Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Winter 08 Classes Week 2

To view the paintings go the the on-line gallery at: http://picasaweb.google.com/artclasspics/ClassProjects

Winter Morning – Acrylic

The next step is to put in a line of closer trees. They will be closer than the first line of trees we put in, but still far enough away that we do not need to do too much detail. Please keep this in mind when working in this area: Think forest not individual trees.

Using the biggest flat brush you can use comfortably for the size of canvas you are working on (I’m working on a 16” x 20” so I used a No 10 flat bristle brush, if your canvas is smaller, using a No 6 or 8 might work better for you), mix Ultra marine BLUE with, dioxizine PURPLE, and either sap or Hooker’s GREEN (I will just use the capitalized words for these colors for short) with just a touch of WHITE (either gesso or Titanium white) to lighten. This will be a very dark color and it should be to the bluish side, but it should not be so dark that it looks black so add the white carefully to change the value but not so much that it turns grey.

Drag your brush through your paint to create an edge to the brush. If your bristle brush won’t come to a sharp edge, try a flat sable of a similar size for this step. Using that sharpened edge, you can create the trunks of some of the taller trees in this section by just touching the edge of the brush to the canvas to make a vertical line. One or two lengths of the brush should be enough to get started. Remember, this is a forest there will be trees of all sizes so make some of the trees taller and/or closer in appearance along with shorter one.

From the line you just made (it’s probably best to create the tops of these trees as you go along rather than all at once, you could end up with phone poles), using the corner of your brush and starting a bit down from the top of this line, touch the canvas then “flick” the brush quickly to create the top most branches. As you work your way down the tree, the branches become longer and the growth becomes denser so use a scumbling/scrubbing stroke near the base of the trees to fill in the gaps (here is where I want you to think thick forest) . You will be covering up some but not all of the tree line you did before, don’t worry about it you needed that line to show distance where you don’t paint over it.

Work your way across the canvas, this line of trees goes behind the large cliff on the right (as you look at your canvas). Vary the size and don’t be afraid to make some of the trees break the plane of the edges of the mountains behind them. This overlap will create distance in your painting.

While your trees are drying we will under paint the snow for the cliffs on the right and for the closer hills. You will need your bristle brush for this step, with it mix your blue, purple, a touch of burnt SIENNA and white to create a medium bluish grey mixture, it should be a shade lighter than the darkest part of your sky. This will be the under painting for the snow on the cliffs and variations of this color will be used to under paint the rest of the snow area. Contrary to what you might think, when you paint something that is naturally white like snow, you do not start off painting it white. Look at something that is white such as a building or a wall where you can see light and shadow, you will notice that in the shadow that white wall is a definite blue color, we need that blue color under our snow so when we get to the whitest whites, we will be able to see them, it will also give our snow depth and texture.

Using the dry brush technique (dampened brush with little paint) you are going to create snow capped boulders on the cliffs. Look at the brush strokes you painted in the cliffs, you can use them to “find” boulder shapes. Paint the snow caps on these boulders with rounded brush strokes. Snow is soft so keep your edges soft. Think about how snow drifts and collects in crevices as you are painting. Don’t get carried away and cover all of your cliff-side but be sure to take your snow over the edge of the cliff so you don’t have a dark outline on the edge next to the sky.

Using the same mixture of paint, under paint the ridge that the last line of trees you painted are sitting on. It is okay if some of the tree color mixes in with the snow color. Don’t worry about it, this is under painting. Keep in mind that this ridge is also going to be behind our road so bring it down far enough that the road can be in front of it.

To this same mixture (blue, purple, touch of sienna and white) add more white to lighten it, if it is too grey, add a bit more blue, this color should be a couple shades lighter than the paint you just used. This will be for the reflected highlights in the cliff snow and the snow on the trees you just painted.

In the cliffs, using the dry brush technique again, just hit the tops of the snow you just painted. You should not go over everything, just the tops of the rocks to give them a bit more form.

In the tree line, it you had to use the sable brush you may use it again, load your brush with paint (this is not dry brush so you can have some paint in your brush, just not gobs) and just like you did when you were painting the tree tops, use the corner of the brush and a flicking downward motion to create the snow covered branches. Again as always, don’t cover up all your dark areas; you just want to suggest that the trees are covered in snow. (See detail on photo page.)

If you haven’t done so, you might want to sketch in the nearer hills and road at this time with you vine charcoal. Keep in mind perspective when you are drawing your road. The road is at a slight curve and is going over a hill, the left edge of the road should come in from a couple inches up the left side of your canvas, try to keep any lines in your paintings from going out the corners, it visually points your viewer out of your painting like an arrow. The front of the right side of the road should come to almost 2/3s across from the left corner of you canvas and narrows as it curves back around the hill.

