Setting up a still life properly can make the difference between your painting working out or being a disaster. You know the feeling when you’re half way through a painting and it isn’t working out? Maybe it’s not the values, drawing or the colour – very likely it’s just that the set up was put
This is a recording of a quick live stream I did showing the tube paints I use to mix greens for leaves in oils. Some of the choices may surprise you! But I think that if you try them, you’ll fiund you’ll be able to mix a very wide range of greens with very precise
Every morning, before anyone else in the house is awake, I sit in the kitchen and write in my journal.
It’s a quiet space I set aside for thinking, planning my day, encouraging myself, occasionally berating myself.
Sometimes, just to write with no plan for what might come out.
One day near the start of this year, I wrote a sentence that frightened me a little:
“This year I will become an excellent flower painter.”
I’m often struck by how limited oil paint is.
For a start, it simply can’t replicate the rage of values from light to dark that we see in nature.
Because we paint on flat surfaces, we can’t accurately replicate the light side of a light object and the shadow side of a dark object at the same time.
And that’s not even getting started on colour.
I was in a real quandry.
I had a beautiful spray of roses that I’d just snipped from the bush in the garden (Paddy’s roses again) but beautiful as they were, they were already beginning to fade.
The pause before beginning a painting is always fraught for me.
Will there be time to paint the flowers before they die?
Is the subject too complicated for me to manage?
What if I really mess this one up by trying to reach too far?
And, I did promise myself a value study today.
When I first started painting – or at least, when I decided that I was going to try to learn properly – I spent the least time I could on the palette.
I wanted to be on the painting as much as possible. I thought that’s where the action was, where a painting succeeded or failed.
But I was wrong. In fact, the opposite is true.
The more I paint, the more I realise the importance of chroma.
I know that, for many people, chroma isn’t really something they consider much as they paint.
Until I dscovered Munsell, I didn’t think about it much either.
But lately, I’ve been giving as much attention to chroma as I have to value. And the more I do that, it seems to me, the better my paintings become.
This painting was the last one I managed to fit in before daffodil season finished here in the Cotswolds. Just when I was warming up to them.
They were fast becoming a favourite subject, but the countryside around here will yield more subjects as the year progresses. The roses will be here soon!
Who paints dandelions?
I’d never really considered them as a subject for a painting before. In fact, I don’t think I’d ever really looked very closely at them before.
But one of the wonderful things about painting something is the time you have to spend with it.
Yes, more daffodils!
This piece was painted live over two sessions. I’ve added recordings of the streams below.
Of course, being on lock-down at the moment means kids at home, and my littlest, who’s six, finds the studio especialy fascinating! He features quite a lot on the first stream.