Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blocking In

The sky comes first, but before detail can be added to the painting, it is best to block in the painting, which means to put a base coat of paint on the rest of the picture.  Thankfully, this canvas is small compared to my last two paintings and it wasn't too hard to cover most of it in the two hour period I put aside for painting each week.

It is a quick coat of paint, the colors do not have to be perfect because they will be painted over anyway, but it is fun to see a blank canvas start to come to life.  Where once there was blank space, now there is Viridian Green mixed with French Ultramarine, Titanium White, Raw Umber, and Yellow Ochre.  Water floods in matching color with the sky and land it is reflecting.  All that is left is a fire pit and two adirondacks on the sand, facing out toward the water.  Hopefully I can add more this week.  It is so much fun to watch the scenery come to life!

~The Anonymous Bard 10/27/11

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Sky's the Limit

I just began my latest painting, a scene from a marsh on Cape Cod.  I have been doing many forest paintings as of late and it was refreshing to paint the sky once again.

There were two colors in the sky when this picture had been taken on a warm summer afternoon: a subtle Phthalo Blue mixed with Titanium White and Permanent Alizarin Crimson as well as another shade with less Phthalo Blue to create a whitish-red for the clouds.  I dabbed the paint on with a large brush, applying the first layer of oils the 15" x 30" canvas had seen.  Once a full coat of paint had been applied to the top third of the painting, it was time for my favorite part: the fan brush.

Everything in painting is about color and texture.  In the case of the sky, it is the absence of texture that makes the background and foreground come to life.  To remove the texture created in the application of the paint, there is only one tool, the previously mentioned fan brush.  With a delicate hand, i slid the brush from left to right across the top of the canvas.  The textures immediately vanished in the wake of the brush as the clouds melted into sky and sky into cloud.  And just like that, the sky was done.

With a brilliant sky in place, there is no limit on how great the rest of the painting can be.

~The Anonymous Bard 10/21/11