How to Paint Lake Windermere

Artist’s Linseed Oil enables the artist to thin the oil paint into washes, for glazing or colour bleeds. This demonstration on painting Lake Windermere explores wet into wet oil painting for beginners.

Tips on Using Linseed Oil
Knowing how to use linseed oil is one of the basic requirements of the artist. This essential artist's medium adds gloss, flow and retards the drying time of the oil paint. For recreating the delicate tonal variations found in mists, reflections and clouds, liberal amounts of this oil was used in completing the painting of Lake Windermere in NW England. The beginner might find the following pointers useful when experimenting with linseed before possibly trying out the other painting mediums available.
  • Like salt, too much linseed oil cannot be deducted if the paint is too runny, only more paint can be added, which can waste paint. It is best to introduce the oil gradually into the paint mix until the consistency is satisfactory.
  • For smooth brushwork, such as the detailed work of portraits, hair, and monochrome painting, linseed oil is ideal for smooth, flat and an even finish to the oil painting.
  • Linseed oil is ideal for the application of wet into wet techniques where one colour flows into another, rather like those seen within watercolour washes.
  • Linseed oil tends to clog the inside of lids causing difficulty to open. To ease the lid off without breakage, allow hot water to run over the lid for a few minutes and it should ease off.

Art Materials Required

  1. A photograph of Lake Windermere
  2. Acrylic paint in cadmium red
  3. Plenty of linseed oil
  4. Oil paints in the following colours: titanium, pthalo blue, ultramarine, permanent rose, burnt sienna and burnt umber
  5. A 12" x 16" (30.5 x 40.5cm) piece of MDF
  6. A size 3 and size 6 round sable brushes
  7. A ½ inch wide bristle brush
  8. A palette consisting of a china plate or varnished wood.
  9. Small pot of artists’ white spirits
  10. A pot of linseed oil
  11. A few rags
  12. Soft pencil

Wet into Wet Technique

Consideration should be given to the hue of the underlying colour when using wet into wet so that unwanted colour bleeds do not result. In this demonstration, however, wet into wet has been used without worrying about this problem.


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Demonstration on Painting Wet on Wet with Oils
The drawing was transferred onto the painting surface and the lines overlaid with acrylic. This enabled the drawing to show through the ensuing red acrylic wash. Such an underlying paint is known as an imprimatura and helps to set the tone and the mood of the painting. 
How to Glaze With Oil Paints
Once the acrylic paint had dried, liberal amounts of linseed oil were wiped over the painting surface. The oil will stay wet for at least four hours allowing plenty of time for the painting to be completed. Employing such a technique means that the artist can enjoy wet into wet without the concern of the underlying colour bleeding into the overlying painting.
Painting a Sky Wet on Wet
To start with, plenty of white was applied onto the areas representing the rising mist and the clouds. For the blue sky and its reflection on the lake, increasing amounts of pthalo blue was introduced. The red imprimatura and the oily layer on top act together to inject an undercurrent of fluidity and energy into the painting.
Using wet into wet is all about allowing the paint to do what it likes in happy accidents. However, if an area does not work, the paint can easily be wiped off with a large rag and begun again.

A Painting of Lake Windermere

The highlights in the trees were dabbed on by using lemon yellow and white with a little viridian. The shaded areas required pthalo blue and a little burnt umber to provide contrast. The same colour was used for the mountaintops in the distance. By blending in white, they appear to dissolve behind the mist.
The painting was finally completed by gently blending the different areas of tone and colour by using a large soft brush. The harsh silhouettes provide contrast against the soft backgrounds, adding atmosphere to the scene.
This site comprise of pictures and excerpts taken from my two art instruction books. Oil Paintings from Your Garden can be purchased direct from the author via this site, or through Amazon.


My other book, Oil Paintings from the Landscape can be purchased direct from Amazon.


© Rachel Shirley 2010