Archie McDougall
BSc(Hons) MSc CEng MIET

Oil Paintings & Drawings
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  Oil Painting

Although I do use other mediums for painting and drawing, it is oils which I consider my main focus. The richness and depth of colour is hard to achieve in other medium. For my studio work I favour the more classical approach using an underpainting for initial sketching followed by multiple layers of colour. These layers are probably not like the classical glazes but more a mixture of styles based on what the specific painting requires. The still life painting on the left was completed in studio under controlled lighting conditions over several sessions allowing the multiple layer technique to work at its best. The resulting richness of colour and luminence of the highlights benefits from this approach.

I also like the alla prima approach which can produce wonderfull soft edges and blends and maintain that freshness of application that brings a painting to life. Painting outdoors "en plein air" does, of course, favour the alla prima approach but, even there, I have been known to re-visit the same location over several days to bring a painting to conclusion.  

   All the usual oil painting surfaces have been used in my oil paintings. Canvas, panel and paper being the most common. Panels are made from MDF board which has been sealed with several layers of gesso primer making it a very durable painting support. I prefer using panels for small to medium size paintings (up to about 50cm x40cm) and find that the smoother surface is especially suitable for more detailed paintings such as still life. I sometimes use panels which have extra fine Belgian linen fixed to the surface using an acid free glue. The linen is then oil primed ready for the painting process. I find this type of surface suits my style of painting and results in a very robust finished painting having excellent archival qualities. The "extra fine" linen does not show as much grain as a typical canvas and is also more suited to a more detailed finish

Paper specifically designed for oil painting is a very convenient surface and can result in just as good a finish as the other surfaces although it may not be the best suited to heavy palette knife work. Finished oil paintings on paper are certainly much easier to store and to frame. The paper I use is a specially designed oil paper which can directly accept oil paint without any degradation of the paper itself. 
The oil paints I use are based on the centuries old linseed oil binder and coloured pigments with a few more modern chemical improvements added. The lightfastness of these paints has been tested and quantified and offers excellent assurance of their long term maintenance of colour. They do take a time to dry, especially during the winter, but I find this more of an advantage than a hinderance. My process tends to have several paintings in progress at any one time so I can work on one while others dry.