result. Here is the third layer. Getting progressively darker I’v added dark earth tones to my pallet.
The final step is to add some lights and bring out the forms. Painting in this way relies on the layers being completely dry before going on with the next. Being oil paint this takes time. The whole painting took around a week to complete.
I decided to scumble a thin layer of blue to add more dimension. I think it may be finished?
Working in oils is a glorious thing! There is just so much they can do. Today, I’d like to talk a bit about glazing. Basically, using very thin layers of paint in multiple layers to build the colour and tone of the painting.
I’v used a mix of about half paint from the tube and half fast drying medium. This gives the glaze a wonderful translucent and glossy finish. It’s good to pick transparent paint colours for this tequnique.
First the petals, vines and leaves are painted in white over a wet middle tone underpainting and left to dry. Then I can come back and paint in layers of glazes and slowly build up the scene.
The white layer underneath shines through the transparent coloured glaze. As I paint around the subject with rich colours the lights and darks build a wonderful depth and luminosity.
If I’m not happy with a passage of glaze it’s easily wiped back with a cloth or paper towel. Going nice and slow, I stand back often and take a look at my work.
The layers go on easily if I oil the canvas before a painting session. Each layer is left to dry completely before continuing with the next.
Here the paintings well on it’s way. There are still some more dark glazes to add. I’ll upload the final picture when it’s finished.
There’s a tangle on the fence at the bottom of the garden. Wisteria, Jasmine and ivy jostle for their time in the sun. When the spring growth starts the Wisteria wins.
Wandering to the bottom of the garden, where the bee’s rule, I ask may I borrow the Wisteria. To make it live fourty-four thousand days.
These are my offerings. Trying to capture their wonderful mystery as they dance in the wind. I’ll try again next spring, if the bees allow.
Moths have held a fascination for me all my life.
The huge deep brown moth in my bedroom that fluttered around at night with big eyes on it’s wings.
The silvery ragged winged creatures that lost there sheen on my fingers when I tried to catch them.
Lately my garden has been full of Cabbage moths dancing together around the Wisteria and Jasmine.
I love these moths and wish they’d stay. I know they’re just silent, fleeting reminders of the temporary.
Some paintings and a little poem.
Through the crinkled leaves and brittle twigs scratching on my skin, I’v stumbled on something rare that sparks my imagination with new possibilities.
There’s a nest in an overgrown hedge next to the Jacaranda tree in my front garden. Little jewel-like eggs sit alone and exposed in the hot sun.
Their Mother’s not here to protect them from the midday heat or cold evening breezes. Why leave them alone? Did something uninvited crawl in?
I’ll take them home to keep as a small memento. A memory of times past, when pleasant things asked that the door be kept shut, so all is safe inside.
No, I’ll leave them instead, as a reminder to the birds of the beauty and cruelty of nature.