Oil over acrylic painting techniques and tutorial with Scott Naismith I Colour In Your Life

Oil over acrylic painting techniques and tutorial with Scott Naismith I Colour In Your Life


Hi ladies and gentleman boys and girls, my name’s Ian Walton and I’m here to present Colour In Your Life, in the UK. We all know an artist, or creative individual out there, often a family member or a best friend. So come along with us on this wonderful adventure of inspiration, creativity, and positivity. To meet and watch some of the most talented and creative people in the country, and let us put some colour in your life. (Ian) Hi ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, welcome to Colour In Your Life UK. And we’re up in Scotland today, just north east of Glasgow, about twenty minutes or so, in a place called Lindsay, and we’re here to meet the amazing Scott Naismith. Scott, wonderful to be here mate. (Scott) Great to have you here, Ian, and the whole Colour In Your Life team. I’ve just come up from Wales to Scotland here and it’s been a dreich day, but I’m pleased to say that the sun’s out. Dreich by the way is a Scottish word, and you’re going to hear some more Scottish words probably in the episode. It means it’s grey and that the rain’s coming down. The sun’s out now and that transitional period when you’ve got dark heavy weather turning to light, is what I use for the metaphor for optimism, and hope, and a kind of positivity to these colourful paintings, so hopefully we’ll get that across today. And have some fun creating two paintings I’m going to be working on possibly a third, I don’t know. But we’ll see how it goes, yeah. (Ian) That’s good, that’s wonderful, and I think we’re going to see some amazing work today, Scott. You know, I’ve looked at your work for some time now, and it really is, it’s so vibrant and so much colour; it’s perfect for Colour In Your Life. (Scott) Yeah, it’s all about colour, yeah. (Ian) You’re going to really enjoy what you see today folks. So lets get on with it. (Scott) So we got the other colours laid out here, I must stress that these are all artists oils. I like Michael Harding, they are just good for their consistency in the pigment, pigment strength. But I do use student grade oils as well, but on my palette, my studio palette, that I’m using will all be artists grade. I use a lot of paint and when I’m using a big quantity of paint I’m using the student oils, but they’ll always be finished over the top in the artists oils. So starting with, and I start round about the cyan, or the aquamarine, also a Kings Blue, just nearer the blues – that’s in the wrong place, and then cyan. So even though I’ve got a lot of colour here, I’m using a lot of tubes of paint. It’s really anchored in the concept that the primary colours are cyan, magenta and yellow. I believe that the truth about the primary colours is cyan and magenta. And that’s why magenta’s a colour that somebody suggested that I might be called the magenta man. Was that right of him? (Ian) I think that’s right, yeah, yeah. It’s interesting just how much magenta paint, Scott, you managed to get on your hands earlier. With me it’s Prussian Blue. So yeah, the colour wheel theory is something that you’re very keen on, and as you say, that video has seen a lot of hits on YouTube. (Scott) I get a lot of people saying you know, this has changed, this has changed the way I think about painting. And it’s not about – there’s no real importance of a colour wheel if you’re working purely on instinct. But the best way to learn is to know the right places to be thinking about the next colour. Titanium White is a fantastic, fantastic paint, but is the most used and abused paint tube that all artist get kind of obsessed with. The most, the greatest feeling when you’re painting, is putting in that highlight. You know, just getting in those highlights, and getting a bit carried away. The highlights are so essential and you need to, less is more. Less in more. So although Titanium White is a most important colour, you need to watch how much you use of it. And when I mix the colours with white, to get a lighter colour I use this stuff, and it’s Zinc White, and it’s, it’s just its lighter on the paint, so you don’t get that chalky feel. I’m all about high, high saturation colour, high key colour, and to remain vibrant, you got to, you got to try not to get that chalky feel. A lot of people when they see my exhibition, I expect them to look at the colour. The biggest thing that hits them is colour. But actually some people say you know what, it’s the texture. Sometimes when you are viewing painting online you notice, were as a picture of a painting, you don’t really appreciate the textures. People really comment when they see the pictures in real life, they do comment on the texture. And a lot of that is created through the use of thickened paint, and I do that by absorbing a lot of the oils. That doesn’t happen on this palette, it happens on a cardboard palette. And you’ve got to watch how long you leave paint on a cardboard palette, or anything absorbing the oil. You don’t want to absorb too much of the oil there, because that will bind the paint together. Okay, I do work mixed media, so this acrylic for the underpainting a lot of the time – not all the time. To explain here, I have one with the acrylic underpainting done, and there’s actually one here which is oil on linen, which is purely oil on linen. If I’m looking for heavy texture to work on top of, I’m working with acrylic paint to start me off. And I love to contrast the different ways that acrylic paint can actually behave as opposed to oil. And