Thursday, 17 August 2017

Hi Mum - I'm HOME!

oil painting of a happy chocolate labrador running
With this one, I was very concerned about the brilliant, sunlit background detracting from the dog. Also, the scene is so very GREEN which is hard to get right.

I decided to render the dog first, so that I could key in the background to him, rather than starting with the background then trying to make the dog pop out of it.

chocolate labrador oil painting - work in progress

As you can see, I started with what the dog was leading with
- his nose and tongue.
chocolate labrador oil painting - work in progress

The rest of his face and his right shoulder in next. Roughly speaking, the right side of this dog is in shadow and the left side is in the light. I split the palette and used two brushes, one for the shadow and one for the light. 

chocolate labrador oil painting - work in progress

And here he is, bless him, bounding out of the canvas towards me. Now to ruin it, I thought and began tackling the background with considerable trepidation. I started off using only combos of the same paint colours as I had used on the dog - to try and ensure the painting hung together OK. But that quickly appeared hopeless - far too bland - so I whipped out the cadmiums: lemon yellow, pale green and gave it a bit of energy with a large brush. I was happy with how it turned out.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

The first time I saw the Queen

an oil painting of a frame of honey bees with the Queen visible
For a long time after the bees first arrived in our garden, I thought I should never see a Queen at all. 
Unlike in a photograph or a painting, the little blighters won't keep still, you see. The constant movement and farkling about is bewildering to a novice beekeeper. 
But once I had spotted her for the first time, it was so obvious which one was the Queen, I was puzzled how I could not have seen her. There is a well-known old saying about learning to paint: that what you are really learning is how to see. This is very true and it applies also to beekeeping, I think.
I have had difficulty photographing this piece. I wanted you, the viewer, to be able to see the Queen too. So I placed her slightly off centre - just down and to the left a fraction - and positioned a few bees so they were pointing at her. Then, to be on the safe side, I gilded her with gold leaf after the paint was dry. So she shimmers most beautifully.
If the sun shines on her she shimmers like this in real life, too.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Guardians of the Steps

An oil painting of two labradors sitting on the front steps in dappled sunlight
This painting of two labradors sitting on the steps in dappled sunlight took 4 attempts to get right, the first 3 were wipers. I was almost ready to give up. Decided on one last attempt because I really did like the dogs.
The reason for the decision was a clue.
I had been blocking in the whole piece. On the 4th attempt, I painted the dogs only to completion, wiping the board as clean as possible, sketching in a few lines to get the positioning right and laying out a small palette of colours for the dogs only. 
On the left of the palette I laid out shadow colours: raw umber, french ochre, black and white. On the right, I laid out the sunlit colours: transparent oxide red, yellow ochre deep, cadmium yellow lemon and white. I used two brushes, one for shadow and one for the light. 
This approach did the trick - I finished up with two labs floating near the upper quartile of the canvas, but they were just as they should be. Then I put in the background around them with a fresh palette of colour, but again, divided in half: the shadow colours and the light colours.
These were: raw umber, purple lake and ultramarine - shadow; yellow ochre deep, naples yellow, lemon yellow and white - sunlight. For the bushes, I added cadmium green light for the sunlit areas.
Two brushes: one for shadow, one for light.
Hope you like the result.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Waiting for mum to come home

oil painting of a dog in the window, waiting for mum to come home
An impressionistic oil sketch of a dog looking out of the window.

Worked swiftly with a very limited palette of transparent oxide red, Prussian green, cadmium yellow light and white.  You get some very nice, rich darks using this particular red and green. Painted on a prepared A4 board and using biggish brush - a No 6 flat. For any fiddly bits, I turned the brush on its side and used the corner.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

out of the shadows

out of the shadows, a dynamic oil painting of a cat
A couple of extra posts this week as I have got a growing pile of finished paintings on the side.
This was an experiment, 95% palette knife. The inspiration was a photo of a grey and white cat stalking through dappled foliage. It was a very cute cat. 
I was conscious, though, that it would not look so cute if you were a small critter occupying that foliage.
This piece was an attempt to get away from a rather static realism and grab the coiled dynamism of a cat hunting for prey. 
Don't know if I have quite pulled it off, but that was the intention!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

What's the password?

