Sunday, 26 April 2009

Shadow and light.

An oil
painting of a shady corner of the Loire on a sunny day.

I love oil work, but have always found it such an effort to do plein air with; the carrying around of the oils and the wet painting afterwards, the cloths(of which I use a lot), the containers, and the cleaning stuff for the brushes, the isn't a medium I can just hop onto my bicycle with. But in the end it is actually worth it. With only one stroke you can catch the fleeting light and it stays, whereas with watercolour I'm always panicking that I don't have enough pigment to really catch the contrast in colour quick enough. And the oils give me an immense satisfaction - seeing a stroke that just works with the first lay down...or maybe I just feel more confident with oil. I'm inspired again by painters like Michel Jouenne and Stéphane Ruais (peintres officiels de la Marine en 1991)

We are going to Coin Perdu in Correze for the next three weeks. It is a sort of solitude break I'm taking. I am packing ALL my oil stuff and my goal is to do as much plein air as the days allow. There are nooks and corners and pathways by the streams, in the forest, the fields and hills. There are fountains and springs, wild flowers and animals galore, so no reason not to come back with a gallery full of paintings. I'm also going to try my hand at gouache, a medium I still feel very stupid with. Pens and inks and of course the old trusted graphite to oil the drawing skills.

If the electricity and internet are kind to us, I may be able to post some work from there, but if not: see you in three weeks with hopefully a lot to show and tell.

...ombre et lumiére...

oil on linen, 36x36cm


Katherine Tyrrell said...

Have a lovely time Ronell - I'm sure you'll feel all the benefits oif being able to work on a regular basis.

annie said...

I love the reflections in the shadows under the trees, Ronell, and Those bits of sparkle hitting the trees and rocks. Three weeks...what a wonderful time you will have in Coin Perdu.

vivien said...


Have you tried Griffin Alkyds - quick drying oil paints - I love them for plein air work and they dry overnight (if not earlier)

Certainly easier for packing up to come home!

Have a great break and it'll be lovely to see the work when you return :>)

Lindsay said...

Ronell, I wish you bon voyage and happy art making! I'm sinding your lots of "restorative" thoughts.

Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said...

Thank you!
vivien, I've only read about alkyds, have never come across someone who used them, so it is nice to hear personal comment from you on them. They seem wonderful to work with, especially the fact that all the colours have the same drying time, oppsed to oils where the white typically takes ages! So why don't I hear and read of more artists using them, or do they in fact use them and just call them "oil"? I also understand you can combine it with oil painting as long as you don't paint over slower drying pigments?

vivien said...

exactly Ronell - I call anything done with them simply 'oils'.

They are oils but just with driers ready mixed in.

And yes the same drying times (very nearly) are so useful rather than some colours taking days longer.

I know a lot of people who use them and are happy with them so hope you would be!

you can mix a little of other oils with them, especially if you add a drying medium to compensate - not too much or it will mess up the drying. I occasionally add tiny touches of some luscious colours in artists oils.

Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said...

Thanks for the great tip Vivien, I'm really going to try the alkyds out, it will sure make plein air much easier.

Charlene Brown said...

Looking forward to seeing the results of your plein air oil painting, and hearing about how you managed the logistics. At least you won't have to worry about the 'Watermarks' that plein watercolourists have to deal with if it happens to start raining...

José said...


Good work on those values and convincing perspective.
It seems to be alla prima. Is it ?

Kind regards,


Jeanette said...

This is beautiful Ronell. The reflections and shadows are wonderful.

Enjoy and relax during your time away.

Also acrylics are an option as well for plein air and less messy to cart around.

Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said...

Thanks..yip Charlene, rain and watercolour - catastrophical fun!
And Jose, it is done alla prima, although I have to CONFESS that I did fiddle afterwards and I can hang myself for doing so! I normally hang a finished painting on the wall to dry, and this one I put on the easel in my atelier, resulting in me "remembering something differently" than when when I painted it and so I saw something to be fixed everytime I pass by the easel!The result is that I lost those first expressive strokes, especially on the water in the painting.
You're right Jeanette, acrylics are absolutely made for plein air..another medium I have to get comfortable with.

Robyn said...

Beautiful painting, Ronell. I always look forward to your oils so do bring some back from your break. And enjoy!

muddy red shoes said...

I use alkyds, love them, give them a go.
I love the watery green shadow on the water, look forward to seeing more.