Before and after painting for the next few days it's Gesso time again...

Above are just four of the hardboard boards that have had their second coat of white Gesso...

If you want a smooth surface, sand inbetween each coat.

For slight uneven texture, use straight from the pot and retain some of the brush marks.Vary brush pattern for each layer.

For a fine canvas like texture, brush horizantal for one coat then vertical for the next, repeat horizontal then vertical until all layers have been applied.

For more texture, add some texture paste to second or third layer but beware that the texture itself doesn't compeat with the brush work of the finished painting.

Each board will have five coats applied to them with a large household paint brush but it's better to use one with long hair as even just doing a few should any Gesso get into or around the ferrule it will dries quickly and cannot be removed. Therefore it's best to keep the gesso away from the ferrule and wash the brush as soon as you have finished. Allow each coat to dry before adding the next...

Pot of Winsor & Newton Artists' Acrylic White Gesso being used...

Next oil painting finished... this time one of Great Langdale in the heart of the Lake District

Detail from "Warm Early Spring Day in Great Langdale" Great Langdale, Cumbria.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021324

While producing the above oil painting, which was a wonderful warm spring day, outside the studio it's freezing cold and light snow falling...

This is the finished painting which was shown at the draw up stage a few post ago. The small stream provides some nice lines leading into the painting, with as mentioned before, the Crinkle Crags as the backdrop with Pike of Blisco behind the large tree. The slope, known as 'The Band', that rises from the central darker group of trees and heads towards the top right hand corner is one of the main walking routes up to Bowfell and starts from Stool End Farm in the valley floor... that is unless you want to do the full round which starts up with almost walking up rear side of Pike of Blisco and then along the top of Crinkle Crags before heading up to Bowfell...

Onto the next one...

A little bit of airbrushing in between all the other painting...

A small amount of time, over the last few days, has been spent on a change of paint type and application method... a bit of proper airbrush work - not a computer in sight, at least this time. Rather than oil or watercolour paint, and for this job, it really is the realm of Designers Gouache, in this case, from Winsor & Newton. 

The airbrush I use, and have done since college, is the DeVilbiss Aerograph Super 63 and really is a superb instrument. And no you don't need three of them unless working as a professional illustrator or something where they are being used all day every day which these were at one time.

The only thing missing really was a piece of line board used for most technical ittustration... maybe next time.

Street reference...

 The flower seller... nice light and shadows at this time.

 Red lights...

 Glass reflections... a challenging subject but some really work very well.

 Indoor colour...

What was ment to be a 'quick' diversion into Nottingham, the reason was to purchase some very urgent supplies of Winsor & Newton Oil Paint and Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache (bit of traditional airbrush work to do) - Daler Rowney also make a range but not stocked at the place I visited.

A very interesting light, bright but hazy with some foggy patches produced some really good urban subjects, something I really enjoy painting. Standing and sketching in these places is fine so long at you are not in the way of people and really most take little or no interest.

"Snow Show" private view tonight - exhibition continues until 9th March...

The Private View of the "Snow Show" is tonight at Lincoln Joyce Fine Art, in Great Bookham, Surrey. This exhibition is of, as per the title, snow related subjects from the galleries artists both past and present.

The exhibition continues until the 9th March 2013

For more information contact the gallery

Lincoln Joyce Fine Art
40 Church Road, Great Bookham, Surrey. KT23 3PW Telephone: 01372 458481

Latest Lake District paintings now at the gallery and on line to view

To view the latest Cumbrian (Lake District) oil paintings delivered while up in Cumbria a few days ago please visit this page showing my work on the Beckstones Art gallery web site (opens in new page).

For more information about the Becstones Art Gallery visit the home page.

An all to brief visit yesterday to Langstrath in Cumbria

Yesterday involved a quick trip up to Cumbria, otherwise known as the Lake District, thanks to the Lake District National Park which covers most of Cumbria.

Having driven through Keswick and then along Borrowdale passing Derwent Water in thick cloud cover, i.e not being able to see the fell tops, hopes of any sunshine looked slim... thankfully things changes and fast.

Having parked just outside the village of Stonethwaite I walked up Stonethwaite to where Green Up Gill and Langstrath Beck meet and then heading into Langstrath. With all the rain and snow melt there was a lot of water around which made all the waterfalls and gullies that more interesting.

Some of the early small rapids, now in full sun

A little bit further up with the final bits of cloud to clear. The objective this time was just below the far distant mountain...

