Thursday, 25 August 2016

Fox (this is my 500th daily painting!)

portrait of a fox
This fox marks my 500th blog post and 500th (published) daily painting. A similar number have probably been "published" directly into the bonfire.
Worked in 3 layers: (1) a full colour block-in painted thinly, especially on the background, and the eyes and nose painted to finish (2) fur detailing, especially in the ears and (3) fiddling about with edges and darkening shadow areas. 
Even after hundreds of paintings I still find it difficult to get my darks dark enough. I think that is my most consistent and predictable weakness. 
I try now not to blog or ship direct any painting without checking, double checking and triple checking that the darks are dark enough.



Thursday, 18 August 2016

Sunshine Hound

oil painting of a bassett hound in the sunshine
Here is a glorious Basset Hound sitting in the sun, one of my favourite dogs to paint. An ancient breed, engravings have been found of a basset-like dog from the period of the Middle Kingdom in Egypt (2000BC-1700BC) as well as mummified remains of a similar-looking dog in the Dog Catacombs. Which is rather impressive, I thought, for a dog essentially regarded nowadays as rather comical.
Painted on fine linen, I completed a full-colour block in first, painting very thinly, and let it dry overnight. Then, for the ears in particular, I applied the paint quite dry and tried not to mess or blend it. The thin colour block-in underneath showed through and this is what gives the short-fur effect on his ears.
Colours used: black, Transparent Oxide Orange and Lemon Yellow, with white. 
I am pleased with the whiskers: whiskers are always a challenge in oil paint. It is so easy to create blots. I thinned the paint with turps and oil and swept the whiskers on with my new "whisker brush": it is an extra-long liner sized 30/0, made by the Princeton Brush Company. To get a finer brush than that I would have to make my own by plucking a whisker off the cat. It is terrific.

Friday, 12 August 2016

A small painting of a small cat

A small oil painting of a small cat using blue and orange
This little chap is a bonus painting. I was experimenting with colour mixes and he almost painted himself. 
I washed Transparent Oxide Orange over an oil-primed linen board and left it to dry overnight, then painted him using Cerulean Blue, Transparent Oxide Brown and white.
These particular colours make some lovely muted teals and greys when mixed together.
Have a great weekend and thank you for looking at my paintings.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Grey Kitten

oil painting of a grey kitten
Still practising cats here. This one was tricky both for lack of chroma and lack of form: a grey fluff-ball basically. I used black only for his eyes and nose, otherwise I mixed chromatic greys using complementary colours. 
To achieve fluffiness I used fingers more than brushes to paint his coat. This is worked on rough linen, not the smooth board I usually use. I discovered that rough linen works better if what you want to achieve is fluff.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Golden Eagle

oil painting of golden eagle in flight
Another wildlife piece, a beautiful Golden Eagle. These birds are found in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and nowhere else in the UK to the best of my knowledge. I have only seen one once but that was in the Alps, and it was very high up in the sky so did not provide me with a view quite like this.
Painted in a about 2 hours - he just came together for some reason. This was a tremendous relief having spent last weekend wiping everything I painted.
Those two hours were spread across 3 days, however, as the elapsed time allowed work to dry or at any rate tack up. 
First day: I washed Transparent Orange over the board and left it to dry (the board is just a piece of MDF that the hardware shop cut for me, which I gessoed with 3 coats of acrylic gesso). 
Day two I basically painted everything else but without the tiny feathers between his eye and beak and without using any white paint except for the beak. 
Day three: when he had tacked up but was not actually dry, I went back in with white to lift the piece, add highlights to eye, head feathers and back. I also scratched in some lines to represent the veins in feathers. 
My goal was to make a painting that said "Eagle!" but without giving in to the temptation to over-work it or recreate the reference photo. The photo, incidentally, was taken by Gary Jones and shared on Paint My Photo.