This is the photo reference I will use for this next painting.
Before I start the painting the composition will be changed dramatically. Color, values, forms temperature and sometimes perspective adjustments are needed.
I will post the first step in my painting process tomorrow.
I had to add some opaque paint to the "problem" area which worked to unify the painting.
The process was broken down int steps for the blog. It took 4 hours of painting and 50 years of practise.
Step 6. The decisions that you make in transparent watercolor can be difficult to correct. Making something darker or larger can be done, but “erasing” something is very difficult.
I felt that I made the area in the lower right too “solid”. In the process of attempting to correct mistakes that I have made in other paintings, I found that tearing the paper can work to eliminate mistakes and keep the painting transparent. (That may sound strange, but it is intentional!)
With a sharp mat knife, I will carefully tear the paper to eliminate some of the painted areas. This area will be a different texture than the rest of the paper. To correct that, I will burnish the torn areas with a smooth stone. When I go back in and paint into the torn areas, I will have to "seal" the area with some gum arabic, which is the sizing or glue that is initially found in the paper.
Step 5. The dark foreground tree is painted next, giving the composition more depth by overlapping the background. For the same reason, I added a few trees in the background to continue that sense of depth, continuing to bring the viewer further into the scene.
Step #4 was the most difficult part of the entire painting. Because I didn’t like some areas of the photo reference, I decided to alter the composition by adding some elements that I know will add interest. I painted some rocks and weeds and will eventually paint a large tree in the area.
That area is in the foreground, so it should have more detail. However, that would take away from the center of interest. Also, it is near the “corner” of the composition, I don’t want to attract too much attention to that area, so, while it's an important addition to the overall painting, it will remain a little more subtle..
Because I painted “around” the buildings, I had to be more careful painting the other buildings in the background and middle ground.
Making sure that the amount of change of value is consistent with he amount of change in the already established barn keeps the light consistent.
Step 2. The nondescript barn and the area around it will become the center of interest. The light and shadow side is painted, and the area under the “bridge” establishes the contrast for the rest of the painting. This step was painted on dry paper with a very wet wash.
Every watercolor painting presents different problems in the procedure.
The first step is wet-in-wet. My normal procedure is to paint “through” the smaller areas when painting the large areas. That helps make edges softer and unifies the color.
In this painting, I decided not to do that. Because I want to control the mixing of the pigments to suggest textures, I painted “around” the buildings.
Because I need to paint more slowly with this process, I added glycerin to my water container. The glycerin not only makes the pigments separate more but it also slows down the drying time.
Keeping the background wet by spraying with that solution and then adding salt where I wanted more texture completes Step 1.
The brilliance of fallen leaves have brightened many landscapes these past few weeks. Not far behind now will be subdued white winter landscape.
I am not a plein-air painter, so I find my inspiration from photographic images. This particular photo depicts the subtle changes from colorful autumn to subtle winter.
Many compositions can be created from one image. To show the changing of the season in this image, I will enhance the color in the trees in the background. I like the curve of the road leading into the composition. The buildings on the right are a bit overpowering to my basic concept for this particular painting.
The key to any landscape is the light coming from the sky. I will change that to a more clear day which will make for a brighter atmosphere with more contrast and color.
I always start with a lightly drawn preliminary drawing. The lines here are enhanced to better show the sketch.
As the pigments mix and separate on the paper, I will make quick decisions on the color and value and the shapes that are formed, leaving them or changing them to suggest subject matter.
I will post the next step of this painting tomorrow.
The Farms and Barns art exhibition is currently on display at the next Picture Show art gallery in Dixon, Illinois, through Oct 16, 2021.
Hours: Tues-Sat 10 to 4.
Old farms and barns are some of my favorite subjects. I was happy to be honored with a First Place award for "Paul's Farm".
Even more gratifying is seeing one of my student's pieces also recognized. Congratulations to Jan Cederlund, one of my Kaneville watercolor students, here celebrating with her award-winning painting, "Coming Home".