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Beginnings:  the initial wash...

When I was in eastern Montana last fall I took a 100 mile + drive south and west of Miles City, following the Tongue River about 50 miles and then heading north on dirt roads about 40 miles to Rosebud where I got back on I-94 to Miles City. I took a bunch of photos along the way of the river, the fields and whatever looked interesting. Once I got on the dirt road with the warning signs posting "this road is impassable when wet", I was following near Rosebud Creek. There were these beautiful sandstone cliffs with a lot of pine and juniper. I have long been impressed with Albert Handel and Richard McKinley's paintings of such cliffs and rocks, so I shot a bunch of photos of the area and thought that one day I would do some paintings of the rocks and brush.

A side note..."road not passable when wet" is a reminder to me of living in eastern Montana and when it rains, the earth turns to gumbo...not the culinary delight - but a mud that is sort of clay like and as you walk in it; it collects on your feet until you can hardly lift your mud encased appendages. It is really like clay...you can actually form 3D items of art with it. My mother used to sculpt with it for fun. You couldn't go out and hike around until it dried; so one might as well spend some artist time and make things out of the mud!

Fortunately in October there is little chance of rain and had there been a cloud in the sky, I would have turned around and retraced my tracks back to Miles City on the gravel and asphalt roads.

So today I painted a second painting of the rock cliffs and shot some images as I progressed through the painting...I chose a piece of Art Spectrum paper and toned it with some reds washed with alcohol. Once this was dry....an alcohol wash takes minimal time to dry...I roughed in the sky and tree line.

Then I added more detail to the trees and basically finished them before tackling the rocks. I used Unison, lonelier and Mungyo pastels for the trees, starting with a dark lavender for my base, then adding some dark blue and the dark green.. Once I had the darks in, I sprayed the trees with some workable fix lightly to allow some of the tooth of the paper to come back so I could add some highlights to the tree branches.

So once the trees are in I can start to work on the rocks. Before I leave the trees, I make sure to have highlights of the branches visible and some light peeking through the branches as well. Now I start with the rocks; putting in some general masses, some hints of color and definition. A light spray of the fixative will help to create texture in the rocks, then more color and definition. Next the rocks get to share space with a "cow trail" that meanders down the hillside and more definition of the rocks take place and a bit of vegetation - weeds- sage, etc sprout up near rocks and trail.

 

 

I like to sometimes leave some of the initial wash showing through for interesting texture and color. The goal is to invite the viewer to think the scene is interesting enough to want to get on that trail and hike to the top of the rims and see what's on the other side of this ridge...and wonder where that trail goes...they almost always lead to water, to shelter or...

Hope you enjoyed the "demo"....happy painting!

 


Pardon?

Posted by: gringrimaceandsqueak

Tagged in: pencil artists , painters , drawing

gringrimaceandsqueak

Following on from my pencil adventures (don't know how I stand the excitement :) ,  I've been searching for the perfect paper to use them on.  I must admit, up until this point I'd largely just picked up whatever appealed and played with it, but now I've got to produce a series of images for a single client it suddenly became a serious issue.

As these images will be reproduced for printing, I needed paper that would provide a clean, crisp image. That shouldn't be too difficult, surely- paper is generally white and flat. Isn't it?

I narrowed it down to hot press paper (I always use watercolour paper, even for drawing ) - that has a smoother surface, which I need to get in the detail. Further reviews ruled out papers that were too creamy and would look dark when photographed. I was feeling quite smug and organised until I tried to narrow it down further to find one that wasn't sized with gelatine (I'm vegetarian). Sizing incidentally affects how much water the paper absorbs, in case you'd not got that far yet.

After about four hours I found one site that offered thorough reviews and product info on a whole pile of watercolour paper - this'll make things simple thinks I.....


'the rattle
has a slight warble '


Eh?


'it has a soft tooth  
from the blanket '  

Sorry, what ???



Now, I know all these things have got to be called something, but what's wrong with words like 'texture' all of a sudden? Not only was I starting to wonder if I should also use a secret knock next time I went to get paper, poor Rich was developing a twitch just listening.

Before any prospective painters run screaming from the room, help is at hand.  I've had to include the link here as this glossary of terms is several pages long, but it is in alphabetical order :)


http://www.paperindex.com/resources/glossary/

It's no wonder so many people buy a box of paints and a pad to try this out, then never get any further. So many of the products in art stores don't come with any kind of explanation or instruction- something I will endeavor to clear up in a later post. In the meantime, rest assured that you're not the only one starting to feel like they're in a Bill Bailey routine, when all you wanted was something white and flat to draw on...

Karen (the one without the beard)



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