then one of my favourite quotes is from Matisse. One of my biggest influences is Matisse, who is big on colour, is “I don’t paint things, I paint the difference between things.” And I’m actually keeping in mind the difference between the mediums that I’m using. I want people to look at the painting and wonder where the acrylic paint stops, and the oil paint starts. If they don’t know, I’ve done my job well. So I’ve got three different palettes, and the unique thing with these palettes is that when they get a little bit dirty, unlike that one from the oil painting, when I get paint, but this stuff just peels off. And there you can just clean the palette, you get too much paint on and you can just take that and bin it. So we’re going to work on this stuff, we’re going to work on three clean ones just now. And I’ve got my three primary colours, so all I’m going to work with this underpainting, is just the three primary colours. And it’s just kind of something I’ve been known for because I’m peddling this idea of that cyan, magenta, yellow are the primary colours, and I’ll use these only. Possibly one of my most well known paintings is Primary Sky, and I created that almost totally from three colours. And I’ve actually put it on the front of my book, Scottish Skies. It’s possibly my most well known painting. I think on Pinterest, it’s not long before you come across Primary Sky. On Pinterest, people tend to pin it everywhere. (Ian) Right, Scott, this is looking far more exciting now we’re down on the floor with sheets of cardboard, and lots of paint. And I can see you’ve got a tablet there, and buckets and so on and so forth. This is looking really exciting. (Scott) Yeah, yeah, we’re getting a bit down and dirty here I think. But before we do that, we need to get rid of the tablet, yeah – just working on my new toy really. And you know, working on the drawing, the initial drawing. This is Callanish Standing Stones in the Isle of Lewis. And working out the composition, just working out where the main elements are and the mood of it, and the direction of the marks in the sky. That’s all I really need it for, but it will remain there as a reference. And mostly at the start of the painting I’m just thinking about where the horizon is, where’s the skies going to go, and where the colour going to go, and where are the main, the main areas of drama are needed. So lets get right in about it with a large palette knife. A little bit of white on the canvas here is going to mark out where my horizon level is, and this is just a case of getting straight in and about it, yeah. So… (Ian) Fair do, like I don’t think I’ve, I don’t think I’ve actually seen a palette knife as big as that before. (Scott) I don’t muck about. Now you were saying that whoa, that’s a lot of paint, but I’ve actually not squeezed out enough so. (Ian) That’s always the way. (Scott) Yeah. Now any point that I’m working here I can re-wet the canvas, and a lot of this colours going to dip down and that’s going to be absolutely fine. That’s what we’re looking for because I’m looking to describe the differences between solid and liquid paint. So at any stage I can, I can be softening and I can be hardening edges. (Ian) Yeah, that’s something I love doing myself, is working on big canvases with big brushes. You can get so much done in such a short space of time. And often people look at small pieces of work and think well you know, that’s really nice, but it’s not very big so you know, it won’t be very expensive. And you can often spend far, far more time on a small canvas than you do on something of this sort of size. (Scott) I’m a big believer that you set it down, you set down the paint and then you manipulate it afterwards. I love the idea of organised chaos; that difference between things again. And it’s like taking something chaotic and making sense of it. So a lot of the time in the start is like getting the paint down. Most, most of the important thing is getting that paint down, getting the paint down and then manipulating it. So I’ve got, I’m making a statement with this, and I’m refining it with this, almost at this stage. A lot of the latter stages are about refining, but if you don’t have the energy you’ve got nothing to refine. Now at this stage I’m going to switch colours, but I’m going to keep the knife fairly dirty just now, because it’s going to move the hues slightly towards purple. And this thin blue, so I’m hitting, hitting this with some sever thin, thin blue at this stage. A lot, a lot of people have seen YouTube videos of me working, and they say oh you’re constantly squinting. I think every painter does squint all the time. It’s like you must have like by time your older in life, you have all the wrinkles are every where around your eyes. (Ian) Completely, yeah, I completely agree. (Scott) And it’s purely you know, I can’t do without it. It’s just judging it without looking at the details. It’s almost like just putting on a pair of glasses to fog everything out, so that you don’t get bogged down in any kind of detail. You’re just judging the larger shapes and the larger areas of colour. (Ian) It’s really good to hear another artist saying exactly the same thing. I you know, I’m conscious that I squint when I walk away from work to look at it, and I’m half closing my eyes, and closing one eye and so on. And people look at you and think what on earth, you know, why are you doing that? So it’s quite nice to hear another artist saying exactly the same thing. (Scott) A lot of it is about the power of the paint itself, and what the paint is doing. You got to look like you meant it, you