Sunday, 9 October 2011

Swan Family

Oil on Linen Canvas, 195/8 x 275/8 inches

You're probably wondering what I've been doing since posting my Pastel last week.  Well, I've been getting things framed and spent a lot of time dipping in and out of this painting, finally completed tonight. 
Those of you who are familiar with my work know that I often paint Swans and I happened to be in the right place at the right time when this splendid family came upstream and settled in front of me, happily feeding.  I like to think they know and trust me now, as I'm a frequent visitor to their home and have observed them for several years. They have successfully raised seven kids this year, despite both Otters and Mink inhabiting the same stretch of river.  That's what you call great parenting because predators like that will readily snap up young bobbing Cygnets. 
Anyway, the family grouping  provided a gorgeous focal point for an otherwise very decent composition, so I felt it warranted a generous size on one of my Classico canvases from GreatArt. All the lush foliage and bankside vegetation was painted with my big 1" household brush and the water with my fabulous Mongoose Flats from Rosemary Brushes (click to read my recommendation for them at The Swans and Cygnets were damned fiddly on this scale and they were painted entirely with the same Mongoose Long Flats size 3.
Well, I can't spend any more time talking to you all, giving away my secrets - I've got to go and cook my dinner...................


  1. Everything here is just ever so lovely Peter. But how did you get those swans to hold still long enough for you to paint them? ;)

  2. Hi Kirk - I have a way with animals............

  3. Absolutely beautiful painting, peter, wish I could paint trees like that, I'm dead envious of your skills. I hope you won't think me too cheeky, but I need some painting advice. I'm working in acrylics on canvas panel, and I'm wondering whether I can use masking fluid to retain some white areas? Namely a gate and a footpath sign. The other idea I had was to paint over these areas and then paint them back in with white Gesso. Any advice you can give would be most welcome as I don't want to wreck my painting by using masking fluid if it's not made for canvas.

    Thanks in advance and I'm most grateful for your time.


  4. Dave, thanks for your kind comments - much appreciated.

    As regards using masking fluid, you could use it if you are using acrylic like watercolour, ie very thinly with washes, but then there would be no point in painting on a canvas panel. I'm assuming you paint in watercolour if you have used masking fluid before, but as you are using acrylic now, any light or white marks should be put in over the underpainting using the opaque light colour. Acrylic or oil are designed for this, especially acylic as it dries so fast that white can be painted on top of another colour without lifting the colour underneath.

    Hope that helps - any queries send me an email from my website and I'll be glad to help.

    Best wishes, Peter

  5. Peter, thanks for that. I used white mixed with the desired light colour and it worked like a charm. Acrylics are sooooooooooooo much better than watercolours, I can fix all my mistakes! Thanks ever so much for your help. What a gentleman.


  6. You're very welcome Dave and glad it worked. You know you can use acrylics exactly like watercolour on paper - the only difference is that the washes are permanent and you can't erase or lift any colour as with watercolour. It is a versatile medium, but I don't like the fact that it dries SO quickly - I use Griffin Alkyds, Winsor & Newton's fast-drying oils. Have fun experimenting!


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