What's the password? oil painting of two labradors in front of a doorway

Still working hard at my new approach to painting: holding the canvas properly upright on my easel, standing as much as possible, stepping back frequently and using bigger brushes. This was painted almost entirely with a size 6 ivory flat, which is twice as big as the size I normally use. For fiddly bits - the dog's eyes, the carriage lamp - I turned the brush on its side and used the corner.
I spent a couple of days on and off thinking about this painting before I started and decided that it was most important the dogs 'came forward' and that the background stayed back. As the background is largely white and white is an opaque colour that is usually used last to make sure it "comes forward", I was a bit worried whether I could pull it off.
To give myself a sporting chance, I started with the dogs and a limited palette of alizarin, cad yellow light, black and transparent oxide red (to warm up the shadows):

work-in-progress of labrador painting

The canvas board had a thin wash of blue acrylic, which I don't normally use but I didn't want a warm colour so it seemed best. It was completely dry before I started. Also, I put some lines on as it seemed daunting to begin with no lines at all.

work-in-progress of labrador painting

At this point I thought I had completed the lab. Forgot his back and rear legs, poor poppet.

work-in-progress of labrador painting

Here's his little friend going in. I was beginning to feel a tiny bit more confident by this stage that it wasn't all going to fall to pieces.
Last WIP shot

work-in-progress of labrador painting

I forgot to take any pix of laying in the background. What I did was take the warm colours off my palette and add cool colours, specifically cerulean blue and lemon yellow, plus black and white. All cool colours. 
Cool colours recede, warm colours advance. 
The slight pinkish colour in the foreground shadows was pulled from the choc lab's coat.
I still used the no 6 brush, until one of the door frames developed a wonk, at which point I used a ruler and a rigger but only for a single line (honest). 
The background did not take long. I deliberately gave myself an artificial deadline which was pretty tight - about 30 minutes once the palette was set up. This was so I would not fuss it too much.
Really I need my mother standing beside me throughout the process so she can smack my hand at regular intervals (this was her preferred method of teaching table manners and the proper use of a knife and fork. I'm guessing it would also work with a paint brush).

This was the first painting I have made using my new approach that I have really enjoyed. I liked applying some of the things I have learnt, especially cool vs warm, also I double-loaded the brush with one colour one side and a different colour (or value) on the other. This helped with laying in the golden lab and was fun.

Have a lovely weekend and thank you for reading through all this and sharing the experience with me.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Bright Eyes

Oil painting of a beautiful beagle using a limited palette
This was a limited palette painting, working with a No 4 Ivory flat brush. For fiddly bits (chiefly eyes) I turned the brush and used the corners to get a touch of detail. Whiskers were painted separately when everything else was dry using an extra long liner with about 2 hairs (I think it is aimed at miniaturists, size 30/0).

The palette was chosen almost by accident, as the support had seen two previous 'wipers' and as a result was coloured a sort of pale, salmon pink. It reminded me of the paler colouring on some beagle-type dogs and I thought it would be fun to try and make a dog emerge organically out of the mush of previous failures.

To paint his eyes I cleaned up eye-shaped holes in the background using cotton buds and mineral spirits. I seem to get a better shine on eyes if the background behind the transparent paint is white.

So, colours were: Transparent Oxide Brown (by Rembrandt - for the eyes); Burnt Sienna, Purple Lake, Lamp Black, Titanium White and Cadmium Red Medium (all Winsor and Newton).

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Got something for me?

oil painting of a Pointer looking straight at you and saying "Got something for me?"
This painting was worked standing at my new easel, using bigger brushes and with the goal of loosening up my technique a bit. I found it impossible to work the eyes standing and with big brushes, though. 
The linen board was pre-loved - in other words, my previous painting was a wiper. And the one before that. To get a fresh surface for a 3rd attempt, I wiped some titanium white all over it and left it to dry.
Then I drew out the dog with a pencil and decided I didn't like the fact I had set the board up landscape.
So I turned it round to portrait, wiped burnt sienna and turps all over the board and re-drew the dog with a brush, ignoring the lines underneath.
oil painting work-in-progress, 1st stage

Incidentally, this is how I set my easel up to hold small panels in position (as with all studio easels, they are really built to hold large canvases not small panels):
How to Set up a studio easel to hold small panels

Basically, I have set up a large 6mm deep canvas board as the support for the panel. Then I have cut strips off a canvas board using a Stanley knife and attached those strips to the backing board with nice, big, stiff clips. These strips can then be moved to accommodate larger or smaller panels. I placed my panel between the two strips and adjusted them so it was held really tightly and will not move. The main thing is to make sure the strips are thicker than the panel you are working on so they get a proper grip. If necessary, stick two strips together with a glue gun. That's what I did.

