It doesn’t really look exactly like this. Even though I’m trying to paint nature as closely as I can, this is still my interpretation of the scene. If you got 100 artists who are called realists or naturalists or whatever to paint here, you would get 100 different versions. If I paint the same scene in a few years it won’t look the same.
The colors in this photo aren’t as warm as they are in real life.
If you saw the previous posts, did you notice there were no trunks on the trees across the creek? What if I wanted to simplify? Just make general shapes and not do detail? Those tree trunks wouldn’t be missed but I like them there because they are a design element of short gray vertical lines that remind me of a ladder on its side.
I don’t see nature as simple so I don’t like to leave it at the underpainting stage of general shapes.
The greenish yellow bush on the right is there to break up the line of the edge of the path. As I looked at my painting last night, I decided to kill that sharp edge a little.
This scribble is a stick bush. I did that with my palette knife. It’s another design element to make the viewer’s eye go to the path since the stick bushes follow the edge of the path.
First I used my modified fan brush to go over the whole sedge field again and unify it a little. The dark shadows were too dark. The field is more even than I had originally painted it. Today’s glaze was a correction and now I think its better.
I used the edge of my palette knife to scrape in these stems for the sea oats. The vertical sharp lines here and the softer vertical lines of the tree trunks across the creek are similar design elements, one in the foreground and one in the background. It’s already there. I didn’t have to do any composition, which isn’t my strong suit, all I had to do was copy the beauty.
We have had some great weather for over a week and I hope it lasts. Today I needed suntan lotion. Soon I’ll have to bring the bug spray.
At YAA they told us we have to do a finished background, middle ground and foreground in order to do a real finished painting. This is so the viewer’s eye can find a place of interest to rest by looking into the background.
YAA wasn’t a university but more like a trade school but very intense. They wanted us to learn the ways of the old masters. It’s good to give the illusion of depth in a landscape. That happens by using the tricks to create aerial perspective. You can use the same colors you have mixed for the foreground, just add some gray to make the background color.
I know some modern artists don’t like to use gray because they fear muddy colors. You can avoid muddy colors by mixing the colors on the palette with a palette knife instead of mixing the colors on the painting with a brush. Do I fear muddy colors? Hell no! Muddy colors aren’t bad if you use them right! That said, I often spend 45 minutes or so mixing my colors and adding a few drops of terpenoid in and mixing that until it’s smooth and even. It’s a slower process than modern art where you squirt the color out of the tube and dive right in with a paintbrush.
Don’t use any gray in the foreground colors. That will help separate the background trees from the foreground trees.
I used my modified fan brushes to add the texture to the background trees and dry brushed some branches into the sky. It’s a different texture than the one I made yesterday in the sedge with my palette knife. The heavier palette knife texture is in the foreground and the lighter fan brush texture is in the background.
It was beautiful outside today! sunny, cool and a nice breeze! I worked on the sandy path and sedge for a couple hours. Maybe tomorrow I can go over the background trees again. That part of it is still in the underpainting stage. I want to paint some detail of tree branches back there.
The sedge is kind of brown, gray, ochre colored. I mixed up 4 colors that were close to what I saw in nature and blobbed them in to make general areas of light and dark then I scribbled through it with my palette knife. It scribbled nicely because first I put a coat of Maroger medium on the dry underpainting, which makes it slick and wet and oily. When you paint a layer of Maroger medium on your dry underpainting or glaze and then paint color on top of the medium, that’s called “painting in the couch”. The medium couches the paint. That part was fun. I have to let the sedge grass dry for a few days before I can paint on top of it to make some sea oats and other sticklike weeds growing out of the grass.
Here’s a close up of a spot where the short grass grows out into the sandy path. You can see my palette knife scribbles through the blobs of brown, gold and gray.
Finally! some nice weather! It’s sunny and cool and calm today and I made some progress on this. The painting is going pretty fast so I hope I can finish this in another week or so. I’m anxiously awaiting the red buds to bloom for my next painting. I’ve been walking at the botanical gardens lately and the red bud trees aren’t showing buds, but that could happen real soon. Daffodils are blooming and I saw some early blooming pink trees when I was driving around.
I’m enjoying painting on paper with oils. One time saver with paper is that I’m not sanding or putting gesso on a canvas. Priming and tinting a canvas takes a few hours. Paper is more practical than canvas when you start to accumulate a lot of canvases and have limited space to store them.
Once I drove Rt. 66 from Springfield MO. to Santa Monica CA. I was in OK. and I saw these dead looking shrubberies by the side of the road, which had no traffic. I thought they fell off a truck and wondered why they didn’t pick them up since they were on the road. Then I saw so many of them I thought, these have to be tumbleweeds.
