Friday, 21 June 2013

Horses in the Shade on Back Lane

I've just realised the irony of this painting - the very venue of my exhibition next weekend towering into the skyline!


 Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches

I painted this one yesterday en plein air over a 3 hour period in my village, finishing it off in the studio today with the addition of the three horses, a little more detail on the church spire, a more interesting sky and generally tidying up all over.  That little bit of blue just below the gate is a band of one of my favourite wild flowers - Germander Speedwell, a tiny bright blue little gem which grows in my own wildflower meadow in my garden:

This is how far I got in the allotted time before the light changed too much to continue without changing everything - always a knotty problem in bright sunlight - you can easily end up chasing the sun and what you first started painting is no longer the same, so that is the time to stop.

Another problem in such warm, breezy weather, and it was warm yesterday - red neck when I got home - is that Alkyds (fast-drying oils that I use most of the time) dry rather too quickly on the palette and even on the painting itself. It does enable you to layer lighter colours over the top of darker underpaint, like in the trees, but I don't squeeze too much paint out at any one time to avoid the paint curing on the palette, which does slow down the speed of painting a bit.

The answer is to use standard oils for the latter stages of superimposition.  Alkyds and standard oils are intermixable, so any combination is okay, as long as you don't put Alkyds over the top of slower-drying oils, but that would only work if the oil paint underneath was dry anyway.

10 comments:

  1. Reminds me of the walk to school when I was a nipper. Would have been cows, though. Beautiful painting, as usual.

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  2. This is a pleasant change Peter instead of the usual red to draw the eye the blue leads the eye to the horses in the shade. May I ask does your paint dry on your palette in warm weather and if so how do you keep it workable. Ve

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    1. Thanks Ve - good question and I should add a bit to my commentary about that. Using Alkyds in such warm weather (and it was warm yesterday - I burnt my neck!) is challenging, because the paint dries almost too quickly. It's great when you want to layer lighter colours over the top of darker underpaint, like in the trees, but the paint on the palette DOES dry too quickly, so much so that it really did take ages to scrape the dried paint off after the 3 hour period! I don't put too much on the palette at any one time. You can add linseed oil, but I think when it's so warm, it's better to use standard oil for layering over drier underpaint, so that the paint stays workable. Hope that helps!

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    2. Thanks so much for your help. Just treated myself to a starter set to see how I get on, painting a nursery picture with them at the moment for the arrival of my great grandson, and as you know I spend a lot of time between home and looking after Mom so by the time I get back to it my paint has dried. Nevertheless will persevere and you may see the result one day on paint what you see. Hope you and Janey are keeping well. Ve

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    3. One thing I forgot to say Ve, was to scrape off your palette at the end of any painting session, otherwise the paint will set! If you're clever, you can put the paint back in the tubes, by putting it on the open top and gently squeezing the sides of the tube - if the top is covered the paint will be sucked back in! I look forward to seeing the results of your labours!

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  3. Wonderful painting Peter. I have that flower in my garden, the bees go crazy over it so its a good one to have around. Lasts all spring, summer and most of the fall here in southern Saskatchewan.

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    1. Thank you Darrell - good to know it's not just a little star here in England!

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  4. Good morning Peter.
    Lovely painting as usual. Thank you for the info`on Alkids, i use them also, and it certainly does go off very quickly on my palette, so a little out each time is in order. all the best Peter.
    Vic.

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    1. Thanks Vic. Yes, they can be a bit of a bind in that respect - I've got used to squeezing out smallish blobs, but it would save a lot of time if they stayed workable like standard oils!

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