Current Experiments

I wanted to experiment with colour for my next experiments, so I began with two small primed pieces of paper and did washes of oil. I used oil because of the vibrant colours available and the texture you can achieve. The different coverage and texture was to see how that would affect the look of the pieces. The colours are based on colours and feelings I picked up from the photographs I used:

I wanted to try a variety of mediums I have used into the past, to see which were effective on top of oil and alongside colour. I knew ink wouldn’t sit well on top of oils but I wanted to try anyway, since bleach and ink produced interesting effects.

Ink on the oil created some interesting textures, since it couldn’t stick to the oil paint, although when the ink dries in areas it looks like it will start peeling off, leaving a grey shadow of where the ink was.

After realising ink couldn’t be the only medium I used, I started using charcoal which worked well. You have more control with charcoal, which is a negative since I want mediums that don’t give me too much control. The white pastel worked well to create highlights.

The colour creates a good middle tone that exaggerates the highlights and shadows. However the colour also makes the scene look very flat. And since I can’t apply watered down ink to suggest trees in the distant, it doesn’t capture the size of a big forest.

This second experiment I tried the ink again, knowing it would stick to places where there were no oil paints. I tried to wipe away some of the ink off in the centre of the page  but it just smudged and created a grey mess which I wasn’t happy with. My mistake was wiping it when the ink had already dried, and I think the oil paint was still slightly wet, so the ink mixed into the oil when rubbed together. In the future I need to sponge the ink off when it’s still wet.

I really like the way in which the ink only sticks to the blank paper. It makes it look as if the brushes of oil paint have been applied on top of the ink and somehow erased the ink underneath. It adds a lot more depth to the piece, since I could repeat this process of layering.

I did go back over the grey area of the page with more thinned oil paint in cadmium orange but the paint was too thinned and it mixed with the charcoal to create a muddy brown. Once it’s dried I plan to work back into that area perhaps with white pastel.


Looking at the two pieces together shows that this layering of colour has potential to be pushed much further. These two paintings, although not hugely successful as finished pieces, they have taught me a lot about combining unusual mediums, and the possibilities of incorporating colour into my work.

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