Friday, January 13, 2017

"The Circle of Flame" Time Lapse

By David Palumbo

It was about a year ago that I last posted a time-lapse video, that one being a 12x16 inch figure study, but I don't know that I've ever shared a process video for a full scale narrative piece  Documenting something large that spans multiple sessions comes with a lot of additional challenges, so I wanted to include a few notes that I expect people might be curious about while watching:

The size of the painting is 18x36 inches and I'm working in oils on gessoed Masonite panel.  My brushes are all square tipped Loew Cornell watercolor brushes and my paints are assorted brands with the following palette: Titanium White, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Orange, Scheveningen Yellow Deep, Nickle Titanium Yellow, Winsor Green, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Ultramarine Blue, Kings Blue Light, Lamp Black.  My medium is a mix of turp and linseed oil, which I use sparingly.

The board is prepped and underpainting already in place in this video but you can see the Window Light video (linked above) for more info on that step.  Everything else is shown at 55x actual speed and was recorded in two sessions (with several days between to allow the first layer to dry).  The break between days happens at about the 4:22 mark and you can see me oiling out the board there before getting back into it.  This brings the value and color back and gives the surface just a little bit of glide.  As you can see, the main thing that I'm doing overall is laying in thin fields of paint and building thicker on top of that as my mark making gets more specific and my color/value choices more certain.

Additional thoughts:
The most glaring thing that occurred to me while getting this video together is that, for me, execution is much easier to show and describe than the conceptual stages.  In many ways, I also feel it is easier to do and that the real work is largely done before I'm ready to pick up a brush.  At the very beginning of everything, there are infinite possibilities and every choice narrows that field until the final brushstroke, when it is done and has become a definite specific thing.  In the future, I'll try to find a way to document those earlier steps.  Going backwards, there tend to be massive gaps between a rough thumbnail, some reference photos, and a fully composed painting.  If watching the final execution gives the sense that it has a smooth effortless flow to it, that it builds to completion in a linear and predictable way, that's only because I can never accurately record the improvisation heavy chaos of building my roadmap.

All recording, editing, and music by me.


  1. Thanks . . . this was interesting, informative and helpful.

  2. Just a head's up, your cat grooms itself for a full minute starting around 7:15.

  3. Excellent video, David! I was wondering, as a person new to oil paints, what is it that you rub onto your painting at about the 4:23 point? It looks like it comes out of a can? Thanks!

    1. Sure, that's where I'm oiling out. I just use my medium (turp/linseed mixture) though I've also used oliogel. Thanks!

  4. Really impressive video! Thank you David!

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