В современном искусстве разобраться легко: что висит на стене - живопись; что можно увидеть сзади - скульптура.

by Vjatcheslav Palatchev (Yaroslavl, Russia) a-combination-of-oil-painting-techniques-21257691

The original version in http://www.explore-drawing-and-painting.com

I only use oil paints in my work, although I’m always trying new paints and techniques. I’m also adopting different techniques- alla prima and layering methods. The approach depends on what kind of picture I’m going to paint. As a rule I paint the background of a picture alla prima, and then after that dries, I use layering techniques to paint the small details.

Before I start to paint, I always think through every step and the methods, tools, and paints which I’m going to use. I don't have strict rules; I just try to paint in an intuitive way. I use a variety of oil painting techniques and choose the most suitable methods for each picture. Alla prima technique, in my opinion, is the best for painting background and layering techniques are useful for details: leaves, grass, flowers, etc.

At first, look at a landscape and decide mentally what you are going to paint as background, medium-distance, and foreground. For elaborate paintings, it helps to divide your work into sections.

In all of my landscape paintings, the aerial perspective is very important and it is what makes pictures realistic. But how to paint air? You should carefully choose colours for each feature, intensifying the contrast and colour little by little as you move from background to foreground. Painting the background sets the character of the whole picture and requires a lot of attention from the painter. It seems for a number of people that the most important part of a painting is the foreground. But having painted hundreds of different landscapes I’m sure a background is a framework on which you build the whole painting. While painting the foreground I compare every colour and shadow with those from the background--it requires all my skills and feelings.

For the background I use mixed colours with a great portion being blue and white. While painting the background I always think over and estimate what colours I will use for the foreground. Only in this way the painting can be made as a single whole.

For a foreground I use mixed techniques. That is, alla prima technique is very suitable for putting combination of colours on a canvas with wide synthetic bruches. After drying for a couple of hours I paint small details with very soft and flexible hair brushes which won’t destroy the paint layer made in alla prima (and avoid an inappropriate mixture of paints). But I don’t permit paints to dry completely and using soft hair brushes I make strokes which touch only the top of the underlying layer of paint and in this way I make gradual transition of colours. Then I repeat this method few times to achieve necessary contrast and combinations of colours.

Painting small details in a foreground I begin with dark colours and with small soft brush strokes paint dark parts, for example, of grass or stones. Then I proceed to paint bright details and there are very important points. I always make soft brush strokes top-down or from bright to dark. It helps to create gradual transition of colours even for small details, because when you take light paint with a soft hair brush and make a stoke on the dark ground, paints mix leaving light paint pure at a beginning of the stroke.

Another point of this technique is that I make brush strokes following not only the size and form of a detail, but also making strokes in the same direction in what details are arranged. Practice in this technique can be easily gained while painting and sketching motions of water, waterfalls.

When I’m painting water I just follow its motion with brush strokes. Just imagine your brush is floating and press with the brush where it’s necessary to mix paints of the bottom layer. Brush motions must be soft and steady at the same time.

At the end of paining I think over the composition of colours for the whole picture. Colours must harmonize with each other so I compare colour saturation and emphasize bright or dark parts of the picture.

Painting demands an attention to details and patience. Every brush stroke must serve the only purpose that is to present the picture as a unity so I don’t try to emphasize a single detail too much.

A very important part of the study of painting is to have good observation skills. Pay attention to how colours in nature harmonize and keep that in mind that while painting.


Палачев Вячеслав Николаевич, родился 24 декабря 1980 года, художник в третьем поколении. Подробнее...

E-mail: art.palachev@ya.ru