Anyway, here is the next stage. Basic colour blocks and especially the darks in place:
work-in-progress oil painting of a pointer dog
And the final stage photo, working right to left now laying in more detail and correcting the drawing as needed along the way.
work-in-progress oil painting of a pointer dog
Thanks for reading along, have a great weekend.

Friday, 7 July 2017

First Light

High chiaroscuro oil painting of a Maine Coon cat
This high chiaroscuro portrait of a Maine Coon cat marks a new beginning for me: I have decided to change some of my approaches to painting in the hope that I can improve more quickly. 
It is difficult to sustain progress when you work alone and have no teacher or mentor to chivvy you out of your comfort zone.
But as the old cliché says: if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.

So I decided to change a few things to try and get off my plateau and on to the next level up of this painting journey.

My goal is to paint more freely whilst also maintaining accuracy. 

To work towards achieving looser brushwork I decided, first, to change my work area, dumping the desk easel and working as much as I can standing up. 
I bought a fab new easel and what I call my Yellow Brick Road Rug which shows me how far to step back to evaluate my work:
photograph of a working artist's studio
Yes, I know the road isn't yellow, but let's pretend
Second, I have dumped working with lines. At least, as much as feasible. I am trying to block in the painting using mass and tone. Here is the first stage of the cat:

underpainting of Maine Coon cat

Third, I have dumped black. I read somewhere - and annoyingly, I cannot remember where - of an artist who said you should use black exactly as you would tube white i.e. very very sparingly and only to make a statement.

In this painting, I have used no black at all apart from the cat's 'eye-liner' and pupils. All the other darks I mixed, using various amounts of: Burnt Umber, Alizarin Crimson, Purple Lake and Pthalo Green. You can see the shadow of the Pthalo Green in the stage photo, above.

It was Michael Harding Pthalo Green and I think one of his small tubes of this colour would be sufficient, if squeezed out,  to colour the entire ocean. I used a pin prick. I still have a suspicious green tinge to one or two of my nails. Makes a fab dark with alizarin, though.

Then I started to add the lights, but still no white at all: these colours are Yellow Ochre Deep and Naples Yellow Light, plus Transparent Oxide Red

I used great care with the brush because the darks were still wet and we all know what happens if you mix Yellow Ochre with darks (see previous posts on cowpats).

The final stages I painted next day when the paint wasn't dry but had tacked up sufficiently to reduce the risk of me creating mud.

I am pleased with this painting but it cost me great pains to make. It is hard to work standing up if you are not used to it. It is rare for me to actually be reduced to tears by a painting, but what with the tiredness and the wobbly legs and aching arm (from using unfamiliar long-handled brushes) and the final insult of not one, not two, but three wipers, that is what happened. 

Got somewhere in the end, though.

If you have got to the end of this - thank you very much for reading along with me. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

White Horses Study (No 2)

an oil painting of white horses galloping in the sea and emerging from the waves. Inspired by the myth of Poseidon

A second study of Poseidon's white horses galloping in the waves. 

This is painted on A4 MDF board. I gessoed it with white acrylic gesso with turquoise acrylic paint stirred in. I was none too fussy about  smoothing it out as I wanted a textured surface to make me loosen up with the paint application. 

Having decided the positioning of the horses before hand, I pushed the gesso around a bit so it is not quite so rough in the upper centre of the board, where they were to be placed. 

I drew the horses out first on a bit of paper, based on about 100 internet images of white horses together with my own toy horses that I bought from the toy shop, like these:

me with my horse painting and the horse models

Toy shops are wonderful. It is fab to have an excuse to go in them again and buy things. I also have cows, sheep, cats and dogs in my toy basket. Very helpful for compositions! 

Also I have got some skulls - you can see Yorick immediately behind me in this photo, although he is not real, he is made of resin. Real ones can be obtained from medical equipment suppliers but they are vastly expensive and also a bit creepy, don't you think?

These are real, though. I found them over many walks with the dog :

So, back row from left to right: a sheep's skull - found on Dartmoor; a roe or fallow deer stag (not sure which), found in the forest down the road and thirdly a red deer stag, found in the same forest. At the front: a fox cub skull, same forest. 

Friday, 23 June 2017

White Horses Study (No 1)

oil painting of white horses emerging from breaking waves and a foaming sea
White horses have a magical part to play in mythologies from around the world. In Greek mythology - the source of my inspiration - the sea god Poseidon had a son called Pegasus. A magnificent, winged white horse. Poseidon was also the creator of horses, making them out of the breaking waves.

