Monday, December 1, 2014

Orange Sky Study

oil on card 30x18cm

Another sky study from a photograph I took last month - I saw this sky developing from the window and nipped out to record it. I’m not really a sunset person – they can be spectacular, but I think they’re a bit obvious. Anyway, that’s the exercise done, and because I was dealing with colour problems different from those I usually face, I would say that it was worth the effort.

Laying a thin, warm, light layer over a darker base was an everyday problem when I was in furniture restoration - colouring patches and disguising glue lines. If I was using a coloured glue – a translucent glue to which I added my own pigments – there was less of a problem than when using the naturally-dark traditional bead glue. This was very useful stuff indeed, but couldn’t be coloured, and no matter how well a patch fitted, there would always be a dark line in the surface. If I simply painted that over to match the surrounding wood, it would just go cool and grey. I had to overpaint the dark line in Cadmium Orange (usually in Gum Arabic). This dried to a cooler colour, but warm enough to be a base for all the tricksy grain and figuring work that would camouflage the mend. Which was what I got paid for. 

No Gum Arabic in this though, or Flake White. I’ve had a shock concerning the (most) recent prohibition of Lead White, so I’ve decided to learn how to do without. This piece has only Zinc White, which has it’s own glow, but I’ll have to get to grips with the Titanium/Zinc permutations which are the only whites you can get in the shops now. (If anyone knows of a Lead White speakeasy, let me know…)

Anyway, this little painting was done over three sessions, total time 9hrs 35min – not great, but about right I suppose. It’s an adapted view from the canal bridge at Viewforth, just down the road. The trees suggested on the right are imported from Blackford Hill; what’s actually there is a new student accommodation block – higher and more rectangular than the building that it replaced, but the influx of students and their cash will no doubt be beneficial to the neighbourhood. I wonder how many of them will see my three paintings selected for this year’s Society of Scottish Artists Open exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy building at the Mound/Princes Street, and whether they know it’s on from 5th till 20th December, and is free. Probably not many.

By the way, I knew we were a bit low on milk when I went out, so I got another litre - and some biscuits - from the corner shop on my way back. (So efficient)…

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