magnolia painting / debriefing w details


This gray branch is an underpainting for the magnolia with the bright pink and white petals, on top of the Southern magnolia background. I’ll underpaint the flowers in gray next. There’s no avoiding this step because the pink for the flowers is alizarin crimson which is a transparent red and I need the flowers to be opaque on top of the background. One coat of paint won’t do it. First I have to paint it in gray then the red will show up brighter.

To paint these branches I had to put a coat of Maroger medium over the dry canvas first, then paint the gray on top of the medium. That’s what they call “painting in the couch”. The medium couches the paint. I almost skipped the medium but then was glad I used it because I had to redraw my branches with paint a few times to make them graceful. With the Maroger medium on there I could easily wipe off the lines that didn’t go right. It’s easy to make corrections with Maroger medium. You don’t destroy the layers of paint underneath the medium when you wipe some of it off because those layers are dry.  And the medium dries enough over night that you can paint on top of it the next day. Plus, it smells great! (Not everyone likes the smell, it’s kind of strong for indoors, but I have a good air filter running and it’s ok for me.)IMG_2492

This little section could be a secondary focal point because the leaves and branches make a window for the viewer’s eye to go into the more heavily textured paint which is the mulch under the tree with sunlight and shadow.  The eye will compare that texture to the smoother leaves and the brush strokes of the tree. This area shows contrast from black to white which helps make it a focal point. A couple red buds will be coming in on the little branches, so the eye will also have the contrast of red and green in this spot.

The weather hasn’t been good to paint outside. I’m doing this at home, but that’s ok, I did my sketches and mixed my colors in Plein air so I think it will work.

2 thoughts on “magnolia painting / debriefing w details”

  1. I love the attention to the areas of light coming through the leaves at the top and towards the bottom. The painting is looking great! What’s the scale?

    I don’t think you’re loosing a thing by working on this inside. While I am a relative newcomer to plein air painting I find that from enough observation and practice I can come close to that same feeling in a painting. Though there is still no substitute.

    Thanks for sharing about the Maroger medium, I’ll have to investigate for myself!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks about the painting, Trey! I don’t know the scale. Maroger medium is good stuff if you like the smell of oil paint. There aren’t many places to buy it. It’s not in art supply stores. My daughter orders it for me. When I was in art school a local guy made it but he was using a recipe that called for lead. That’s the best recipe. He got sick from it. The lead makes it extra slick to work on. If I could find someone that was cooking it I’d take turns stirring. I think you have to make it outside to avoid lead poisoning. This brand I’m using, Old masters Flemish, doesn’t have lead but it’s ok.

      Liked by 1 person

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