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Why do My Clouds Look like Cotton Wool? Plus 25 Solutions to Other Landscape Painting Peeves: Tips and Techniques on Oil Painting Landscapes for Beginners

Why do My Clouds Look like Cotton Wool? Plus 25 Solutions to Other Landscape Painting Peeves: Tips and Techniques on Oil Painting Landscapes for Beginners

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Why do My Clouds Look like Cotton Wool? Plus 25 Solutions to Other Landscape Painting Peeves: Tips and Techniques on Oil Painting Landscapes for Beginners

4/5 (1 peringkat)
190 pages
1 hour
Sep 10, 2011


Learning to paint in oils is an enjoyable and creative process, but from time to time the fledgling artist may hit a creative brick wall, often with a particular issue. This might be with the plague of muddy colours, garish flower heads, trees that resemble lollypops, skies that look bland, darkening the colour of snow or shadows that look like black splodges. Such matters, if persistent may cause the artist concerned to throw in the brushes, but this need not be the end.

With no-nonsense and straightforward advice, this book breaks down common issues with landscape painting into 26 chapters, outlining the problem, suggested solutions in the form of painting exercises and resources.

Preliminary chapters on matters of oil painting in general ensure the artist has all the essential equipment needed to begin oil painting. Practical matters such as demystifying oil painting process, the essential oil pigments and definitions of terms and techniques associated with oil painting serves to make the whole process more approachable. Alla prima, glazing, impasto and scumbling are all explained as well as the colour theory.

A step by step demonstration on how to paint Castlerigg Stone Circle in Cumbria is provided at the back of the book.

Briefly I have taught oil painting and life drawing at my local college. I obtained my Bachelor of Arts degree from Kingston University in Surrey and my PCET Teaching qualification from Warwick University. I have written and illustrated children’s books and a teaching guide for art.

Sep 10, 2011

Tentang penulis

I have practiced oil painting from the age of six and have since been involved in countless projects and commissions. A graduate from Kingston University, Surrey and with a PCET teaching qualification from Warwick University, I have won competitions, taught life drawing and have written several books and many articles on oil painting and teaching art.

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Why do My Clouds Look like Cotton Wool? Plus 25 Solutions to Other Landscape Painting Peeves - Rachel Shirley


Introduction to Why do My Clouds Look Like Cotton Wool?

Indeed why do clouds sometimes look like cotton wool in landscape paintings? And why do mountains sometimes end up resembling pointed cones topped with cream?

Such frustrations and many others are occasionally encountered by professional landscape artists and novices alike, whether it is to capture a bright sunset or the greens of foliage. It is all part of learning to paint.

If the issue persists, however, the problem is likely to become a creative block. This is where this book comes in.

With no-nonsense and at times blunt advice, each issue is tackled in-depth: a diagnostic of the problem, suggested solutions in the form of recommended art materials and remedial painting exercises, as well as an oil painting demonstration.

In total, twenty-six common peeves associated with landscape painting are tackled within this book, including why shadows look like black splodges, trees like lollypops and why flowers look garish. In five clear sections, a myriad of other matters relating to landscape painting are explained, such as the colour theory, the rules of perspectives and introductory chapters on the essentials of oil painting, in total, with over 100 full colour illustrations and several diagrams.

Some of the paintings within this book have been featured in my Landscape Painting in Oils, Twenty Step by Step Guides for clear instructions on how they were completed. If the problem sought after is not in this book, it might be in one of my other Oil Painting Medic books within this series due to come out in the foreseeable future. A list can be found at the back of this book.

Solutions for Starting Out in Landscape Painting

Chapter 1. I Haven’t the Room or Funds to Pursue Oil Painting

The prospecting artist does not need lots of oil painting materials or a huge budget to enjoy landscape painting. In fact, great artwork can be produced with minimal funds and oil painting equipment. But what essential art materials should the beginner buy?