More of the rapids, these just below Blackmoss Pot, on the way up... most of the ground to the right was more deep bog - not easy to get through but then you could keep to the footpath and miss all of this. Just in shot (on the right) is one of the large boulders that scatter the valley, this one is small compared to others...

Further up, Langstrath Beck opens up... the patches of snow get bigger and deeper. Almost clear sky. Still not seen anyone and no signs that anyone had been either, apart from the few Herdwick Sheep that are here all year.

This was on the way back from the objective of this trip, the waterfall seen just to the bottom left of the copyright symbol with the sun just about to go down behind the fell. 

Now it's the hour and a half walk back... and the long drive home but well worth the effort.

Next Lake District oil painting - Buttermere, Cumbria - step by step demonstration

Detail from "Footpath around Buttermere" Buttermere, Cumbria.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021323

Finished oil painting of sunset over Derwent Water

Here is the finished oil painting started in a previous post...

Detail from "Sunset over Derwent Water" Calfclose Bay, Derwent Water, Keswick, Cumbria.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021322

To finish this painting I first completed the area of water, which at this time, was either still (in the bay) or small gentle ripples. This was done using a rigger brush to paint the lines - using the same colours as the sky but toned down slightly. Last to be finished, was the lake foreshore... the small stones were picking up a lot of reflected light but these highlights were painted last over a combination of three or four base colours to create the correct texture of the stony foreshore.

Next stage of the Cumbrian oil paintings...

Carrying on from the previous post this is the third painting shown. As mentioned an interesting sunset over Derwent Water, near to Keswick in Cumbria attracted my attention...

Although only showing one of them here, all four oil paintings shown in the previous post were given their base colours. Done with some care but quickly placing colours relating to the area are painted and in some cases become the underlying but also the finished colour. 

It's a choice of spend more time getting the colour/s and position 100% now or do a quick under paint and add the detail in later stages...

This image shows this painting a bit more than half way finished. The sky has been completed using a variety of mixes from pale blues to warm reds and yellows, all done wet against wet or wet into wet using either rigger brushes or Rosemary & Co's Ivory range - different sizes and shapes.

Next was the simple background fells, a case of mixing the correct colours needed, before moving onto the line of trees which were mostly dark greens with some areas catching some reflected light from the sky. The tops of the trees were painted into the wet sky with some sky colour added afterwards.

Some additional work was started on the water before finishing the days work but at this stage just simple shapes and a few lines ready for the next stage - adding the ripples on the water and finishing the foreground...

Early stage of the next group of Lake District oil paintings

Early stage of four oil paintings.

This one is on the foot path around Buttermere, Cumbria almost looking directly into the sun on a wonderful late summer afternoon. The painting of the lines, like all of these, was done with thinned oil paint, a blue and brown mix using mainly a rigger brush. This one was done onto a gesso board that had been pre prepared with a colour wash (raw sienna in this case).

Dunnerdale, this dale takes that little bit more effort to get to compared to others in the Lake District but no less stunning in places. This was a early spring day with lovely sunlight casting shadows across the crystal clear water, moss covered banks in the foreground to the range of fells in the background.

I was on the way back to Keswick with parts of me thinking more of what to eat rather than spend time getting the reference for this but passing Derwent Water, there was a sunset with some interesting clouds and reflections. Fish & Chips in the car later before setting of on the four hour trip home.

Great Langdale, Cumbria... what can one say about this area that hasn't been said before. Staying in one of the local bed and breakfast allows one instant access to lots of subjects. The background line of hills is Crinkle Crags, one of the many walking routes. Needless to say this area gets very busy at times which helped with the two Herdwick Sheep what were alongside the small beck as they just carried on as normal...

More Lake District paintings starting tonight..

Tonight it's back into the studio to start two 'small' oil paintings of the Lake District. Both are of well known 'lakes', the first is of Buttermere, while the second is of Derwentwater as the sun sets... both these lakes offer a wide variety of subject matter all year round, both at water level or exploring the mountains that surround them and the views that the height offers.

A full day out... starting in the woods and ending back at Christmas???

A 462 mile round trip yesterday with the odd break while delivering paintings, some subject finding and a spell at the Spring Fair which was on it's final day.

Having had a wonderful view of a Barn Own hunting in the early light this was the sunrise in the Surrey Woods - time to start work!!! As others headed to their work, this was my location for a while. Just enough breeze to make it bitterly cold, frozen ground and a light frost.