One of the most famous paintings of Poseidon's white horses was by Walter Crane, an English artist and illustrator 1845-1915. Here is a study "Neptune's Horses" that he painted in 1892 (Neptune is the Roman name for the Greek god Poseidon - same bloke).

Walter Crane a study of Neptune's white horses

and a painting on the same theme from 1910. Walter made several pieces on the theme and I am going to try to do the same.

Walter Crane, Neptune's Horses, 1910

I was lucky enough to see this one - or maybe a version of it, I am not sure how many he painted - at an exhibition of animal art the other year at the Russell Coates in Bournemouth - easily my favourite Art Gallery/Museum.

I have had a go at painting a multiple horse version as well and will post that next week, hopefully. Have a lovely weekend and thank you for looking at my paintings.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Sheltie Study No 3

Oil painting of a sheltie, back view, looking up and waiting
This sheltie painting is a re-work of a previous favourite using a golden colour scheme.
I had a couple of other sheltie pieces lined up for this series but have decided to leave them for now and move on to something else, so for next week - expect something completely different!
Have a lovely weekend everyone and thank you for looking at my paintings.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Sheltie Study No 2

oil painting of a sheltie with his nose on his paw in golden colours

A little oil painting of a sheltie with his nose on his paw in golden colours. This is one of those pieces that I have photographed a number of times and still can't get a result quite as nice as the original. I started with a rejected board re-coated with  a gesso that I had coloured a soft pink, using burnt sienna. 

I painted the dog in two steps: all the darker fur, or at any rate all the fur that did not need white, then when that was dry - everything else. I twice attempted to paint him all in one go, but this combo of colours and long fur is still very hard for me to do in one pass and it resulted in wipers and frustration.
I would have had to settle for a much more impressionistic result in order to pull it off. 

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Sheltie Studies No 1

Oil sketch of two shelties, one facing forwards, one with her back to us, A4 size
Two studies of a Sheltie, front and rear view, painted in thin oil colour. 

After a difficult week or so when everything I touched went wrong, I have decided to go back to painting dogs for a bit! I love these dogs. 

My own dog is half sheltie although he doesn't look anything like these two.
My black and white sheltie, poodle mix breed dog

To make the painting, I wiped some very thin raw umber and olive green paint over the prepared surface. The surface is an A4 MDF board which I had previously primed with acrylic gesso, stirring a bit of burnt sienna acrylic paint into the gesso first.

This is something I do quite often - it provides a warm, lightly toned surface to paint on and it is a useful start for any subject which has a lot of warm browns or reds in them.

Or greens, come to that because red and green are complementaries so the two together "sing" more vividly than on their own.

The shelties were painted in two passes: a darker under painting - this was to capture the shadows that would subsequently show through the longer, paler fur and then, when this was pretty much dry, I put the lighter fur on top.

At the end of the first stage it looked rubbish. It is important not to dive in with the "correct" colours too soon, I find, or it all mixes up and makes a muddy mess. 

I dried stage 1 (ugly duckling stage) by turning the board to the wall. So I don't have to look at it. Less temptation to fiddle.

Speaking of dry, it is tipping with rain here in soggy Devon. A good day for painting, then.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Sunlit pasture

Oil painting of a white mare and her chestnut foal standing in sunlit pasture
Most of this small painting was worked with a palette knife. I used one in order to try not to over-fuss the piece. 
I decided on the colours beforehand and pre-mixed four colour/value chains, two for each horse: one to use for the light and one to represent the shade. Despite this precaution it was still tricky disentangling all those legs.
The legs presented the same conundrum as trees against the sky in landscape painting: do you paint the branches first or the sky first? The legs or the pasture? 
There is no right answer, of course. I did a combination of both.

Thursday, 1 June 2017


oil painting, still life with oranges and paint
A still life, this week, just for a change. Using my favourite paint - Rembrandt - and a set up on a large piece of blue velvet.
Painted with a brush and a palette knife, I used both the indirect method for the background, paint tube and brush (i.e. I painted it in layers, allowing each layer to dry) and the indirect method for the oranges (i.e. I painted these in one sitting).

Friday, 26 May 2017

The Stretch

An old friend, this painting - I am re-posting it in recognition of how hot it is at the moment. We are not used to this in Devon, being more accustomed to drizzle and mirk.

