Back in Blighty

Last Friday night my wife and I flew back home for a week. We didn’t make it here over the Christmas and New Year period so we are now catching up with family and friends.

The week leading up to my departure was a good one with regards to studio work. I didn’t have as much time as I would have like but to although I did work on three paintings.

With our coming exhibition looming I am particularly keen to make my paintings in keeping with the Landscape theme of our collaborative work while allowing my experimentation to extend. I am well aware that galleries and collectors sometimes like work to belong to a recognisable style but I don’t know if I can promise that while I’m working the way I am lately. I have to do this and that’s really all I can say about it.

The palette I’m using is my usual dependable colour selection for my cold wax work and the paint is leading me rather than the other way round, I find that very attractive although I keep it so that it retains the landscape feel. I’m letting go of the idea that a recognisable place should emerge in the work and that takes a little getting used to. Below is a cold wax painting on a small cradled panel which effects the cold winter colours of Southwest Norway. There’s a coastal feel to it with a sea green hint and some seaweed indicated with the beautiful colour caput mortuum. The thick impasto layers reveal the ultramarine and burnt sienna primary layer and highlights of gold oil paint peek through in subtle places throughout this work.

CWM 4 Norwegian Landscape – Oil and cold wax medium on cradled panel 41 x 30 cm.

In this second painting to feature in this post the winter feel is again translated through the caput mortuum colour, the underpainting mix of acrylic burnt sienna and ultramarine emerge as does the metallic gold range of highlights. This is such a pleasing effect and I have plans to develop this further with other techniques over the coming weeks.

This painting is on a slightly larger cradled panel with acrylic underpainting. I have now used up my last painting surface for this type of medium so will need to replace them very soon.

My palette remains consistent with my other works although the central passage is a very undisturbed and vibrant Jaune brilliant. It is a great fit with the violets, blues and greens of the sky and connects the eye with the foreground.

See CWM 4 – A Norwegian Landscape in The Sale Room.

View CWM 3 – A Norwegian Landscape in The Sale Room.

CWM 3 Norwegian Landscape – Oil and cold wax medium on cradled panel 40 x 51 cm.

My previous experimental work with thinned oil paint on a plain white surface left me hungry to continue and expand. Priekestolen or Pulpit Rock in Lysefjord has a very strong appeal for me, I’ve made Lino prints of it last year and they were very popular because there is something majestic about this particular part of Lysefjord and I see it as the crown jewel of the region.

In this painting I worked on another linen surface (from a supplier down in Denmark) and it is a size large enough for me to say something on – 80 x 100 cm. The canvas is fixed vertically on the easel and the thinned paint takes command as it collides with gravity and runs down the canvas. It’s so interesting to see oil paint behave this way, it doesn’t quite work like watercolour although the granulation where pigment fits into the dips in the weave is still there. Occasionally I tilt the whole easel, sometimes laying it flat or sideways to move paint in specific ways. I borrowed a hairdryer and moved paint around that way too, the effect has an air of unpredictability and the paint has to be trusted.

Ultimately a lot depends on my palette and here I have adapted my colours, I’m using transparent paint, indigo, alizarin crimson, ultramarine, raw sienna, viridian and neutral tint. At some point I will allow more opacity into this kind of work with lots of medium.

Additional layers are added to the painting after it has rested and dried overnight, this avoids mud and gives me a chance to clear my mind. I feel I’m on to something, I am definitely painting for myself with all of these works and there is no way I can avoid the route I’m taking. I have a few more big linen canvasses tucked away and have ideas for all of them.

Priekestolen: Lysefjord 6. Oil on linen 80 x 100 cm.

View Priekestolen: Lysefjord 6 in The Sale Room.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. shinerweb

    Would love to see a video/time lapse of the process of you creating this. Keep up with the great work shippers!

    1. John

      Hi Chris, great to hear from you on here. Yes! That is a great idea, I’ve experimented but can’t put video on my site? Perhaps a youtube link might work best?

      1. shinerweb

        Aye. In your YouTube account, you can create a private library. You can then click on each video and click the share option. Then select ’embed’. That’ll give you some weird iframe code. You just paste that into a ‘block’ where you want it to appear.
        Depending on the theme you’re using, it’ll either have a Code block or a Text block. On a text block, click the option that shows you the HTML code, and paste it there.

        That’ll let you embed the videos onto your site without making the videos public on your YouTube channel. Keeps the visitors on your site, rather than them finding the video on YouTube and then spending the next few hours watching cat videos on YouTube.

        Vimeo is another option. Their free Basic account lets you customise the look and feel of the video too.

        1. John

          Thanks for the info, it sounds complicated but I’ll have to try. My main concern was the actual filming and subsequent editing of the movie. Again, I see myself on a learning curve! Thanks again for these details Chris.

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