Types of Oil Paint

Briefly, traditional oil paint is graded into two types: artist quality and student quality. Artist quality oils possess organic pigments which makes them more costly to produce and to buy. Student oils are cheaper because they are made with synthetic pigments, which have almost the same exacting qualities as its more expensive counterpart. Personally, I have found student quality oils perfectly suited for my requirements and have used them extensively in my oil paintings. Having said this, I always stick to an established and recommended brand such as Winsor & Newton, Daler Rowney or Grumbacher.

Oil Painting Colours

Some artists use numerous oil painting pigments, which is fine, but the beginner can mix any essential colour with just three primary colours and white. Additional colours will come in handy if the artist does not wish to keep mixing colours to obtain a particular hue. Earth colours for example are useful for adding atmosphere, tempering bright colours and for painting in monochrome.

Primary Colours

Primary colours are an essential ingredient to any artist palette, but the true primaries are not any red, yellow and blue, as one might think, but the colours found in scattered light. In terms of printing ink, these are magenta, cyan and yellow.

In reality, a true primary colour cannot exist in pigment terms, as impurities can always be found, even if it is one part per billion. This can never match the purity of scattered light. However, a close approximation can be achieved.

I have found permanent rose, pthalo blue and cadmium yellow (pale) to be close to the mark, and include them within my oil painting palette. More about colour theory can be found in chapter 11.

Essential Oil Painting Pigments

Collectively, the following pigments will produce just about any hue needed for landscape painting:

1. A large tube of titanium white (120ml or so), and 37ml tubes of the following colours:

2. Permanent rose

3. Cadmium red

4. Pthalo blue

5. Ultramarine

6. Cadmium yellow (pale)

7. Lemon yellow

8. Burnt sienna

9. Burnt umber

10. Viridian green: A much-maligned colour for its garishness, but has a strong tinting strength; when mixed with other colours, produces beautiful greens.

Art Brushes for Oils

Oil painting brushes are essentially divided into two types: stiff brushes, most often hog or ox hair for impasto (the application of thick paint) or for covering large areas. And soft brushes, usually sables for blending and detail.

Good quality sable brushes are essential for applying detail and soft blending, such as rendering flower heads or mists over water. Cheap sables that have no springiness to the hairs are not suited to the heavy properties of oil paint and will splay easily.

Brush Shapes

Kolinsky sables are robust and are excellent for controlling the paint. Brushes such as Sceptre Gold offer a cheaper alternative, as the sable hair is blended with synthetic substitutes.

Lots of brushes are not necessary. I use just two or three different shapes and sizes. Rounds are brushes that taper to a point. Sizes 1, 3 and 6 will suit most purposes for detailed work. Flats (or brights) have a blunt end for wider brush marks.

Filberts are similar to flats, but have rounded edges. Sizes 10 to 16 of either type will serve essential blending purposes. Some artists include a diversity of brush shapes for different mark-making, such as riggers (long thin brushes) for linear strokes such as branches, or fan brushes, for soft blending. Experimenting with different brushes will develop personal preference.

The image shows the utensils used in oil painting. From the left: large, medium and small bristle, large medium and small round sable and small and medium palette knives.

Brushes for Impasto

Stiff brushes are traditionally made from ox hair and are used for robust artwork such as the application of large amounts of paint for cornfields or impasto for skies. High quality bristle brushes are not so crucial. The artist can save money by purchasing stiff brushes from DIY stores, but cheap ones that moult onto the painting must be avoided. Flats or filberts sizes 6, 9 and 12 are ideal for expressive oil painting.

Long-handled brushes are intended for artists who like to stand back during the painting process, but are difficult to store if space is an issue. Short-handled brushes can be tucked away easily and are cheaper.

Surfaces for Oil Painting

Wood, canvas, card and even paper make suitable surfaces for oil painting so long as they have been sealed with a gesso or similar size (usually glue). A simple option is acrylic polymer primer, a water-based gesso that can be obtained from art stores and hobby shops.

Priming your own art surfaces saves money on purchasing prepared surfaces. A two-coat application via a household brush is all that is required. Because the primer is water-based, is odour free and brushes can be washed in warm soapy water afterwards.

Reasonably-priced stretched, primed canvas, art boards or textured paper can also be obtained with shrewd shopping from certain stationers and supermarkets. Sizes are usually in Imperial. The beginner may try

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