Thursday, 5 March 2015

Oils are for me...

Three examples of my working with oil paint and its versatility

 Cragside  Oils on board

  Point of View  Oils on canvas

  Slow thaw  Oils on canvas board

I thought I would talk about my preference for using oils as I sometimes get asked why I use them instead of water-colour or acrylic paints.

Over the years I have used the other paints but when I began to handle oils there was an instant appeal.  I love the luscious creamy feel of the paint and it suits my way of working.  I admit there are sometimes challenges when painting 'alla prima' if I want to avoid muddying the colours but having a little patience to allow the paint to dry overnight I can place some highlights successfully.

My figurative paintings are mostly gentle colours, typical of our Lincolnshire landscape so there are not many occasions when I will use bright, saturated hues.  Perhaps a bright colour will be needed for a poppy field or some other object in the scene.

On the other hand, my abstract paintings can be very colourful so I would require a different choice of colours.  I still keep to a limited palette though as I prefer to mix my colours from the three primaries...two reds, two blues and two yellows...a cool and a warm of each.  In addition I will have earth colours Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, and possibly Burnt Umber used sparingly as it can be deadening.   

I find I can get lovely darks without using black so I very rarely bring it out of my box.  I have mixed black with yellow occasionally to produce a lovely green.  My paint box does contain other colours such as Viridian, Pthalo Blue and Prussian Blue.  These are strong insistent hues so I mix them in carefully using a little at a time. 

I use Titanium white but I have to be restrained as colours can become chalky if used too much.  Often adding a touch of lemon yellow will lighten and retain the glow.

Transparent colours such as Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine are useful for scrubbing in the under-paintings for both figurative and abstract work...I find it very useful for establishing a tonal study and composition before commencing the piece.  Any changes to shapes and perspective can be altered easily or even rubbed out in places to set the scene.  This will apply with both styles of work.  Adding a touch of medium will hasten the drying process.

Part of painting for me is the thrill of handling the paint, sculpting it with a brush and making shapes.  Even the palette looks exciting at the end of the day...mixing the paint produces some lovely hues and dried left-overs can sometimes become a work of art.   I have even hung them on the wall of my studio.

Oil is definitely my favourite medium for creating all aspects of my work.   


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