This is my plan for the next painting, the second time I sketched it, this time larger. The chalk is sand and the chalk dots are sea oats.
That’s how you start a painting in the traditional process, do a detailed drawing on the paper or canvas. When I was sketching a few people walked across the path at the top of the meadow to the right of center and I decided to try to paint a figure in to give it scale. I had already sketched in some sea oats that rise up over the path from this view. I decided to erase them when I paint and put my person walking in that spot on the path. This step is the time to plan and change plans. If I started in a rush to slap down some paint without doing the sketch then the painting wouldn’t work out as I hoped. Where would I put my person in?
That’s the only roots I have, the traditional ways of painting that I learned long ago. Some times I tumble along in the breeze trying to paint like a modern artist. This time I’m going to use paint brushes and take my time on it, not skipping any steps.
The thing I like about this tree is that a lot of the bark has fallen off and it makes an interesting change in texture between the bare places and the places with bark.
The egret wasn’t there. I looked at photos and tried to fake it.
I still need to sketch more before I can come up with a good plan for a painting. I’d like to use this tree and not have it in the center of the painting. I was glad it fit on the paper because it was windy and I took my 11 x 14 sketchbook instead of a larger paper on my drawing board and easel. I can hold that size sketchbook in one hand and it’s ok in wind. Anything larger and I need my easel. Then I have more to carry and wind makes it difficult.
I’ve always loved sedge. There isn’t much of it in PA. but in VA. it’s all over the place. It looks soft and is so pretty and bright orange, gold or a shade of red when the sun hits it right. It’s ok to walk through and today I sat on a clump when I took a break.
A huge white egret was sitting in the tree on the other side of the water but he flew away before I got far enough into the sketch to include him.
I was off the path a few feet and some people walked and jogged through. I thought I’d have it to myself if it was flooded but it was real nice out today, sunny and cool and hasn’t rained.
This is one spot I’m considering for my next painting but I haven’t decided yet. I often go there to walk and don’t take my sketchbook. There are so many great views there.
I see wordpress is putting their own ad under my post. And they moved it up to keep it current. hahaha Is it showing up on your reader? It says “Learn from the experts”. I guess I’m an expert now. Nah, They want to sell you something. I didn’t click on it. Well, I’m not paying them for the blog so – whatever.
omg. I just looked at freshly pressed under the art tag and there is so much pornography on it today I had to leave it. It’s too annoying having to keep scrolling past it. Sorry, friends, if I miss something good.
The tide was low. Some mud is showing and oysters in shallow water. I was off the trail a few feet where some fishermen have beaten a path. The weather is great, sunny and cool with a little breeze. Tomorrow it might rain so I was glad to get this sketch today. Now I have 2 ideas for a painting, this sketch and one from a few days ago, but I want to sketch more before I decide which view to do.
I wore my rubber boots because it rained a lot yesterday. It was so nice out with the sun shining and cool temps today! Tomorrow, more rain but that’s not so bad considering that PA is fixing to get hammered with snow.
This is a real pretty spot especially when it’s flooded. I might try to do another palette knife painting there. This sketchbook is too small. I couldn’t get much sky in the sketch so I’m thinking I should go larger again. Large is easier for me to draw than small. To the left of what I have drawn here, I can see a part of the path that’s not flooded and people walking across. I might try another scene with a little figure walking. I’m not sure. The last painting was a real challenge but if I keep practicing on the things that are hard for me to do it will improve my skill in the long run. And it’s not boring when you give yourself something difficult to try.
I wanted to give the look of wind on the water breaking up the reflections.
Next painting might be easier. That little man, I had to try 3 times before I got this.
That’s not too much wasted paint considering that there’s probably a half cup of it or more on the painting. I put plastic wrap on my leftovers and might be able to use them next week.
These are the palette knives I used in this painting on my palette with left over globs of paint.
The large one on the left was good for scraping the first blue on the sky. The second from the left is the one I use most of the time. It’s great for mixing paint colors and I often use it to scoop up a glob of paint to transfer it to the canvas. The second from the right is the one I used to paint most of this and the one on the right was recommended to me by my blogging friend, Alli. Check her out! Her paintings are beautiful and peaceful!
It was a stroke of luck that Alli told me to buy another knife because I was having a problem painting the figure, then when I went to the art supply store I noticed my painting that was in their window was missing and the manager found it and I took it home. But it almost got stolen. If I didn’t go to the store that day, by this week that painting would be gone. Just my intuition. But intuition is one of the benefits of leading the life of a hermit. Eventually you get some. And you can’t ignore it.