Winnisquam Sunrise – Wileman Review

Oil sketch of a sunrise at Lake WinnisquamYesterday, I watched Peter Wileman’s video, Painting the Light in Oils.

My initial reaction was, “Okay, I learned a few things from watching him work, but I’m more interested in how he created those small, early sketches than how he completed the full-sized paintings from them.”

The video introduction was very good.  I was interested in his color choices and the brushes he uses.  I’m going to try using MDF as a support, too.  Seeing the difference between his work on MDF and on canvas… that was impressive.  MDF won, hands down.

The five paintings he completes during the video are mostly watching him paint, with occasional references to what he’s doing.

I can’t recommend this video for a beginner and probably not for an intermediate painter, either.  I think you need to recognize what he’s doing that’s different.  If you haven’t seen a lot of people paint, or you haven’t completed a bazillion paintings yourself, I’m not sure there’s much to learn from this video.

By the way: Ignore the video close-ups of the palette showing a brush scooping up some paint; it’s usually not the same color or brush he’s actually working with, at the time.

The book of the same name provided a little more information, but — all in all — I wasn’t very impressed.

His paintings are lovely.  His use of color is interesting and more courageous than I usually am.  He does capture light beautifully in his work.  That’s what I wanted to learn more about.

His style… I’m not so sure.  It reminds me of a lot of my mom’s friends’ paintings, especially people like Don Stone and Paul Strisik —  mostly, their work in the 1960s — around Rockport (MA).

But, I’ve decided to try something from each art book and video I have, just to see what happens.

Today, the light is dismal.  It’s grey, flat, and rainy.  Even sitting next to the floor-to-ceiling window on the “sunny” side of our living room, everything looks pretty blah.

I chose a photo I’d taken, earlier this summer.   It’s lovely, and I may get prints made from it, to sell at a local shop.

I did the b&w sketch like Wileman does. I did a small sketch in colored pencils, next.  That’s my oil sketch in the upper left corner of this post.  It’s 9″ x 12″ on canvas board.

Frankly, I’m astonished.  It’s a genuinely good painting, even though it loses a lot in this photo.  (As I said, the light is terrible today.  I’ll try another photo on a sunny day, when the colors will be more accurate, and you won’t see so many shadows from the texture of the paint.)

Yes, this does look a little like my mother’s work.  That makes me wince a bit.  I loved many of her paintings, but other pieces were too rote for my liking.  She swore it was the time spent at Mass. Art, where everything had to be sketched as cubed, spheres, and cones, first.  Then, they were allowed to build their work on top of those geometric forms.

That’s one reason Mum was firm about me not going to art school.  She felt that the training had curbed a lot of her originality.

I spent about an hour on this piece, and I’m not sure if it’s finished yet.  I may see something that I’ll want to change, tomorrow.  Or, I may wait until we have a good sunny day — the weather forecast looks good for Friday — so I can better judge the colors.

Anyway, mimicking some of  Wileman’s style was a good experience.  I know I’ll integrate some of this in future paintings.

And, honestly, for a painting that took me an hour on a dreary day, I’m pleased with the results… more than I expected to be.

Leave a Reply