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.


Swindon Open Studios said...

This is such a great post Benoit. I love the final painting, and Abbey House Gardens are so beautiful.

Swindon Open Studios said...

I love your art and your posts are excellent, just the right balance between text and photos