Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Oil painting demonstration - Stage 3



Review the previous stages

Oil painting demonstration - Stage 1
Oil painting demonstration - Stage 2

I worked again on this canvas after a long interruption. I was a little apprehensive to have lost momentum, but decided the best way was to just get started.

I laid the following colours on a glass palette:

  • Titanium white
  • Naples yellow light
  • Japanese yellow light
  • Cadmium yellow deep
  • Raw sienna
  • Vermillion hue
  • Carmine Alizarin
  • Cerulean blue
  • Royal blue
  • French ultramarine.


I started working on the boat in the foreground. I wanted to give some strength and depth to the painting and get more definition without going into to much detail. The paint mixes well as it contains oil and I used almost no thinner. For the lighter areas, like the top of the box in the blue boat and the front metallic structure, I applied some Light king blue.


The work on the water was done on the go, using the colours also used on the boats. As a general principle, I tend to go around the painting using the same colours in order to give some unity to the work. The glimmering aspect of the water was obtained by the different layers, breaking down the strokes, alternating dark strokes and lighter ones.

I mixed some Ultramarine blue with Carmine Alizarin to paint the rim of the cream boat with a dark purple. I generally don’t use black from the tube, I prefer to mix it.

The round orange buoys worked very well in the painting. They provided roundness that contrasted with the sharpness of the prow and, from the colour point of view, the orange and red spots vibrated on the blue/green complimentary sea.

I worked the top of the water with the edge of a flat brush. I applied some Naples yellow on the sunny area of the boats: the bench and the front of the cream boat. On the front of the boat, the paint mixed with the King’s Blue Light I applied before. Naples Yellow is a good alternative to pure white. Think of it as the colour of luxury letter paper.

When I worked on the light area of the water, I kept in mind the final effect I would achieve by glazing and I laid the foundations. I used all the blues on the palette: King’s Blue Light, Cerulean and Ultramarine that I mixed with Titanium white to grade them.

I then concentrated on the triangle of water between the reflexions of the boats. By making this area lighter, the boats would stand out.

After that, I worked on the reflexion of the boats to get the right tonal value. Again, I took into consideration that the final aspect would come with glazing.

I added the “telling details” that make boats: the boards on the side, the masts.

I stopped the session after two hours. The light declined and the colours became muted.

I put the painting to dry on top of the drawers. I could glance at it from time to time and think about the next stage. I already knew I had to work on the boat edge on the right, put more details in, more weight, without making it too distracting. I would rework the mast to put some light on them. I could not do this with the fresh underlying paint. The reflexion of the mast of the cream boat looked too blue. I had to make it darker (probably dark green) and more muted. I would add the registration numbers and the flags.

I was looking forward to the next session. Glazing would bring depth to the water and soften the passage from light to dark on the boats.






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1 comment:

Boyarchitect said...

This is so helpful to me. The dialogue is genuine and it echoes so many of the stages in art I have felt personally in the creation of a work.

We live together in the in-between; between a sudden awareness of space, colour, line that challenges our comprehension and the world of practical tools and techniques through which we can reach up and grasp it.

Thank you.

John Osburn
North Bay Ontario Canada.