know. (Ian) Absolutely, absolutely. (Scott) It is all about confidence. You can’t – sometime a confident mark is better than an accurate one, you know. It’s about getting an energy and a belief. If you do something with belief and energy, people buy into, sort of buy into the idea that you’re trying to get across, you know. (Ian) Absolutely, I mean you can see the passion in the work, and the integrity in the work, and I think, I think people do really respond to that. (Scott) And you’ll see how these initial marks, you know, these initial marks, and you now there’s a lot of energy – there’s a lot. There’s no under, under drawing, the drawing comes back at a later stage. I feel too much reference material, too much looking at that reference material becomes your ball and change, and prevents you from, sort of creating something that isn’t on that reference material. And what isn’t on your reference material is often the most important part of the painting. (Ian) Yeah, I think i’m definitely going to go away from here today with some ideas that I’d like to work with, with the colours that you’re using. I promise that I won’t, I won’t copy anything. You’ve got a, you’ve got a little bit of that kind of thing going on. (Scott) Yeah, you know, influenced, influence you’re always going to have that, especially when it’s a newer idea of how to approach colour. But I always think you’ve just got to combine influences, at least two influences, you come up with something new. I think creating art is all about creating something different. I almost think it’s a shame if you, if you are too led by one thing, it can limit what you put into something so. Yeah, I been known for doing YouTube videos, and demonstrations and things like that. But what I’ve always suggested is I try not to make it a step by step thing. You know, what come next? What comes next, you know? If you know the rules, you know how to bend the rules. I’m bending so many rules with what I do, but if you don’t understand the rules to begin with, you’ll tie yourself in knots. One of the biggest rules is there’s no rules. (Ian) Absolutely, I was just about to say you know, you know rules are made for the abeyance of fools, and the guidance of wise men. (Scott) Exactly. (Ian) I’m not sure who it was that said it, but you know, it’s quite true. (Scott) If you are bearer of the rules you’re not an artist I suppose. A lot of these colours really don’t move in hue at the start. What I mean by that, is that all the mixing is done on the canvas really here at this stage. But I’m not worried about that at the moment. There’s nothing worse than a painting that just doesn’t move in hue much, You know, if you use to much of one hue and don’t shift it anywhere, you’re bored of your senses you know, with the same kind of colour. And that’s exactly what I’m doing, I’m using the same kind of colour, but it’s only an underpainting. And it’s only the base layer which will then be manipulated on top. And hopefully we’ll just get into some oil painting on the first painting, to show you how that happens. So we’re getting to the stage now were I’m kind of happy with the amount of drips, the amount of movement of paint, and the amount that the elements are effecting each other. They were starting to cover each other. I quite like the amount of bare canvas that’s shining through. So I’m now going to – as soon as I turn this to be on the level, it’s going to stop these drips moving anywhere, so I’ve got to be happy with where the drips have gone. And again, the drips will be a lot more subtle by the final piece. Then I can start manipulating the wet paint that’s down, and you’ll see how I do that on the level – on the flat. Okay, the next stage is down on the flat. I’m happy with the way these drips are going, but I’m going to add another element that makes reference to the liquidization of something solid moving to liquid. And before this is dry, its maybe just tacky wet. I’ll start to just pick out areas to wet again. So this wetness is going to eat into that paint that isn’t quite dry yet, and it’s going to create a reference to that liquid that I’m looking for. And at the same time I can start to refine some of the areas that are beginning to dry, and there will be much more control to it. So I’m controlling all this chaos. I’m creating the chaos and then I’ll control it. I think we’re just about ready to leave the acrylic stage. I would really only be working underpainting. Again, this is nowhere near the finished painting, but actually a lot of this energy is going to be apparent by the end of the painting, and the combination of different layers working together is what I’m all about. So the next layer that we’re going to work on the other painting, because this one will still be wet, is going to be about emphasising what’s good, and what needs covered up. Because the first stage of oil painting on top of acrylic, I tend to just – it’s quite a matte finish that’s on it just now. And I’m using a medium to oil out, and it’s literally just coating this acrylic pretty much really to get some paint on this, yeah – some more colour. And again, we’re going to start like I’m going to start with just the basic colours that I’m known for, the cyan, magenta and yellow. But what I want to start with very early on, a real feel of light. So I just go in and kind of a glaze across, and I’m just using that oil that’s on the canvas you know, to move that paint around, immediately we’ll get an idea. Now I’m loosing, I’m loosing the white of the canvas, but I can then paint opaque white on top of it later on. So it starts to change very quickly at this stage, and all I’m doing