Friday, 6 May 2011

Cob and Pen

Oil on Canvas, 22 x 22 inches

You're thinking "he's lost it, he's giving his swans funny names now"....well, to the unitiated among you (sounding smug now) male and female Swans are called the Cob and the Pen, respectively. Nice looking Pen.

I usually paint animals and birds in Pastel, but on this occasion, I decided to do it in Oils, and I'm pleased with the result.  The greater bulk of the painting was done with 3 colours, my primaries, Cadmium Yellow Light, Permanent Rose and Cobalt Blue, plus white of course.  I always say in my demos that you can make any colour you want from just those 3, and I fail to see the point of buying four or five shades of each and every colour.  It just complicates the issue and only frightens those who are dipping their toe into the water of Oils. (bad analogy, oil doesn't mix with water, but you know what I mean)  The only additional colours used were Burnt Sienna, French Ultramarine and Raw Umber, but only tiny quantities of each.

The main brushes I used for this one were Rosemary and Co.'s ( fantastic Long Flat Mongooses, which are just wonderful to use - great for the ripply water - they take a lot of pounding and keep their beautiful sharp, chiselled edge.  I can't praise these brushes enough - nothing else compares to them.  They're soft, but springy at the same time and you can put slabs of paint on sideways, turn them at right angles and get those gorgeous fine lines, or add tiny impasto blobs of highlights with the corners, all with a big No 6 brush.  

I bought some Langnickels from America a few years ago at great expense and the hairs fell out of 4 of them, then I discoverd Rosemary's Mongooses right here and they are miles better in quality - I've used them a lot and not one hair has come out and they just keep coming back for more and retain their shape beautifully.  But all you amateurs - you must look after your brushes - rinse them well in white spirit, dry them with a rag, THEN wash them with warm water on a bar of soap and rinse under the tap. 

Blimey, it's 1.40am - I can't stay up all night talking to you lot, giving away all my secrets !  I'm orf to bed.


  1. Hi Peter
    we thoroughly enjoy your paintings, though very realistic they convey a great feeling of warmth and sensitivity to the view.
    Thanks for the technical info too.

  2. Hello, Peter,
    A wonderful painting! Having spent some time this Spring watching & photographing a pair of Mute Swans at my local nature reserve, I can appreciate your attention to detail.
    Best Wishes,


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