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Oil Step By Step Demonstrations

The Gate / Beck Hole

This small, 'plein air' painting was undertaken over a period of approximately one and a half hours in rapidly changing, evening light.

 

Materials:

 

Support:

A 25 x 30 cm (10" x 12") proprietary canvas covered board treated as follows:

•  One coat of texture paste was applied with a 25mm 'Hog' brush.
•  One coat of white acrylic primer was applied to the board.

The prepared board was painted with a variegated, coloured ground using 'turpsy' washes of Cadmium Yellow, Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Red.

Brushes.

Nos.4, 6, and 8 'Eskoda Perla', Filbert brushes.

A No.3 round Sable or synthetic 'rigger'.

Colours.

For this demonstration a limited palette of six primary colours (a 'warm' and 'cool' version of each primary) and an 'Alkyd' white were used:

Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Lemon, Ultramarine Blue and Cerulean Blue. 'Alkyd' Titanium White was used to speed up drying time.

Three greys were mixed from the above primaries and white.

Grey 1: A 'warm', light toned grey.

Grey 2: A 'cooler', light toned grey.

Grey 3: A dark neutral grey.

Miscellaneous Items.

Low odour solvent or White Spirit (used for cleaning the brushes only), a 2B pencil and a palette knife.

Step One: Draw Out & 'Block In'

I drew a simple outline of the subject using a 2B pencil.

I began to 'block in' some of the dark trees in the composition. Ultramarine Blue plus Alizarin and a touch of one of the yellows will make a good 'dark' which can be adjusted if necessary by adding white.

 

 

Step Two: Continue the 'Block In'

I looked carefully at the subject, squinting my eyes to decide on the major shapes, then I continued the 'block in' by using 'darks' and 'mid tones'. Slightly lighter, blue / greys, both 'warm' and 'cool', can be mixed for the wall.

At this stage I mixed a few 'mid' and 'dark' toned greens for the foliage in the overhanging trees. I painted the foliage masses in an abstract manner with a combination of 'warm' and 'cool' colours and 'lost and found' edges.

For now, accurate rendering of colour and detail is not necessary, but the painting must be fairly accurate with regard to tone.

It's advisable to experiment with mixes, as there are numerous ways to achieve the required colours from this limited palette.

Remember, that by adding too much white to colour mixes, you run the risk of 'cooling' the mix too much, or of making the mix appear 'chalky'.

 

Step Three: Develop the 'Block In' & start the distant foliage.

I continued to develop the overall 'block in' and at the same time began to introduce a few lighter, bluer tones to the distant trees and bushes. By using these 'cooler' tones I was able to create a feeling of recession in the painting.

 

 

Step Four: Mid Tone Greens in the foreground

I now moved my attention to the 'dark' and 'mid' toned 'shadowy', greens in the foreground.

To enhance the 'shadowy' feel to these greens I introduced a subtle, 'purple / grey' to give a broken, textural effect.
I now paid particular attention to the transitional area where the wall meets the grass. This area should be carefully blended, ensuring a 'soft' transition which doesn't attract the eye.

I used a few slightly lighter toned greens to paint the overhanging foliage. These greens can be mixed with combinations of Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow with a touch of Cadmium Red plus White for the 'warmer' greens. For the 'cooler' greens I used Cerulean Blue, Cadmium Yellow Lemon with a touch of one of the reds and White.

The gate, along with further wall details can now be worked on.

 

 

Step Five: Complete the painting

Before I paying attention to the lighter tones, highlights and final details, the foreground 'block in' was completed.

I now had a wide range of colourful grey mixes to work with, any of which can be adjusted using, either the pre mixed 'greys', or the primaries.

I now painted all the lighter tones and the final 'highlights'. I was careful to avoid the mixes becoming too 'chalky' or 'cool' when adding white.

To create the feeling of sunlight, the lighter greens were mixed with a predominance of Yellow. A range of lighter yellowy, greens can be mixed with a combination of both of the Blues and Yellows together with White.

Note: These lighter, purer, sun-struck areas will need to be mixed only from the primaries and should be 'fresh' and 'clean' looking.

Notice how the highlights have been painted. The paint has been applied thickly, using impasto, creating texture which subsequently enhances the light effect. Look at the use of impasto in the foreground where the light streams through the gate. It is also very apparent in the highlights on the gate and gateposts.

I now added final details such as the twigs and branches. Care was taken to keep the painting 'loose' and not to overdo these details.

Before cleaning down my palette and packing up, I took a little time to make sure that all the 'edges' read well; there should be a pleasing combination of 'soft' and 'hard' edges which will ensure that the viewers eye travels through the painting in a pre-determined, controlled manner.
I now took a final look at the 'tonal' sequence of the painting which should read convincingly.

The Gate / Beck Hole

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