Norman Rossiter: Winter Scene in Oils

Norman Rossiter was born in 1950 in Torquay, South Devon and spent most of his childhood watching and drawing
local flora and fauna. He exhibited his first painting at the age of twelve. Moving to the East Midlands after leaving college
he worked within the advertising and display industry for sixteen years. In 1986 he became a freelance designer/illustrator
and artist. In 1990 Norman decided to dedicate all his efforts to painting and what he loved most….wildlife and the
countryside. His paintings of Game Birds and wildfowl are in many private collections and the majority of his work
is commissioned. He has exhibited throughout the UK and overseas, including four very successful one-man shows
selling in London, Kenya, Australia and the USA. His work has won many awards including being selected for the final
of the ‘Not the Turner prize’

For this demonstration he chose to work with oils though mostly he uses acrylics these days. He opts for Alkyd oil paints
because they dry quicker than traditional oils (slower than acrylics) ie touch dry in less than 24 hours making them ideal
 for applying several layers, painting wet into wet or travelling to paint ‘en plein aire’ as he enjoys doing. He also uses
 Windsor and Newton medium to help speed up drying times. His favourite surface is laminated hot press paper or
hardboard with two coats of gesso (so much cheaper) but canvases are easier and don’t need priming. He likes to
 keep things as simple and convenient as possible.

For this piece he scumbled Yellow Ochre on to a canvas to remove the stark white. When outside he often goes
 straight to paint with no drawing first but today he sketched loosely indicating the shadows. He left the sky until last,
not making it an overriding starting feature as others often do. Using a palette knife he applied a lot of paint, quickly,
moving it around easily. He is accustomed to working quickly as outside the weather can change very quickly. He applied
 Light Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber to roughly outline the foliage. Ultramarine and Prussian Blue were applied to
create the shadows, very subtle but effective. He doesn’t use black, only Paynes Grey mixed with a blue to give a darker
colour. Norman always carries at least two acrylic greens from Sap, Chrome, or Hooker but never buys green oil paint
 preferring instead to mix his own colour. He built up the layers of colour and detail gradually and added lots of white highlights.

If he is not happy with a painting he leaves it for a while, maybe a day or two and then goes back to it with fresh
eyes to change it .He recommends sketchbooks for recording field sketches and thoughts ,also doodling as great
memory joggers which are really important to create paintings from.