Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Beginning a New Oil Painting

This house has not smelled like oil paints in a looooong time.  It's been two years this coming August since the construction of the studio began; that's when the decision was made not to risk wet oil paintings being knocked over or coated with dust.  That's when I started working with water colors, but now I have decided to do what I've been threatening to do for some time now.  Begin working in oil again.

 There are several views of the lake I have never painted, but one in particular is special and has been calling my name loudly enough that the correct size canvas was ready and waiting for me.  I had also had time to think about how I would go about painting that particular scene.  
My decision was to under paint with complementary colors using a brush instead of my usual palette knife.  First, I used a brush because I wanted the under layer to be mostly smooth so the top layer would glide over it.  Actually, it's the way I usually paint my skies anyway and then layer clouds with a palette knife.  

Why the complementary colors?  It's not something I have invented; I just decided to try it and see how it works for me.  Here's the reasoning.  If my palette knife doesn't cover every infinitesimal bit of the canvas and the under painting shows through, the complementary color will make that area sparkle.  Remember, we're talking about tiny spots here - so small that when I show you the finished piece, you probably won't be able to see those wee areas.

So, are you ready for this beginning of the latest lake painting?

Notice that I did use my palette knife after all.  Can you see where?  Also I clearly didn't have as much time as I would have liked to work on this today; I was able to work with only one color.  If you know your complementary colors, you know that orange is the complement of blue, and the different shades and tints of orange show where, in the finished work, you will see different shades and tints of blue. Therefore, you can also figure out that I have under painted the sky, distant mountains, lake, and pond areas.  

Weirdly satisfying.


  1. I will trust your judgment. Right now it looks like orange to me. Hum........

  2. I recognize the notch...so I know what lake you'll be painting!