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.