I am currently taking part in a ten day challenge to publish posts on a theme for 10 consecutive days. I am giving more detail about my posts on the blog. My theme is The Colour of Landscape. In After an introduction of my background (Days 1-3) I have started showing the process of my journey back to my oil painting roots. (Even though I had never painted landscapes!)
One has to revisit basics in order to move forward, so I needed to go back to more naturalistic compositions and concepts.
I joined an very intensive oil painting diploma year at Norfolk Painting School, with the director Martin Kinnear. We started with traditional tonal underpainting, but then moved onto ‘colour beginnings’ quite quickly. This can be done in oils or acrylics and not only gives a tonal structure but also adds cool or warm undertones and a glimpse of colour and complexity. This is how JMW Turner worked – although he worked over watercolour beginnings (as I understand it). We also learnt how to use glazes to create translucence.
The aspects I most enjoyed was learning how to create surface interest in an area of ‘nothingness’ like a beach or a field. You can see the flicks of pure paint. Of course Turner also had ghostly figures as part of the historical scene or the narrative (more or less a requirement in 1840!).
The next painting was one that I began in the workshop and completed at home. It bears a passing resemblance to Turner’s painting.
This is the first pass in quite bright mauve and ochre. This was ‘knocked back’ using white paint, cold wax and chalk. A suggestion of tonal values was added.
You can see how the undertones gave a fresher appearance than a tonal burnt umber underpainting would have given. The beach was glazed to give it a luminous depth and the sea was painted in opaque colours. The translucent glazed sky has some impasto added with a palette knife. I really loved the glazing and it is still one of the techniques I use.
I often start with ‘Colour beginnings’ these days and follow this with a series of glazes. I like having a mix of glazes and impasto – with some turbid areas thrown into the mix!