Using that same snow color you just used for the highlights, under paint the rest of your hills. This is where brush strokes are your best friend. While this isn’t exactly dry brush, you can scrub the paint to get the canvas covered keep in mind what and where you are painting. You are painting snow that is covering gentle hills these hills are rounded so use rounded strokes and follow the form of the hills when you are painting them. When you get to the road, you can add a touch more white to your mixture but when you paint the road flatten you strokes, they should be horizontal so the road will look flat. Where the edges of the road touch the hills, be sure to blend them into the hills on both sides so there are no hard edges between the two. Use your finger to blend if you want but there should be no line of demarcation between the road and the hills, your brush strokes will show the difference. At this point your entire canvas should be under painted.

Next time: We build a house and start the highlights.

Fantasy Ireland – Watercolor

To view the paintings go to the picture gallery at: http://picasaweb.google.com/artclasspics/ClassProjects

I thought that my sky was a bit too grey so I added a some more blue by turning the painting upside down, starting at the horizon with the water and using just clear water I painted the entire sky area (wet into wet). Next, while the paper is still wet, I painted a light wash of ultra marine BLUE from the water, up to the top of the cliff and along the edge (paint right through the castle area), then I rinsed my brush and using clear water, helped the color blend up to the top of the paper. (I will used the capitalized color name for convenience unless I indicate otherwise.)

Adding color to the cliffs can be done in a couple of ways either wet into wet (see above) or wet on dry (wet brush, tough not dripping, on dry paper), what ever is easier for you. In either case, work in small areas one at a time so you can control the paint.

Mix burnt SIENNA, cadmium YELLOW and a little touch of dioxizine PURPLE and water to get another pale wash. The purple is to slightly grey the color and a little will go a long way so be careful when adding it to your mixture. If you have ochre or raw sienna on your palette, you may use either of those colors straight just dilute them with water to get a pale wash. You can paint non adjacent cliffs at the same time, let them dry then paint the other cliffs. Vary this wash by adding a bit more sienna to it for the closer cliffs.

Start in the area that would be in between the cliffs (land side). As you paint out towards the ocean, use water to blend the color to the outside edge of the cliff so that it will look darker in close to the land side. This is so you can distinguish between the layers of cliffs by playing light against dark.

The grassy areas are a mixture of sap GREEN, blue, a touch of sienna and water. It will be a medium density wash, not quite as pale as the wash for the cliffs. Painting from the bottom of the grass on the cliffs using either the wet into wet or wet on dry method, paint the grass one section at a time, do not got to the top of the grass with this color, instead, pick up some yellow on your brush – no need to rinse it – then paint the top edge of the grass with the yellow and let the two colors blend together. Rinse your brush and on the tip of your brush, pick up pure blue and paint it along the bottom edge of the grass and let it blend up into the first green wash you put down. Do this for each section of grass letting the touching section dry before painting its neighbor like you did with the cliffs.

On the cliff behind the closest cliff, when you are painting the area behind to it closest cliff, you can negative paint a suggestion of grasses on the closer cliff. What that means is you leave some of the light areas by painting around them leaving a jagged line in the closer grass suggesting grass blades. Negative painting is used a lot in watercolor to save the lighter areas of your painting; you are basically painting the negative areas around an object to show the object. (See detail on the photo page)

Under all of the grasses before the rocks of the cliffs start, there is a very dark shadow that needs to be put in at this time. I use my angle brush for this by loading blue and purple on the point of my brush with only the water in the brush (the brush is damp not dripping), basically, straight off my palette. I run this mixture under all the grass edges rinse my brush and with just a damp brush I touch the lower edge of this paint and blend it down the cliff. It should be very dark right under the grasses and fade to nothing down the cliff.

Painting the castle: You might want to use a smaller brush here because the size of the castle is rather small; you will be mixing your blue, purple and sienna plus enough water to make a dark grey. This color should be at least 2 shades darker than the sky behind it and can either be to the blue or to the sienna side. This is still a wash so don’t get your mixture to concentrated with paint, we still have work to do when it is dry.

Using that same color you can paint the first rocks of your rock wall. The rocks are just shapes for now and you can add other colors on your wall as you paint it. Remember to negative paint the grasses along the bottom of the wall in the foreground. As the wall goes over the hill it gets smaller and the colors blend into each other. The wall in the distance is more of a dark broken line.

Next time: Adding some detail.

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