Author Archives: Chris Rose
This will be an oil painting. Having stained the board with a light wash of burnt sienna I have roughly drawn in the basic composition in thin paint diluted with turps. This dries very quickly so I can then start painting over the top the next day.
I’ve already started putting in the dark spaces of clear water between the criss-cross pattern of floating reed stems at the bottom of the picture. This helps both to establish the darkest tones of the painting and to roughly map out the patterns of dead reeds.
This is the first stage of a new oil painting of elephant seals and king penguins at Diaz cove on the south shore of South Georgia. They are all undergoing moult – the seals are shedding old fur and the penguins, many of them immature birds, are picking out the last vestiges of their old plumage.
Size: 28″ x 40″
This is the first stage of a new oil painting – king penguins and elephant seals sitting out a sand storm on the beach. I’ve drawn in the figures in thin oil paint. I use paint rather than pencil or charcoal because it’s easy to wipe out without making a mess.
Starting the painting
This is the starting point of a new painting – a large oil on canvas (1.5m x 1.3m) of a glacier-front in Cumberland Bay East, in the general area of the harbour of Grytviken. There will be a couple of king penguins swimming in the foreground.
I stained the canvas some days ago to give me a light mid-tone background and, with that now dry, I have begun the painting by marking in the ‘horizon’, i.e. the bottom of the glacier where it meets the sea.
I’ve blocked in the basic areas of the scene in very diluted, thin oil paint using a decorating brush and a large, flat hog’s hair brush. This is basically a tonal underpainting; it gives me the basic format of the picture in a very short space of time. I can see whether or not I like the horizon position, which could be changed quickly and easily at this point if I wanted.
Just in the last half an hour I have started blocking in the composition. I painted a small acrylic rough version (to the right of the easel in this view) as a template because this picture is a distillation of a number of different experiences, including the very sobering one of sailing through the centre of a hurricane during the small hours of the morning!
This oil painting will, if everything goes according to plan, be auctioned to raise funds for the RSPB’s ‘Save the Albatross’ campaign.
In thin oil paint I’m roughing in the wave forms and playing around with the position of the albatross.
This is the first stage of a painting from my trip to South Georgia. A gentoo penguin waddling up the beach amongst the ice flotsam which has been washed ashore from a glacier. This will be an oil painting measuring 24″ x 30″.
This will be an acrylic painting of part of a flock of barnacle geese coming in to land in a field on the Inner Hebridean island of Islay. On a tinted background I have started to rough in a few bird shapes and have indicated where certain horizontal elements of the background will be positioned.
I always draw directly with the paint – it is so much quicker and freer and it allows one to rapidly block in areas of tone. It is also easier to wipe off than it is to rub out pencil lines.
The geese are taken from sketches made on Islay and from watching slowed down video footage which enabled me to really see what was going on with those wings! I’m starting to get more of a feel for how the painting might look at this very early stage.
This is the start of a large oil, 34″ square, of a black-headed gull on the expanse of rippled sand between Lindisfarne and the Northumberland mainland at low tide. To get to this stage took only a couple of days. Having roughly marked out where the sand ripples were to go I filled in the water inbetween, giving an indication of clouds reflected in the water at the top. All this has been done in thinned down paint. I’ve also started roughing in the gull.