Monday, September 14, 2009

Wet on wet – Street Painting

Wet on wet – Street Painting
     Biggie Sketch September 14, 2009

This small painting was done in a little over an hour.  It’s done on Canson Biggie paper.  It’s approximately 9"x6" and the sheet of paper is 9"x12".

It’s a beautiful day, but somewhat cool.  I decided to stay home, save gas and paint the scene from my living room window.  I did the drawing very quickly.  Had I not done the drawing quickly it wouldn’t appear to be so lopsided.  I feel that in a sketch like this, the most important thing is to get down the bones of the painting as quickly as possible.  A sketch is the place to make many experiments and ‘mistakes’.  All I want from this sketch right now is to quickly get down as much as possible, drawing and painting,  in a limited amount of time.  To me, this is what practice is all about. Were I to ever do a larger painting of this scene on really good paper, it would be much better drawn & more carefully rendered.  The drawing alone would take a lot more time than 1 hour.  When it came time to start painting,  I’d have this somewhat spontaneous sketch to use as reference.

I used a combination of Ultramarine Blue (UB), Cadmium Red (CR), and Cadmium Yellow (CY) to create tones (neutral grays) and mixed with additional pigment to show hue (Color).  After the drawing was done, I wet down the picture area with a large, flat brush using a lot of water and a minute amount of CY to take the paper away from being white.  I let the paper dry a little, then, at the top,  started adding blue to the sky.  When each layer of blue bled into the wet paper, I’d add increasing – and somewhat heavier – amounts of blue to the top for a bluer sky.  I tried to work in as much blue as possible at the top only, allowing the color of the sky to fade-out as it came close to the roof tops of the houses.

I then made a mixture of UB, CR and CY and applied it to all the shadow places.  The paper isn’t soaking wet, but is still holding enough moisture to spread paint easily.  I applied the shadow paint in a thin layer; as it dried I added more paint with somewhat heavier paint in the deepest, coolest shadow places.  I had to mix UB, CR and CY again and this time didn’t thin it down too much.  I did the roof tops, chimneys and the bush, using a variety of the above mix; with a little more red for places I used CR, with more yellow for light places or light shadows.  I used thicker paint for the bush, starting with a mix of blue green, which I stippled throughout the area then  added more CY, went over/around the places where there was blue/green, then added even more yellow and filled in the places where the sunlight was strongest.  I also added a tiny bit of red to the green yellow I mixed for the bush which made a nice neutral gray which I painted into the bush where it meets the edge of the paper on the lower left.  By this time, the paper in the sky and roof area was dry.  I added a tinted glaze over the roof tops and faded it into the blue of the sky.  The tint color I used was yellow.  There was more water than pigment but the glaze of yellow gives the effect of fading the sky behind the houses and gives a lot of depth to the background.  The rooftop colors contrast nicely against the yellow tint, which brings them forward.

The last item was the star of the show, the Utility Pole.  Instead of mixing CR and CY to make a facsimile Burnt Sienna, I used actual Burnt Sienna and the mix of dark gray, thinned down.  The utility pole is closest to me, so gets the most color, also because it’s standing in the strongest light.  I used a gray from my mix of UB, CR and CY with a brush called a ‘liner’ to do the wires and some other areas of detail.

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