‘En plein air’ study from my back door and a week of experimentation.

Looking perturbed, complete with broken spectacles and wooly hat. Lysefjord 5 in progress in the background.

As January marches on I wasn’t wholly convinced I could hit the ground running as I’d planned but, you know… I rather think I did!

Early in the week I was unable to make it to the studio but the view of the muted colours on a cloudy day from my back door was too tempting to miss. So, I armed myself with a cup of tea and my lovely french easel and painted. I worked hard to avoid oversaturated colour because that might betray the mood of the day. I worked on Clairefontaine oil painting paper, lovely stuff to paint on. It has a fine linen texture and if place on a board it resists the brush beautifully because there is no spring unlike stretched canvas. The finished result is simple, moody and in my opinion a nice composition.

See Stokka From My Back Door in The Sale Room.

A cloudy January day near Stokka, Stavanger, south west Norway. Too moody not to paint.

Back in the studio now, with certain challenges in mind I set to work. So, I’ve often seen paintings I’d admired but never really understood the process. I’d thought they were heavy impasto oil paintings and perhaps some weren’t however, my research led me in the direction of Cold Wax Painting Medium. Totally different to my usual work, different surface, different palette and hardly a brush in sight. I used a cradled panel although its acceptable to use taped down paper, or gesso panels.

CWM 1 – A Norwegian Landscape Oil and Cold Wax Medium on cradled panel.

View CWM 1 – a Norwegian Landscape in The Sale Room.

CWM 2 – A Norwegian Landscape Oil Paint & Cold Wax Medium on cradled panel.

View CWM 2 – A Norwegian Landscape in The Sale Room.

All I can say about the experience was it was hypnotic! I went to a really nice place in my mind. I was watching the painting paint itself as if in an outer body experience! I’m not used to that at all but it enlightened me into loosening up, trusting the paint and a trust in myself to mix colours that worked while knowing the process is rectifiable if not reversible if it goes wrong!

I’m not sure what my none arty friends will think because it is so far removed from what they have seen before. My colleagues at The Space in Stavanger seemed to approve. Either way it’s not all about the reaction on instagram, twitter facebook is it? I am planning to do more of these and already have dark and gold primed boards ready to go today or next week!

The other exploration I wanted to get into turned out to be very unpredictable, a bit of a roller coaster in fact. I used really thinned down paint, let it run and mix like watercolour and my poor easel didn’t know if it was coming or going. One minute its vertical with paint running down it, then its on its side with paint running horizontally and sometimes flat so the paint stopped moving.

The scene is from a Lysefjord reference and is titled Lysefjord 5. Again, not sure what peoples thoughts will be but the Space guys approved. I will return to this technique too.

View Lysefjord 5 in The Sale Room.

The reason for this experimentation is our exhibition in The Space Stavanger. There are three of us exhibiting and I plan a large and diverse style of painting. The theme is simple – Landscape and that fits me perfectly! I’m just going for it. So far there are watercolours, oils and cold wax medium paintings. There will be at least two linoprint editions to mark this as well… fingers crossed of course.

Lysefjord 5. Oil on Linen 80 x 100 cm.

Thanks for reading this, I would love to hear some comments and I’m not delicate about what you feel, so say what you think, it’s fine. I shall update this page with next weeks work of which I’m very excited to get going on. The following week I shall be in England, hopefully I can do some work there too.

Leave a Reply