Monday, 9 April 2012

Painting No 19 - Rosie on Whangamata Beach, NZ

Oil on canvas board - 24" x 18"

Another picture I'd been wanting to do for a long time.  It is also conveniently very similar to the picture we did on my recent course.

I applied a few (by no means all) of the techniques I'd learned from my course, not least of which was to take some artistic license.  Previously I'd largely relied on choosing the right picture to copy to get the composition right but his time I rearranged the picture by compressing it laterally.  The beach is a lot wider in the source picture so I left out the middle section to narrow it.  This meant that I had to reorientate the pools on the left to get the perspective back.

We were taught that lighter colours (tints) help give the impression of distance compared to darker (shades) so I made the beach in the foreground much darker than it appears in real life while gradually lightening it as it receded.  I think it works.

I also used impasto in the nearest waves to give the impression of closeness.  This was made of titanium white paint mixed with chalk.  (I made the chalk powder myself by simply grinding down some pieces of chalk I picked up while out on a run.  We live in the Chiltern Hills so are sitting on millions of tons of the stuff.)

Another technique I used was to apply a light scummble over the sky and the central hills to recede them a little.  (The glare at the top of the picture is not from some Turneresque skill of mine. It's from a light bulb just above the picture).

All in all I'm quite pleased with this (especially as I survived painting my wife from behind!).  It's possibly not as ambitious with the indirect painting techniques as it could be but it's a good start.

Paintings Nos 18a-e Simply Oils Painting Course

Well I'm back from the painting course at Norfolk Painting School.  It was a 3-day course called Simply Oils which, as the name suggests, is for new painters.  You can read about the course and the school here so I'll give a brief summary here.  Suffice to say it easily achieved my objectives of giving my painting a kick up the backside.  The course was built around teaching the indirect painting technique which essentially consists of painting in largely transparent layers, allowing the underlying layers to show through.  Martin Kinnear who runs the school is a very passionate and patient teacher (as well as an excellent artist) and I'd recommend the course to anyone wanting to break out their amateurish ways and open the door to proper oil painting.

Beach Scene - Oil on Canvas 30 x 24

This picture was the final piece of the course and took most of the final day.  It utilised all of the techniques and method we'd learned in the previous two days.  The foreground is rushed but the required effects still works. I particularly like the lower clouds with their mix of purples, yellows and whites as well as the salmon underpainting coming through. The overall style is clearly very different to my previous work.  A series of smaller sketches were produced during the previous two days all leading to the above picture.  I struggled to get them done in the time allowed.  They are shown below in reverse chronological order.

Beach scene sketch - Oil on Board 12 x 10

This was a preliminary sketch for the large beach scene above. 

River scene sketch - Oil on Board 10 x 12

Turner's Fishermen upon a Lee Shore in Squally Weather sketch
Oil on Board 12 x 10

The pink base layer is clearly visible under the clouds lending them a light that would be very difficult to achieve any other way.   

Turner's Fishermen upon a Lee Shore in Squally Weather 
monochrome sketch (tonal study)
Oil on Board 12 x 10

A great deal was learned on the course.  It was only 3 days but it raised my awareness to whole new level so that I can come away and study and practice these techniques.