I have been busy working on a commission this week and have not had time to paint a daily painting. Here is a quick peek at the commission, although the client hasn't signed it off yet. So, I'll just post it small ... in fact it is quite big (for me) at 16" x 12"

I also worked on some air-dry clay models over the last few weeks. A couple made it to some sort of completion. A more ambitious one has ended up in the bin. Here are the two I am not going to throw away. They are models of dogs belonging to my friends.

I painted them with acrylics and varnished them. They are mounted on to a couple of timber slices that I bought off e-Bay, which were sold as "rustic canapé serving dishes" and cost £5. If I had bought something similar listed as a plinth for models it would have been £40! 
The models themselves are a bit 'rustic', frankly, but everyone has to start somewhere. I am trying to learn a bit more about air dry clay. I have had terrible problems with it cracking. I would love to use the real thing, but that requires a kiln which is not an option at present.

Have a lovely weekend!

Friday, 19 May 2017

Benjamin Bulldog

bull dog oil painting
I must admit Benjamin Bulldog is looking like I feel at the end of a long and busy week. 
Painted in one sitting on linen, resisting the urge to over-work and trying to be comfortable with ambiguity - specifically, all those dark, shadowy pools. You do not have to paint every hair in order to say "bull-dog". At least, I hope you don't.

Have a lovely weekend and I hope the sun shines where you are.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Two White Poodles

Oil painting on linen of Two White Poodles

Four years ago, when I had just started out with oil painting and painting full-time, the first dogs I was asked to paint were a pair of white poodles. I nearly had a breakdown over the job. It has got better with practise I am happy to say.
Here are my hard-won tips for painting fluffy white dogs (also work for fluffy white cats):

  • punch up the contrast in the reference photo as much as you possibly can, so that any shadows at all in the fur are exaggerated 
  • Start off on a mid-toned canvas. This one is clear-primed linen. If it had been white-primed linen, I would have painted it first -and let that dry - a colour like this
  • Paint the darks first. Here is where I was after first starting:

work-in-progress poodle painting

  • Postpone adding white paint as long as you possibly can and if you must use white, make sure it is not tube-white: I use Michael Harding's Warm White or else mix in some of the shadow colours. The shadow colours here were Raw Umber, French Yellow Ochre and Lamp Black.
  • Distinguishing between fur shadows in the light and fur shadows in the shade also seems to help. On these dogs, you can see that the shadows in the body colour of the left hand one are warmer than the shadows in the right hand one.
  • If it's not looking right, make the darks darker don't immediately try to make the lights lighter. 

If nothing works than wipe it off, take a break, have a large coffee and some chocolate and start again. White poodles and fluffy cats are both subjects that seem to benefit from regular breaks and chocolate.

Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Grey Cat

oil painting of a long-haired grey cat
A beautiful long-haired cat painted in a palette of Prussian Green, Burnt Umber, Warm White (Gamblin) and Portrait Pink.With a dab of blue for his eyes. 
Once the painting was dry, I went back in to the shading on his coat - in order to "thicken up" the fur a bit more. I dry-brushed on a grey mixed from the blue of his eyes, the pink of his ears and the green from the background. I felt it made all the difference and pulled the painting together.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

The Watcher

The Watcher - an oil painting of a ginger cat in a window
This cat, watching from his vantage point in an abandoned building, appealed to me because of the contrasts: organic vs man-made, blue vs orange, dereliction vs life. It is also very typical of a cat, I thought, to find himself a nice discrete spot from which to survey the world. 
Painted on canvas board using an acrylic colour block-in as an underpainting, then in oils using a palette knife (except for the cat). My colours were limited to  blue, orange, black and white. You can make a lovely selection of greys from these colours. There was also a speck of lemon for the cat's eyes and a speck of alizarin (plus white) for his ears.

Friday, 21 April 2017


oil painting of Hound dog on a red cushion

A rare moment of contemplation for this hound dog, reclining in splendour on her red sofa. Warm shadows and cool light on the form of the dog. I enjoyed painting the curve of her body, pretending I was stroking her back as I applied the paint.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Bring Me Sunshine (2) and Happy Easter

painting of hound dog in play bow

Happy Easter! Here is a bonus painting for this weekend. I have been on a bit of a roll for the last week and completed 5 paintings. This one is on A4 MDF board - I bought a multi-pack from a new supplier on eBay and I am very pleased with it. I have gesso'd it myself with 3 coats of acrylic gesso.

