Please find below several demonstrations showing the stages an oil painting goes through to reach completion, with commentary by Peter. 

River Teign near a weir, Oil on board, 9 x 12 ins

This view was from a bridge looking down the wooded banks of the Teign in Devon, on a mellow Autumn day with breathtaking colours, despite the lack of sunlight.

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Stage 1

On this occasion, I scrub in the composition directly without any preliminary drawing. When I am painting on site I usually start this way, speed being of the essence. The paint is thinned a little with white spirit and not put on too wet, to avoid a slippery surface. There is little direct sunlight in this scene, so there is not much contrast between the lightest lights and darkest darks. This flat light doesn't provide the drama of a sunlit scene, but the fabulous Autumn colours make up for a close-toned view like this.

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Stage 2

Here I paint in the sky colour and the distant blue hill to give the feeling of distance. I also start to paint over the darker under-painting with the mid-distant tree forms, using my 1-inch Household brush.

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Stage 3

Now I further develop all the trees and the rocky banks, using subtly different tones of greens and oranges, made up from Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow Light, Permanent Rose and Cobalt Blue to cool the mixes, with some Burnt Sienna added in places. The tree trunks and branches are also developed.

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Stage 4

I now turn my attention to the water which is hardly disturbed by any wind, thus giving mirror-like reflections - a joy to paint and much easier than rapid, tumbling water over rocks. I place in the reflections with vertical stokes using an Acrylix No4 Short Flat brush.

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Stage 5

The water is given more work, being careful to tone down the colours compared to the foliage colours it is reflecting.

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Stage 6

To finish the painting, I paint in the light part of the water at the bottom of the picture and lightly drag the light colour horizontally across the previously painted passages to give the feeling of a light breeze ruffling the surface, using a sable-type brush and a very light touch so as not to pick up the colour beneath. A little more work is done on the rock forms and branches and the foreground sapling on the lower right is painted in with my No1 Rigger brush. Finally I paint in the overhanging branch on the right and a few impasto dabs of an orangey mix are placed with my fat Household brush and a palette knife. Fin!

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