Painting Lesson from Passion + Planning = Productivity (page 23 - 29)
Underpainting and first line-in
I begin by covering a gesso-primed canvas with a thin coat of Cadmium Red. After this is dry, I plan my composition. To avoid placing anything of importance smack in the center I place a dot in the middle of the canvas. Then I draw the horizon and path lines, using a small bristle brush and alizarin purple. I have to stay within these initial lines because I'm painting over the red ground, wet-into-wet. For example, If I decide as an after-thought to extend a tree into the sky, the white in the sky will change the hue and value of the tree where it goes over the sky.
Blocking in shapes
Using a large round bristle brush, I roughly block in the sky with Ultramarine Blue and a touch of purple. As I move closer to the horizon, I add more white with a touch of green. My paint is thin and transparent mixed with painting medium so that the red underpainting shows through and unifies the composition.
Next, I block in the tree, with a #8 bristle round using Sap Green and Ultramarine Blue to cover the red. It's important to paint in the direction that objects grow. Since trees and grass grow vertically, I make sure to use vertical strokes.
Continuing the block in
I continue adjusting colors in the sky and landscape so that the whole composition holds together. I also add some lighter hues to the trees using Sap Green and Yellow Ochre.
Creating form and texture
I keep dark colors thin, but light areas (clouds, flowers, and road) thicker. When glazing, I sometimes apply paint with the side of the brush so that it doesn't disturb the under-layer. The roads are painted with Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, white, and a touch of green to dull the red. I'm careful not to cover all the red edges with paint because that red is the unifying factor.
Refining values, connecting shapes
I add new colors here and there, while making sure all the colors continue to relate well to each other. I continue to paint the road and its shadow areas, using Yellow Ochre, Purple, and Cadmium Red Light. Then I add the purple flowers to visually connect the distant shore with the foreground. My green highlights are made with Green Earth and Cadmium Yellow. I add finishing touches using the boats to break the distant horizontal shore line, while at the same time providing a stop so that one's eye is not led out of the composition. "Summer in New England", oil on masonite, 16 x 20" (41 x 5 1 cm) is finished.
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Passion + Planning = Productivity Article