Returning to Oil: 4.0

by Brenda W. Clough

 This past Saturday was my last oil-painting class, and I have finished the fourth version of this landscape. My instructor assures me this is the best version yet.

This was a paint-from photograph class, and as you can see (I append the original photograph at the bottom here) I have wandered far. Furthermore, I infected the rest of the class; others began suddenly casting reality to the winds, making seasides sunny, adding multicolored fields of flowers, etc.

However, in this fourth effort I think I have balanced better the overwhelming tendency to green and Naples yellow.It helps, I think, to have a completely different color as the under-painting — all that purple and blue still peeps through a lot, lending the thing more depth than the straight slapping down of green which can be viewed in versions 1 and 2. And that is a valuable tool. I must remember (if and when I go further with oils) to never begin with the work as it looks, or as it is going to look. First I must bounce up and down on the trampoline with some purer, zanier hue. (I have an awful lot of purple paint in my box at this moment.)  Only after that dries, do I execute a back flip as a thin layer of reality goes on!



About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.


Returning to Oil: 4.0 — 7 Comments

  1. The blue-purple peeking through gives a lot of depth to the green.
    This is my favorite version too.

  2. See? It totally needed more green!

    I love this. It has structure, and a lot of interest; the eye can wander around and rest and move on. That colour range works very well for me; this is inspiring _me_ to experiment more.

    But most of all, this version looks more confident than the previous experiments: you go in with a will, and you know what you’re trying to achieve.

  3. Exactly. I had to push a stick down all the dry holes, before finding a hole with something in it. Which shows you that you do have to keep slugging at it. It is comfortable to consider how very many times Monet painted cathedrals, or water lilies — essentially the same picture only with entirely different palettes or emphasis or whatever. When I look over all four of them this is unquestionably the best one. And now I don’t feel the urge to do it yet again; it is like finishing a trilogy. Time to move on!

  4. Looking very good, Brenda! A friend is taking classes from an artist here, and he insists on her layering the image. That was kinda how I was taught, but not with such laser focus.

    She placed a lovely European dragon on the Great Wall from a travel picture. He looks very confused. I think you’d like the painting.

    You have depth in this version and I feel I know something of what the artist was trying to suggest. Awesome. (But is this creative medium fast enough for you?)

  5. I probably should find something else to paint. It occurs to me that I could experiment with portraiture, which is very suitable to painting from photographs. But not soon…