Two hours later, exploring one of the river banks... some really nice highlights and refection's now there was more light, not much warmer though as the wind had increased and some cloud coming over.

More interesting trees along the valley bottom, really like the sky at this time - changing almost by the minute... while trains rush past the back of me on their way into London.

Back to the car and a drive north to the Spring Fair at the N.E.C. (National Exhibition Centre) on the outskirts of Birmingham. Hall 4 was Greeting and Stationery, Art and Framing. The art section is now somewhat smaller than it was a few years ago. This isn't a 'art materials' show, although there is a small artists area (aiming to sell to gallery owners etc), it's reproduction companies (but as mentioned not as many as before) selling to art galleries their limited edition prints, greeting card companies selling to galleries & shops etc. The variety of greeting cards was huge both in the number of companies and of style/subjects. Most of the main picture framing companies had stands - moulding and framing equipment on show...

One of the things about the Spring Fair is that within a few feet (or another of the many halls) you can be in a different market sector and other companies trying to sell their goods. On my way out, it was through fancy dress costumes, firework companies, toys from plain wooden to animated dinosaurs and then back into Christmas with stuff we'll all see in the shops later this year being ordered....

Langstrath Autumn Oil Painting with Herdwick Sheep

Detail from "Autumn in Langstrath" Langstrath, Cumbria.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021318

My first visit to this valley, along with others in the Lake District National Park, was back in the early 80's while at art college, even then it had something about it and I've returned many times since. The distant mountain is Bow Fell which most walkers tackle from Great Langdale (to the left of the mountain) while just over the steep right hand side hill is the other walkers hot spot of Seathwaite and the routes to Great Gable and Scarfell Pike.

The two Herdwick Sheep, thankfully, stayed still for a while being intent on having their fill of grass with only the odd look at anyone that passed by on the path.

Like the other Lake District paintings this will be heading up to the Beckstones Art Gallery when it's dried and framed, all being well in the next week or so...

All in the bag... well lots of them really

All the paintings for the "Snow Show" @ Lincoln Joyce Fine Art are now in their protective bags and ready for delivery tomorrow.

I have used, for some years now, bags from a company called Stiffy Bag, based in Kent, England and now would never use anything else and just the thought off wrapping paintings in bubble wrap, getting the right size piece, using sticky tape to hold it in place... where as now it's just slip the painting in and fold over any spare - done in seconds.

More details of these bags, standard size or made to measure, can be found here

Finished the oil snow painting

Finally got time to take a picture of the finished oil painting shown in a previous post, then it was about half finished. Below is the finished work now drying and then framing...

The work in finishing this oil painting was mainly that of the river, all done wet into wet but on a base that this time had dried (see the other post).

I find it much better to paint water (like this) in one go... while doing this I was thinking about which is nicer, full blown reflections on still water (therefore painting the subject almost twice) or as below where theses some reflections but lots of water movement... not that we can change what's in front of use as a subject. Other areas then finished were some of the far bank along with the snow covered vegetation in the lower right corner.

This painting was a real joy to paint... having finished most of the water, I really liked painting the small areas of steam rising from the river which were being caught by the warm sunlight. This is something I've painted a number of times before and in this case added some nice warmth to the painting.

Detail from "Steaming River in the Bright Winter Sun" Rutland.
Oil. Alistair Butt © 2013 -
#AB 021321

Varnish oil paintings and sorting picture frames

Yesterday 'was' going to be a day for finishing the last snow oil painting but ended up being a different day.

Some of the frames were ready for the next exhibition so those were sorted and made ready, while the studio floor was covered in varnished (I use Winsor & Newton Retouching Varnish at this stage) paintings...

Above is a sample of a single coloured frame with slip. I use a number of different moulding profiles depending on size of painting, along with different colour or colour combinations.

Some of the varnished paintings drying in the studio...

Winsor & Newton - Oil Painting Rules video on YouTube

Video from Winsor & Newton on the basic rules of oil painting - fat over lean

See the YouTube video here

Yesterdays work - oil painting - snow covered banks of river

This was yesterdays work on what will now be the last of the snow paintings for an exhibition later this month.

As can be seen above there's more work to be done on the river (just the base layer at present last area to be done last night) along with the foreground (right side) but all yesterday was spent painting (upper half of this painting) snow covered trees and river banks. Apart from the warm highlights, from the sunlight, most of the rest was cool shadow colours of the snow or bits of tree.