As is so often the case, I turned once again to my sketchbook scribbles for inspiration. After trawling through pages of sketches, I found a simple snow scene which I roughly sketched out at the scene some years ago. Nothing too overwhelming, simple in fact, but landscapes don’t have to be complicated affairs! In fact, often the simpler they are, the more impact they can have.
Browsing through the POL Tips & Techniques section, I came across an interesting article from a 1980 edition of Leisure Painter by Edward Wesson (click here to read). Better known for his stunning watercolours, he was also an accomplished painter in oils. The painting in this article was also a simple snow scene and he used a warm brown mix of burnt umber and ultramarine as his ground.
I always like to work on a coloured ground (as many of us do); it enables me to see and judge my tonal values and colours more easily than working on a white ground. I’d never considered using a warm brown as a base for a snow scene so I was excited to give it a go.
I had already prepared my 3mm MDF with three generous applications of white acrylic gesso – this must be left overnight to dry – and followed this with a couple of thin coats of burnt umber and ultramarine, following Wesson’s example. Again, I left this to dry thoroughly, as I didn’t want to pick up any of the ground colour.
My equipment for this painting
It’s worth mentioning that oil paint already contains linseed oil as its binding agent so you don’t need to add very much, if any, to it. I often just use distilled turps, perhaps introducing a touch of either linseed or stand oil during the final stages.
The Lane to Colton Heath, oil on MDF board, (51x51cm)