Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Swans at Dawn

 Oil on Board 10 x 17 inches

This was a race against time to get this finished for possible inclusion into Iona House Gallery's E-brochure for their Winter Exhibition. I was going to take a few stage photographs along the way, but forgot having got absorbed in it, in between painting frames for the show. I did take one photo after the initial scrubbing in of the rough tones stage, thus:

I swept a neutral grey wash over the board to start with, as can be seen in the unpainted parts of the sky and water. This produces lovely rivulet patterns as the wash (very diluted paint with White Spirit) runs down the board. This entire painting was done with just three primary colours and white - my usual suspects of Cadmium Yellow Light as the yellow, Permanent Rose as the red, and Cobalt Blue as the blue, with Titanium White. This was done not with bravado to say how clever am I, but as an exercise just see if any more colours were needed. Without any greens in the painting, no other colours were required, and all the subtle shades of greys and browns, both light and dark, were mixed with varying proportions of the three colours and little or more white added to the mixes, as needed. I find it good discipline to mix the colours and tones with such a limited palette, and it simplifies things so, to have just four blobs of paint squeezed out.


  1. Another Beautiful Barker. Thank you for posting a photo of your initial stage; it is helpful to see how you begin. The mood is set, the structure developed. But in the final painting, is any of this underpainting left exposed, or is it all covered by subsequent layers?

    1. Thank you Mitch. In this and most of my paintings, I tend to cover just about all the underpainting with the subsequent layers.

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