Monday, 25 May 2009

Mood and colour: Painting the changing colours of different times of day

Sennen Cove, Dawn, oil in Canson sketchbook, approx 9ins, Vivien Blackburn

There were some really lovely dawns when we were in Cornwall, the sky was often amber as the sun rose behind the cliffs, with lowering clouds above. Colours are soft and muted.

Sunset, Pentire, oil sketch, approx 9 ins, Vivien Blackburn

And a rather loud sunset seen driving home one evening.

I just love changing light and the moods created by it through different weather and seasons.

You can see some of the other sketches here

I find I really do strongly prefer sketching plein air in oils. The only trouble is it isn't so convenient when you are with non-painters as I was and they can be heavy-ish.

With oils I can work so much faster, catching changing light and altering things in an instant, working dark over light, scratching through wet paint to reveal colours beneath, wiping off ..... the possibilities are endless - and FAST.

I can't manage to limit my palette - I just can't! I want a variety of blues and yellows and reds and earth colours and ...... but I have honed it down to a box file, which holds paints, brushes, knives, baby oil, rags and medium. It's an ideal shape to scrabble through when looking for a tube or brush. Then there is just the canvas or paper to paint on and a palette and of course as sketchbook. I sometimes use disposable palettes and sometimes simply a page in a sketchbook! It can always be painted over later :>D

I very rarely draw in pencil or charcoal before painting in oils plein air but just go in with patches of colour that gradually knit together to make the whole. I keep meaning to do a WIP but have zoomed along with work before I remember - and by then I've usually got paint on my hands and don't want to touch my camera!


Katherine Tyrrell said...

I really like your quick studies.

A box file! I'd never thought of that but you're right it makes a great way to carry stuff for painting.

Are these real oils or those Griffin paints?

Laureline said...

It's wonderful seeing these two studies together---they are such polar opposites in terms of mood. I've just been to your sketchbook page and LOVE diving into all the images posted there. Your work just excites and energizes me---it's so wide-ranging in style, technically proficient, lively, painterly when it should be painterly, linear when it should be linear, always colorful in a perfect way. I would love to go painting with you sometime. (As I've said before, often.)

vivien said...

Thank you both :>)

I would certaily LOVE to sketch with you Laura as I love your work! We need a big get together for everyone (in Cornwall!!!)

Yes Griffin Alkyds - which are 'proper' oils - it's just that they contain drying agents to speed the drying.

You can buy drying mediums to make other paints dry faster but there is a danger then that you'll use too much and leave them with insufficient oil, a bit powdery and under-bound. We did sometimes use cheap dryers (medium) from a woodwork shop at uni when assessments loomed!

Lindsay said...

These are so fresh and so lively. I like your idea of a file box too. And the sketchbook keeps things simple. I agree too about your sketchbook pages. It's always a treat to see your sketches.

Anonymous said...

Lovely studies vivien. I'm by default a sunset person and your sunset once again confirms it. It is expressive and loud, as you call it and I love the boldness of the colours.
Everything around me is touched with paint. When we got in the car to come home from the mountains, I saw my husband trying to get white marks off the staring wheel..."don't you have a palette?" he said(smilingly)...

vivien said...

oh isn't your husband lovely :>D

mine moans a lot if paint gets on anything - the worst was when I trod on a tube without realising and walked it across the landing carpet - he was not a happy bunny! (it came off ok)