Friday, 3 October 2014

Family Dabbling

Oil on Canvas, 18 x 26 inches

I've painted this spot on my local river, the Welland, many times, in all weathers and all seasons, and all times of day, and I never get sick of it. This is the epitome of Summer, with a family of Swans, yes, Swans again, dabbling their way upstream.

Most of the painting was painted with my 1" decorator's brush after the initial blocking in with thin washes and the dark tones scrubbed in with a very worn Acrylix brush. After painting in the backdrop of trees and all the rich vegetation, with the reeds stroked in with a Rosemary No5 series 279 Long Flat with an extra long handle, held at the very end of the handle, I painted in the Swans and all the water reflections. Again, with the water, I used the same Rosemary brush to blend the colours after blocking the tones in with another worn Rosemary No5 Ivory Long Flat Brush. 

Holding the brush right at the end of the long handle, I find I have much more control over the brushstrokes, contrary to what you might think. The worst thing to do, is to hold the brush on the metal ferrule - this doesn't allow the brush to be used from the shoulder, but only encourages short strokes from the wrist - not the way to allow freedom and to actually see what you are painting. Standing back and painting from the shoulder is much more productive. with big paintings like this, I stand to paint all the time, which allows me to constantly step back and get an overall view of what I'm painting. With sitting down on a comfortable chair, it's all too easy to get too close to the canvas and not assess whether your drawing and colour shifts and tones etc., are correct.

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