I’m so excited about my pearly shadows! It’s not even boring painting dots! I could do it for hours! I’d call it a zen way to paint, but I don’t know if a real zen person would agree.
The way to make pearly shadows is to use warm gray next to cool gray. The art viewer’s eye will mix the dots for you and you get a lively gray not a dead gray. This is an old trick that a lot of artists know in theory but they don’t like gray so they don’t do it.
In this photo you can see the leg of the horse on the left and the crab in shadow on the right both still in the underpainting stage, and the flower stem crossing over the crab.
I made a lot of progress on the painting but I want to work on the green leaves and stems more. So far I’m doing the background, table top and flower, all cool colors on top of warm underpainting colors. I haven’t started on the crab colors or the horse or the flowers. I might have to wait for this to dry a little so I don’t smear it.
This is how I prepare the paint for dotting. Mix terpenoid in a little at a time with the palette knife until it’s smooth and soft then pick up a blob with the palette knife and mix more terpenoid into the paint with a paintbrush. Be careful not to have a blob of paint on the bottom of the palette knife because it might drip onto the painting causing a bad blip. With a good brush and runny paint you can get 20 or more dots if the paint is flowing off the brush nicely, without going back to reload the brush with paint. I’m using #3 round brushes. I’ve seen pointillist paintings with smaller dots but I think this is working.
If you hold the brush in one hand and the palette knife in the other hand you don’t have to keep reaching back to the palette for more paint. It’s a slow process but less wasted movement is a little more efficient over the course of the painting.