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Hartland Cliffs: oilbars and oil 30x22 inches

, 12:01


A fortunately dry and bright overcast day permitted me to get this canvas- board outside to photograph. Probably the biggest item I've worked on in recent times, but oilbars do tend to demand lots of space and elbow-room. The main shapes were marked out in pale blue before working from the top down (for the sky) and then distance to foreground for the cliffs.

Sennelier Ultramarine blue oilbar was blended with tube-light red, then blended further with a white oilbar to get distance for the cliffs furthest away. Some terre vert tube-green was introduced on the middle cliffs, along with a bluish-grey colour created from the oilbars; the whole thing was worked intuitively, not by any rigid method. Coming forward, pale greens were created with the oilbar mixes of lemon yellow plus ultramarine blue, with an occasional passage -over with white oilbar to knock the acidity down. Raw umber oilbar plus a bit of light red from a tube was used to start the sea-level rocks.

The sea was created from oilbars cerulean blue, ultramarine blue, white and raw umber; tube-white for the cresting waves. Finally the main foreground was laid in with heavy passages of oilbar; raw umber, prussian blue, ultramarine, cadmium yellow; with cadmium orange used for a front piece and modified with overlays of the other colours. The rocks were worked with white oilbar and the same colours as used for the vegetation.

At no point was a paintbrush used on any of the main components. A small palette knife helped with the waves. Zest-It diluent helped with spreading colour where required, using a rag placed over the forefinger.

Since the oilbar mixtures were surface dry in a few days, this allowed interesting paint overlays in the foreground section. The whole picture was worked as if using large (rather squidgy) pastels.

"Coast": acrylic 24x16 inches

, 13:14

This picture is in my OriginalArtUnder100.com gallery

I spend a lot of time on pastels and after a while I need to just go away and play with something else. I have found that acrylics don't bend to my natural tendency for detail; the more I push my luck, the worse things get. So instead, I attempt to take a more casual approach to them....scrub the paint around a bit...paint over old failed acrylics...chuck on some texture-paste...get out the Nancy Reyner book Acrylic Illuminations, gather up the gels and metallics and just have fun, without any "saleable" end product in mind.

"Coast" is a picture that had actually been thought about for some while. In early 2016 I took photos of a local coastline. While brooding over them some days later I was attracted to one that seemed to divide the landscape up into strips. Each one had something different in it, like water, mud or grass. I noted it and copied the file over into another "possibilities" folder on my desktop. Last week I pulled the image out again, and decided that it was time to do something.

I rarely work large; and even this size canvas at 24x16 inches is considered only modest by today's abstract painters. I am not noted for being a speedy painter, however this work was pretty much finished over three sessions, totalling around 6 to 7 hours. I worked out various textures for each strip; the grass at the bottom was done with high-solid gel gloss while, further up, the mid-distance was made with sandy texture-paste. Once completed, everything was left to dry for a few days. Adding the paint came next; I wanted to re-create the typical blue-greys and pinky browns of a coastal "tide's out" view, but add touches of shine with pearlescent white. The shimmery paint was skimmed over the ridges of dried gloss medium to resemble wet mudflats, while thin lines were put in at the horizon to catch hazy sunlight.

Some while after completing it, I realised that texture was also something I was seeking further in my pastel pictures; using thicker primer and experimenting with grainy surfaces. Some of the acrylic media are capable of being used for pastel work, such as micaceous iron oxide and sandy paste....something I can think about further in the coming weeks.

Breaker: acrylic on canvas, 16x16 inches

, 11:32

I've had a busy period; virtually no painting done. But managed this one a week or so ago. Worked from imagination, no source references. The canvas had originally been painted with a semi-abstract in reds and oranges, and with a large dark area in the lower half. Having been away from paints for several weeks, I elected to just make up a subject, using the existing canvas as a start-point.

Acrylic paint usually obliterates what is already there quite well. I saw the dark area as a rock, then worked heavy mixes of thalo blue and cobalt turquoise over and above it. Plenty of white and touches of rose-pink here and there. The many weeks working cloud paintings in oils helped to create a tumbling wave and give it volume.

After completion I found that the canvas had (ironically) acquired its own wave, so it will probably need re-stretching a little.

Balcary Bay, Galloway: oil on gessobord

, 22:05

Today I was out on a chilly coastal path, attempting to pastel-sketch the rapidly changing clouds in front of me, across mudflats. Those sketches will I hope turn into paintings a little later on. This one today has been drying a little while and can now be scanned. It is a holiday scene that took my particular interest and I have already painted it twice before; once in pastel and again in oils....albeit from different viewpoints.

Balcary Bay, Galloway : oil on gessoboard, 7x5 inches

At DailyPaintWorks auction as from 15th January, for 7 days:

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/494275

I still have images of the previous versions:

Calm Light, Balcary : pastel on paper approx 13x8" This was quite a different time of day; more to late afternoon/evening.

also:

Balcary Bay : oil on canvasboard 7x5"

The pastel was done in 2009, the oil under it not till 2012. It is interesting to do the same subject several times, although oddly enough it is something I have rarely done till recent times. I still like the pastel and have retained it; but I suspect I'll be tackling the theme again at some stage.