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Old Country Mill

Tom0779 15 Jun 2020

The 2nd and last mill from the joy of painting. This one is totally different from the other one of season 3. This one is acrylics on 24 x 18 cm canvas panel. I have to say that the mill itself is much easier to paint then S3E9. But these kind of soft backgrounds (they are not that popular than others) with dozens of layers are very tough for me to paint. Especially with acrylics. I tried my best but I am not totally happy. I went really crazy with the red in the foreground, I hope it is not too much. I think for the mill maybe the canvas is a bit too small, but it was the only panel left. I need to order some new ones.



Beautiful painting Tom! The layers of trees look great and red does not disturb the eye at all. Mill is great! Tree on the right is very dimensional! Great job!

Tom0779 Multi-Medium-Talent

Thanks Sunnylady. Overall I am not unhappy with this one. It might not be up with the popular scenes but it ins´t that easy to create those huge number of different layers. I wasn´t surprised that only a few ones give this one a try.

I was telling Jin that I am reading the book about composition and it provokes interesting creative thinking and thinking overall. I guess this episode has difficult compositional structure and a lot of technical challenges as well. You will be laughing I drew around 10 various drawings where I am limited with geometrical shapes and was supposed to test various approaches to compositions. Only black and white colors. It gave me such an interesting retrospective into my paintings to understand why some of them bother me a lot.

Well of course all this blah-blah is not related to your painting, i just wanted to share my recent developments on the theory. I am at the chapter of contrast now and coming to the understanding why I like contrasting colors. I hope this book will help me to be mindful about composition and not just rely on my gut feeling to convey the message to the viewer.

Tom0779 Multi-Medium-Talent

Well it is always interesting for me to hear different ways to painting. I personally always struggle with compositions where a very misty and light background is needed. I think in this one I did ok. I want to try a lot more of these paintings. Bob mentioned it several times that he likes these soft paintings with the almost invisible background objects. All I tired until now where rather bad, as I said this one is okay.
I have a tendency to use very less water in my acrylics paintings, which is not an advantage for such scenes. I think a book you mentioned will be helpful, in case you understand the contrasts and how to use them you can create such backgrounds more easy, but practice is needed.

You are absolutely correct Tom with using less water for acrylics as it kills the bond between canvas and the acrylic. If you want to try to achieve the same effect like watercolors ( i tried it once and i was pleased), another special transparent media shall be used. I bought an industrial acrylic paint thinner and used it with a bit of water to give me flowing texture. It was couple of years ago. I did Italy landscape with cypress trees and fields at that time and I do not have that painting to show you unfortunately. Industrial paint thinner because artistic is 10 times less in volume but the same price.

You are totally right about practice, I certainly need more to first understand better and embrace all those effects that may be achieved.

The way you did background trees in this one is very-very nice. Especially the pink trees at the horizon that catch attention due to the subtlety of the transition and pink and green contrast!

Great work!
You are very good at drawing small waterfalls and layers of bushes. I think this is difficult even with oil painting, especially with the wet-on-wet technique (colors tend to dirty).

Tom0779 Multi-Medium-Talent

Thanks Sunnylady. I did not know this yet. For Skies a similar effect like watercolors would be very nice. Maybe in this particular painting the texture of the canvas is a bit rough. I usually prefer a very smooth canvas, so the paint flows much better. For these small formats you need to step back a bit from the monitor, then they come out much nicer. The colors may be a bit different than in reality, as I took the picture it was already later in the evening, even I went outside the daylight was already much weaker. Unfortunately I covered a second pinkish layer in the right side with the big tree :)

Tom0779 Multi-Medium-Talent

Thank you Jin. Yes I think with oil it might be a challenge to create this much layers without creating mud. I guess that´s the reason why Bob just rubs the brush to create the bushes. This ensures him to create a very very thin layer. I did a similar painting (S25E13) in oil using liquid clear. But this did not work very well. You can check if you want, I posted this too. In my opinion these backgrounds look much easier than they are. I am pleased you like it.

Tom, the grid does not bother me at all. I just was checking all my 16 by 20s inches (40 by 50 cm) and saw that I have a grid seen on all of them and smaller the size more pronounced it is. I never paid attention to it until today because Dracula posted close up of his Savrasov study, but even though they do not bother me.

Tom0779 Multi-Medium-Talent

I agree, it is sometimes just a problem for the painter her-/himself :) I sometimes think the pictures come out worse than they are in reality.

Tom0779 Multi-Medium-Talent

By the way. This was my first acrylic painting where I made my "own" black, out of phtalo green and a touch alizarin crimson. This black is really much better as it does not darken the color so much and it is dominating the whole mixture. In case you faced similar problems with using black acrylics like Carbon Black or Ivory Black you might give this mixture a try. As far as I know this is the same pigment than Bobs midnight black.

Yep, AC+PG are pigments marked on BR black. I feel it is better too rather than just black pigments.

About photos - totally agree, sometimes it is a struggle to get really nice photo!

Felix Creator of

Great discussion here! I think I'll need to add a proper forum to the website. 🤔

lightsnow Community Helper

Felix, a forum would be a great idea! I sometimes find myself with lots of questions but am not sure where to ask them. Tom, this is a really nice painting. Love the soft trees that seem to blend into the far background! Great sparse use of orange shrubbery to contrast with all that green as well. Nice layering!

Tom0779 Multi-Medium-Talent

Thank you @lightsnow. I am pleased that you like this one. @Felix: I agree with lightsnow. A forum would be definitely a very good idea for this purpose.

Felix Creator of

The weather this weekend isn't looking to great anyway, I'll see what I can do!

Tom0779 Multi-Medium-Talent

Added the framed painting

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