is refining the colour, and all I’m thinking about is atmosphere. There’s going to be a bit of drawing that needs to come back into this, back into this. A bit of drawing needs to start into this, because there’s basically no drawing involved in it, but the basic shapes are there. But those shapes need to be refined because they’re not accurate. They’re not really accurate, but they probably never will be accurate, because accuracy is not as important as confidence. (Ian) So Scott, obviously you’re very drawn to the West Coast of Scotland, which is perfectly understandable. One of the paintings that I particularly like was Applecross Pass, one you might want to shed a little bit more information on that one? (Scott) Yeah, first of all, I mean I called it Applecross Pass; it’s actually Bealach na Ba. But painting that painting Applecross Pass was for the benefit of those that were very familiar with the kind of gallic origins of these places. Well the Bealach na Ba, near Applecross, is this extraordinary high assent, that goes up as if you’re going up into the alps in France or somewhere. But it was you know, any petrol heads love it, any cyclists love it, and the views from the top are incredible. But Scotland’s got this idea that you’ve got this Root Sixty Six version in Scotland, which is the North Coast Five Hundred. And the North Coast Five Hundred is this idea that you go up these roads that connect across the highlands of Scotland. And that’s one of the highlights for me when you get these beautiful views from the top to Rassay, Sky and Rona, the Isle of Rona’s just behind, so that’s what you see in that. I’ve also painted a painting called Rona Sky Raasay, and I’ve also painted many images of Sky from Rassay. (Ian) Yeah, Sky’s obviously a real passion for you and me as well. I mean it really is a beautiful Island. There’s a lot of variety there, and the cooler ridges – just absolutely magnificent. You’ve got another terrific painting called Raasay Road, and I’ve driven that road. You know, it really is breathtaking. (Scott) Yeah, and you know, there’s a story behind that road and it’s called Calum’s Road, built by one guy. And it’s like the only road in Raasay, but it just goes up. Raasay’s a very small Island, but because of its positioning, you get to see the colours at their best really, where you get to see all the different parts of Sky. Sky’s a very varied Island; there’s so much going on in it. You’ve got the hills, you got they call them the Wings of Sky – the peninsula’s that reach out from the central sort of hills, and for an artists theres so much; it’s so varied. (Ian) So, Scott, it’s been fantastic to come up and meet you here. And you know, you’ve got a fabulous studio right next to your house. I know it’s all brand new and you’ve not been here very long. It’s terrific – obviously you’re able to be next to the family as well. (Scott) Yeah, that’s so important, I’ve always worked from a home studio, but we’ve only recently moved to this part. And you know, I’ve got purpose built, detached place to work, and it’s got a second floor as well, so the floor upstairs is Gill’s’ forty, so she is behind the scenes doing a lot of the website work, and all the organisation, to keeping me on the straight and narrow. And I’ve got the kids next door, where every things contained. So Arran and Sophia are also good artists themselves. They’re six and four, and you know, the artists of the future maybe. (Ian) It’s in the family. (Scott) Yeah, maybe their future, their future on my YouTube channel actually, you can see them outside in the backyard on my hometown just painting away. I think the freedom, the freedom in such a young, I mean I think Arran was three when I first filmed him. And the freedom that comes with the naivety is you know, a lot of adult artists can learn from that. I think it was Picasso that said – what did he say? He said: We’re all born artists, (Ian) All children are artists. (Scott) but we just got to work out how to stay that way, yeah. (Ian) Yeah, yeah, it’s a wonderful quote isn’t it? (Scott) Yeah, so true. (Ian) Well the weather was dreich this morning as you said, (Scott) Dreich it was, yes. (Ian) and the weather’s changed quite considerably, so I hope that we’re going to get some closing shots (Scott) Light from darkness. (Ian) outside with a view of the county fields which (Scott) Yes. (Ian) that would be wonderful. But it’s been absolutely terrific. (Scott) Fantastic to have you on the show here, and you know, Colour In Your Life. We got some colour here, and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the other artists that you feature on the show. (Ian) Thanks so much. Well we’ve had an absolutely awesome day here today with Scott Naismith. And Scott, I just want to thank you mate. It’s been absolutely fantastic and you’ve created some wonderful work here today. (Scott) Thank you. (Ian) Where can we find Scott Naismith’s work? (Scott) Right here, right here, here in Glasgow, in Lindsay, in a way. As well as this show here, I’m on YouTube as well, YouTube dot com slash Scott Naismith, and Scott Naismith dot com. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the rest of that stuff which I’m sure is very much like Colour In Your Life as well. (Ian) Absolutely, you know, don’t forget folks, we’re out there on Facebook, we’re out there on YouTube, and if you’re watching on YouTube – don’t forget to subscribe. And you can find the website which is colour in your life dot com dot au. We’ve had a fantastic day, thanks for watching. Don’t forget: put some colour in your life.

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