Exercise 5.1 – Detailed painting of weeds

I liked the idea of painting the weeds slightly larger than life but kept to an A5 size sheet to make the work a manageable size.  I used oil paints and began with a layer of golden ochre and burnt umber mixed to create a warm glow.

What works – there is enough feeling of light in the piece to create depth and a sense of layering in the plants.  I have also managed to capture the colour likeness reasonably for the image to read as a believable representation.

What I found difficult – The layers in oil painting and the use of glazes is still a struggle.  This painting took over 10 hours during a number of days to complete – I did work in layers but I still feel I don’t have an understanding of how to structure the painting and what layers to paint when. At present I paint the basic colours of each of the shapes in the piece, when that is dry I then try to be more specific about colour, laying in areas that need tightening up and trying to make more of a sense of the forms within the image.  I then add more detail when that layer is dry, sharpen up the shadows etc and finally add in any detail that I have missed.  I don’t feel there is a sense of rhythm and understanding to the way I paint with oils, it feels too lacking in knowledge.  I also struggle painting detailed images as this starts to tighten up my approach and I lose my fluidity.  In some ways I am happy that this painting at least looks like the subject matter, however,there is none of my artistic voice in there, no character and that is what I need to explore further in terms of my journey with oil painting.


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