Late Afternoon: oil 14×11″

My first efforts on Arches oil-paper a year or so back were fairly successful, with a couple of pieces being sold. Those were actually done from a pad of 12×9-inch sheets, so when I recently purchased a couple of full-size loose sheets I wasn’t expecting any problems.

This week’s painting gave me plenty. I am quite convinced that I have been working on the wrong side; the absorption of paint is considerable—far more than I have experienced before—the paper surface has fought against both brush and palette-knife every step of the way. The final painting is very matt and thicker paint looks dried-up. (Due to its size and the use of a flatbed scanner I have had to crop the right and bottom edges).

The initial scene looked good with a late afternoon cloud drifting by above a fairly local rural spot. The pastel from early January was a brief sketch of part of this cloud….and I wish now I’d extended it into a full-size pastel, rather than this oil-painting. But we are, as they say, where we are. I actually left it for a week to dry further, before tackling it again early last week, but nothing had really changed.

I considered there to be little point in battling on with it, wasting paint, so have stopped at this stage. A lot of it is actually fine, it captures the general shape and mass of the cloud as I wanted it; the landscape however has had quite a bit of colour sucked out of it and has a matted look. Colours used were cadmium orange, cadmium yellow; permanent alizarin, ultramarine, titanium white, and some thalo blue for the clear sky.

I’ll be checking this oil-paper out again….and aiming to work on the other side. In a pad, the correct side is always facing you. With a loose sheet you have to work it out. It is claimed that both sides of the paper are usable but I would dispute that…certainly for how I paint, anyway.

So, what will I do with this painting? Keep it for the time being, it is useful for perhaps another attempt at a later stage, or even a pastel.

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