Here are the two work-in-progress shots I remembered to take:
work-in-progress hound dog painting

The one on the top is the first stage: a rough drawing of the main features, position etc. Then I did a colour block-in. I am using watery acrylic paint for this: black, ultramarine, quinacridone nickel azo gold, burnt umber and sap green.

Once this was dry I started tidying up and adding a bit more detail. I used cadmium green pale and portrait pink to see if those colours would capture bright sunshine and concluded they did. I am still using acrylics at this point.

Once this had dried I switched to oil paint. For the sunshine I used lemon yellow, transparent oxide red, cadmium green light and a particularly virulent portrait pink from Daler Rowney, as well as white. For the shadows I used burnt umber, dioxine purple and ultramarine blue but pretty thin: lots of liquin.

Hope you like my playful dog -  have a playful Easter weekend yourselves. Thank you for looking at my paintings.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Bring me Sunshine

This painting of a tortoiseshell cat started off as an experiment. It was an experiment that ended well, a bit to my surprise. 
I used a previously toned board - it was a sort of peach-y colour - and I started drawing in the placement of the cat using a brush and some watery Raw Umber acrylic paint. Then I used some watery white and lemon acrylic to mark the patches of sunlight hitting the cat. 
Then I picked up an old friend I haven't used for a long time: Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold, by Golden. This is the most luminous, fiery, coppery gold colour. You can see it in the cat's left eye and cheek in this painting. I have not been able to find a match in oil colour despite trying: much trial, all error thus far.
Anyway, having got to this point I began deeping the colour and adding more colour notes, thinking I would "finish" with oil paint. But I didn't. 
So this is the first acrylic painting I have made since switching to oils 4 years ago. 
I am not sure I could have done this painting in oils, not in a single sitting anyway. The acrylic dried so quickly on what was a very warm Spring day, I could start layering up immediately. Colours could also be placed side-by-side without creating mud. The corollary was that blending was very difficult. I had to either blend on the palette or create the colour I wanted by layering (glazing).
It is apparently possible to buy extenders that stop acrylic paint drying so fast. But since this was the property I actually enjoyed, I probably won't. 

Friday, 7 April 2017


Oil painting of a shepherd and lamb
You have two paintings for the price of one today. This is the second version of a painting I made of Henry in the lambing sheds. I made the setting less abstracted and more realistic, zoomed in on his lovely, hard-working face and totally invented the colour harmony of the lighting. 
I imagined this is what the lambing sheds might look like in early morning sunlight (or late afternoon). At the time I was in the sheds with him, we hadn't seen any sun for weeks and everywhere was dull and olive green.
This painting has just won a Special Merit Award from Light, Space Time Gallery in Florida USA 😊

Here is the first version of the painting. This one is a 12" x 16" on linen:
Oil painting of a shepherd and his lamb
This cool colour harmony is a more realistic rendering of the actual scene. There is more of the figure and also, of course, more of the lamb. In this one, I like the fact you get all the lamb's gangly legs. Bless him.
Maybe what I need to do is paint a 3rd one that brings together the elements of these two that I most like. What do you think?

By the way, if anyone also follows me on Facebook, I am presently taking both a personal and a professional holiday from Facebook, having unpublished both my page and personal profile. 
I might switch them back on, I might not. 
Facebook engulfs both time and mental energy. I was also getting rather too many weird visitors and comments. This, combined with endless demands from FB to hand over money to promote myself, decided me to take a holiday.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Horse study in gold

oil study of a horse
This was an exercise to see what would happen if I used the smallest number of colours and the smallest number of brushstrokes possible. Could I model form without fussing over detail? Could I make something striking with 3 or 4 colours not including white?
I'll leave you to decide. 
Colours used were Rembrandt Cadmium Orange and Cadmium Yellow Deep and Winsor & Newton Cadmium Yellow Medium and Raw Umber.  The depth of darkness in the raw umber was achieved by applying two or three layers of colour, allowing each to dry in between. 
For brush work, I used a small soft angled shader for the fiddly bits (legs, face, ears, whiskers) but for mostly everything else, I used my fingers or a cotton bud/Q-tip.
I did not use white, realising that white is a false friend and often kills the effect I am trying to achieve. 
Like most people, I tend to assume white is the lightest and thus the brightest colour on my palette. In fact, the illusion of brilliance can also be achieved by careful contrast and using high chroma pigments. Adding white to any colour automatically cools and dulls it, which is often the opposite effect to the one you are trying to achieve.