Distant Clouds

Passing Storm
Oil on linen, 8″ x 10″

To use some of the extra paint from my last post about genuine Van Dyke brown and similar pigments I made this study of clouds in the distance moving away.

To start with I had already mixed into one blob of paint the three paints I made – bitumen, Van Dyke brown, and coal. To that was added the two natural Van Dyke brown / Cassel earth paints from Williamsburg, plus some Rublev raw umber and charcoal black to help it dry, and also a generous amount of putty medium made from marble dust and chalk. This resulted in a transparent blackish brown paint with a lot of character. I made two piles of paint and added a very small amount of ultramarine blue to them both, with a little more in one than the other.

Forming the basic shapes of the clouds was done by increasing the thickness of the paint to make it darker, brushing harder or adding more putty medium to make it thinner and lighter, switching between the two piles of paint to get warmer or cooler greys, or adding some zinc white to both lighten and slightly increase opacity. Titanium white was then mixed into the wet paint to model the lighter or more opaque parts of the clouds. The sky was the same base paint with even more ultramarine and some white, brushed thinly, and the reddish clouds at the bottom had a very small amount of Williamsburg’s Italian Pompeii red (a bright red ochre) mixed in.

This was painted on Friday nearly all alla prima (painted at once, without letting it dry) except for a few adjustments this morning to a small area that was standing out too much and distracting.

A Deluge, after Leonardo da Vinci

A Deluge

Black watercolor on sumi-e paper, 6.25″ x 4.75″

This took a little bit longer than I expected. It’s copied from a drawing by Leonardo, though because of the age of the paper and maybe the roughness of the chalk he drew with it was hard for me to tell exactly what all the lines were meant to be, so I just made a few interpretations of my own.

I painted this because the past few days there was a lot of rain, but much less than was predicted. The prediction of what even the next few hours would be like was always being changed. I had expected to wake up yesterday to more rain, but instead there were only a few drops the whole day.

It reminded me of when Nicodemus came to speak with Jesus in the Bible, and was told by Jesus “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8) Jesus was explaining the mystery of conversion to him, which is by the Spirit of God, by comparing it with wind. The effects of wind can be seen and felt, so we know that it is there, but even today with all of our technology we still can’t really say where the wind is going.

After the Thunderstorm, after Arkhip Kuindzhi

After the Thunderstorm

Oil on canvas, 10″ x 8″

I made a rough copy of a painting by Arkhip Kuindzhi.

The blue is a mix of ultramarine that I made myself with some titanium white and a little transparent red oxide for the areas with more grey. I used a few drops of burnt plate oil when making it, which is linseed oil that’s been heated to the point of combustion and left like that until half the volume is left. Adjustments to the amount of heat and length of time produces a range of different results. It’s thick and normally used in printmaking, but I read a theory that Rembrandt (who was also a printmaker) may have added some of it to his paint to get the effects he did. The paint I made was very interesting and could be called stringy or ropey. Very different from normal ultramarine from a tube.

Anticipation (updated)

Anticipation updated

I made some updates to this painting. The old version is below this. I added shadows along the ground to break up the main area a bit. The fox had a very faint shadow before that was too faint for the camera to really pick up so I made it stronger. I also adjusted the silhouette of the trees/bushes a little and added a second layer of them behind for depth. There’s a bit of glare in the photo, but the colors are also more accurate.


Oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″

The paints I used for this are raw umber (PBr7+PBk11, Grumbacher), magnesium ferrite (PBr11, Daniel Smith), yellow ochre pale (PY42, Winsor & Newton) and both Portland gray deep and medium (PW6,4+PBr7+PBk11, Gamblin). I’m trying to get better color accuracy in my photos but this is a little bit lighter and warmer than the real painting. Tomorrow I have a grey card coming in the mail that’ll help me get a proper white balance with my camera.

Anticipation Sketch

This is the digital sketch I made in Photoshop. At first I was just testing out some new brush presets and I liked how it was starting to look like a wind blown landscape.



Oil on canvas, 10″ x 8″

Based on Cliffs at Pourville, Rain by Monet. I wasn’t looking at his painting while I painted, or especially trying for an exact copy, so mine turned out a little different.

I don’t normally paint this thickly, but I’ve been watching some video clips of an artist named David Leffel and I’m hoping to learn some things from him so I can improve my work. I kind of like thick paint.

I had a cobalt, prussian, and cerulean blues already on my palette when I started so I was using mixtures of those with white and a little Portland Grey Light from Gamblin. Around 2/3 of the way through I decided to try a mixture of french ultramarine with my new cobalt teal (PB28) from Gamblin. I really like how that mix turned out. The reddishness, darkness, transparency, and intensity of the ultramarine was balanced by the greenishness, lightness, opacity, and relative dullness of the teal, resulting in a mellow middle blue in all regards.

Painting a Day 7: Storm

Oil on linen, 5″x7″

I have a lot of extra paint on I think 3 separate palettes all at once, so I thought I’d try using up some of it by painting a snowstorm in the mountains. Again I used a palette knife to make this.

I missed finishing a painting yesterday, but I think later on tonight I’ll get a different project done that I’ve been working on to make up for it.

Painting a Day 4: Dark Clouds

Oil on linen, 5″x7″

I’ve been mixing so much paint lately that I’ve ended up with a lot of extra paint on multiple palettes that can still be used, and I didn’t want to just waste it, so I scraped together mostly just the rest of the same paint I used yesterday on that bird painting and applied here with a palette knife.

This is my second painting today, but it’s for tomorrow.