August 24, 2011 - Aspen Trees Step-by-Step (Part Deux)

"Well begun is half done."
- att. Mary Poppins, but see InfoPlease Sources

The love story continues, with warm thanks to Judi of Approachable Art for the kind comment that has inspired me to promptly carry on!

In Part One, we discussed the project genesis -- read: "Holy expletive-deleted, I've got to deliver this for exhibit in four days!" -- initial underpainting, and value sketch. Now begins the fun/messy part.

On Monday morning, I sketched the trees freehand in charcoal and then mixed up nice big puddles of burnt umber, diox red, and Indian yellow (again). As a condiment, I added about a quarter-cup of Golden Regular Gloss Gel to the palette (it's worth every penny).

I then used a painting knife to begin negative-painting the background; this is a watercolor technique but can be used with any medium where you are glazing darker colors on top of lighter ones.  To change up the opacity of the pure paints, I smudged gloss gel over the wet paint at irregular intervals.

Here is the result, looking pleasantly soft and moody:

To get a translucent effect where background meets sky, I double-loaded the painting knife with pure Indian yellow and pure gel medium, then twisted and turned the tip of the painting knife to gently smoosh them together on the canvas. (This is a watercolor technique; if I was working in watercolor, I'd be using water instead of gel medium for similar effects).

Things were rolling along so well that I stuck with the painting knife and laid in highlights on the tree trunks with white gesso.  I would hesitate to duplicate this step in the future, though; I had to spend significant time later to soften these hard edges:

At the end of this step, the painting had entered the "Ohmigod stage." This is shorthand for, "Ohmigod, this looks so bad that I am going to burn all my paintbrushes immdiately and enroll in stockbroker school."

The only solution to the OMG stage, however, is to take a deep breath and paint right through it. So that's what we will do in the next and final entry.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Seaver said...

That's funny, the OMG stage. When I talk about it with my students, I call it what my teacher did....the ugly stage. You're right, you just have to take courage and keep painting!

Your painting is ethereal, yet so nicely textural. Loved seeing the process.