Monday, 18 May 2015

Fairford Art Society Oil painting workshop

Last Saturday, I ran a whole-day oil painting workshop (10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) for the Fairford Art Society. The venue was really nice, with good light conditions, and the atmosphere very friendly.

Participants had mixed abilities, from people who had been painting in oil for many years to artists who were eager to give it a try. I had brought some material along (canvas boards, artist paints, brushes, etc.), and no previous experience was needed.

At the start of the workshop, I said that everyone would get home with a finished painting. An they did.

I was really impressed by the results and I like the fact that each artists showed their individual style. Here are a few photos taken at the end of the day of the works they produced.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Step by step: Abbey House Cottage Garden oil painting

I have not done a step by step demonstration for some time and this is nearly one. Nearly because, towards the end, I was in the flow and did not stop as often as at the start to take pictures of the work in progress. However, this will give you a good idea of the process I have followed.

I would normally start with a toned canvas (Using toned canvasses for oil painting), but I had none ready in this format. I worked from a photograph I took last summer in the garden, and traced the outline of the main features free hand.

I went over the outline with diluted light brown because I didn't want the lead from the pencil to muddy the colours.

The colours on my palette were:

  • Titanium White,
  • Cadmium Yellow,
  • Still de grain brun (Mussini) - A light transparent brown
  • Cadmium Red,
  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson,
  • Cobalt Turquoise,
  • Cerulean Blue Hue,
  • French Ultramarine, and
  • Phthalo Blue.

All colours, unless specified, are by Winsor & Newton. The Titanium White is Winsor & Newton Griffin Alkyd, which helps speeding-up drying time. I also use the Sanodor solvent, which also helps with drying time.

At an early stage, I used very diluted paint. Apart for the sky and for the walls of the house, I did not touch the white. I wanted a thin glaze that established the masses and started to express the tonal contrasts.

The initial layer dried quickly and formed the base for the blocking-in phase. I applied thicker paint. You can see the warm tones in the foreground (pink, orange and red) that will enhance the green tones.

I built-up the foliage of the trees and layered paint to create a tapestry of plants and flowers in the borders.

It was time to get the linseed oil out to apply spots of brighter colours. At this stage, I was looking for some texture and colour accents.

Painting knifes are great tools to give texture. I applied paint with a painting knife in the sky, on the dark edge, but also in the borders (scraping it to create random mix of tones).

The final painting is below. Notice how I pushed the house in the background by glazing some Titanium White over it, the day after the first painting session. I also reworked the sky to make it lighter and get a better atmospheric perspective.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Abbey House Cottage Garden - Malmesbury

Abbey House Cottage Garden (Malmesbury) - Oil on canvas (14" x 18") by Benoit Philippe

I previously painted another part of this garden in watercolour. See: Abbey House Garden - Malmesbury, which gives all the details for this garden.