ART - Painting in Oils
Where angels fear to tread...

Close-up details of my unfinished 'copy exercise' painting
February 2001

My first attempt at copying -

loosely based upon
'Morning, Lady's Cove' by
Alfred Sisley - 1897

Hardboard, 24" x 18"
(Artisan water-based oils)

The rocks and beach swell


The cliff paths...


The headland...


Sail boats...




The proportions are not quite correct as I have scaled the pictures to fit the page layout somewhat. In truth, another reason is that I am not any good as a copyist! The colours too are not 'true' as I used ordinary electric light and a daylight lamp to photograph by! Its quick and cheap:-)

To view the pictures in greater detail just right click on a picture, and 'save picture as' to a 'tempory' file as a .jpg file on your hard drive. Note where you save it to! View it using a programme such as PaintShopPro, or similar, and resize to 1:1 ratio. The detail is reasonable.


I have discovered that I enjoy painting on a large surface area. The 24" x 18" hardboard, (primed with the exterior grade emulsion wall paint) has been nice to paint upon. The surface was quite absorbent and as I was using Artisan paints (water-based oils) it was somewhat of an advantage. I hate to be held up because the paint is too wet. Thinning it results in very pale 'washes' (wrong word - does not apply to oils...), and any transparent colours are almost lost. It was useful too when I applied very dilute overpainting to the blue/green/black of the cliffs, as it took away the harshness.

Although coarse brush marks show through quite badly due to the unsuitable priming medium, I enjoy the ability to 'wave my arms about' on a large canvas, (hardboard), so I happily put up with a 'minus' to enjoy a 'plus'!

The small boards, especially the 10" x 8", were very difficult for me to get going with. It physically cramped my body just trying to work within such narrow confines.
I have read on The Net somewhere that each person will have a particular size of board with which they feel comfortable. I think 24" x 18" is quite nice for me at the moment. I will have to make the frames for any that I wish to keep at this size as it would be expensive to have done professionally. I have made a frame from just doorstop timber, stapling the corners, and fitting the canvas inside narrow strips of wood that I ripped back. It works - to a point.

palette I made my palette from clear polycarbonate sheeting, cutting it to shape with an electric jigsaw, making the hand and thumb holes likewise, filing off the rough edges to make it a comfortable fit.
It was relatively easy make but did require trimming to get it to feel comfortably balanced. It is quite large (19ins x 17ins) and cost me about 5.00 to make as I get 3 from a single sheet costing 15.00 or so.