Llyn Llech Owain oil painting progress collage

Time to Reassess Painting Surface Choices

I’ve spent the last few days pondering what to do next with oils. With over 10 years’ worth of photography behind me, I have a vast amount of reference material to draw on : hundreds of photos of skies and landscapes that didn’t make for remarkable photos at the time, but can now serve as reference for my paintings. The thing that excites me with painting is that compared to photography, I can interpret a scene as I want to, perhaps painting a completley different sky, adding or removing foreground detail, adding patches of light or creating haze. The possibilities are almost overwhelming.

Last night I set about painting a scene from a photo I took at Llyn Llech Owain — a lake surrounded by peat bog in Gorslas, Carmarthenshire. Immediatley, I realised I had bitten off more than I could chew — painting a cloud scene, and the mirroring it in the lake. It seemed like too big a step for an another early try with oils, but I perservered.

I went through the usual stages of painting: Initial intrigue turning to hating it, then thinking it was okay, then dislkiking it again. I’m starting to get used it it though. After about two and a half hours, I decided to call it a night an look at it with fresh eyes.

Today, on reflection, I’m not happy with it, but the biggest reason for that is the texture of the canvas. Many people like the canvas effect on their work, and I can understand why — it gives an ‘arty’ texture. But I don’t like that effect for my work. I don’t like the way the paint gathers in the pits between the weave, and the way edges look a little ‘fluffy’. It breaks up patches of colour and gives the painting an almost ‘lo-fi’ look.

Time to reasses the surface choices for my paintings.

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