Sunday, June 13, 2010
Above is a reference photo from the scene and a copy of the page with my thumbnail sketch and my enlarged sketch for painting as it was when class ended at noon this past Friday at Topsmead.
As a reminder of a few very pleasant moments in a spot of timeless beauty with 5 interested and enthusiastic painters, I’m happy with the sketch/painting as it was when noon rolled around and it was time to stop. On my own, I probably would’ve left it and gone on to another but as an experiment and demonstration, I decided to continue on with it to a place of more finish.
After I photographed the sketch, I glazed over the building with pure ultramarine blue, enough to set that area back visually and enough of a paint surface to work into after the glaze layer dried. My aim is to lighten the area in that I want to make it appear to be more colorful in the plane where it’s located in relationship to the background trees and the foreground plants. On the value scale of the ratio of paint to water, the paint/water mix was approximately 50/50. I put the glaze on wet and flat, then I held the paper flat so the water settled and the paint dried flat. (Flat being the operative word for the kind of glaze I wanted. While the glaze dried I covered the sky area with an extremely watery glaze of neutral that leaned toward a little more red than blue. I swished the water around the sky area a bit with the brush so that there were spots where the paint settled and gave the sky area a faint, smudgy texture, to make the blue already there appear to be coming through a cloud cover. The building area was quite dry by now, so I mixed up some blue/red with a little more red than blue and glazed it over the dry glaze of ultramarine blue. My mix of blue/red was a little thicker in the ratio of paint to water than the previous layer but it was still a watery glaze. I left it to dry and, using a smaller brush and a variety of paint mixes that ranged from blue/yellow to yellow/blue, glazed in spots from the background trees to the foreground flowers and bit of grass under the foreground flowers. The consistency of the paint ranged from thin and dull to thicker and brighter with the brighter and thicker paint being used in the areas where the light from the sun had lit up the flowers against the dull red of the building to the pale, overcast nature of the sky that morning. I finished off the painting with a black that I made from all 3 pigments and some of the darker mixes still on the pallette. The blackest area was the roof line (hopefully denoting shingles) and the ratio of paint to water was approx 80% paint and 20% water. For the ‘bricks’ on the building, I used a thin brush and a paint mixture of approx 60% pure Cad red and 40% water. I made straight, horizontal lines and broke up the line by lifting the brush here and there to break up the stroke and leave an impression of bricks. Had I to do it over again, I would’ve made the mixture of paint 40% paint to 60% water. The pure red does help to brighten up the painting and helps contrast the blue/green of the bushes, trees and plants. I’m calling this small painting a good experiment with much learning and a snapshot of a pleasurable moment at Topsmead one early June morning.
We've planned that our next Painting Outside! session is going to be at West Cemetery, Litchfield, Friday June 19 -- weather permitting. See you there!