Demos

Instructional Demos


Wet Canvases to Go

Workshop Travel Demo

Step 1.
Push Pin Spacers:
Press 4 pins into each canvas front - corners of one, center sides of other.
Tip - Press pins in completely; stay within canvas edges.

Step 2.
Tape Together:
Align canvases, wet sides facing; tape around ends.
Tip - Extend canvases over table edge for stable taping.

Step 3.
Trash Bag Cover:
Insert canvases into trash bag; tape around for secure closure, crossing center in both directions for better protection in your suitcase.
Tip - Fold back trash bag beforehand to keep wet paint from getting onto bag exterior.

Note:
Attaching something rigid (like tagboard or cardboard) to canvas backs would protect from things pushing painting fronts together, especially if packed in a soft-sided suitcase.

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Landscape on Red Ground

Why paint red?

With the canvas already colored, there is no need to cover every centimeter of it. Colors are less likely to become muddied by mixing as they touch. Ground color can separate different colors painted wet next to wet, avoiding unwanted mixing. Red which is medium in value provides contrast with whites/highlight colors as well as contrast with darker shadow colors. Red is especially suitable in landscape and water scenes. It contrasts opposing greens and cerulean blues creating visual vibration effects, most effective in foreground areas. The color ground, allowed to consistently show through between painted brush marks, gives an overall sense of unity to the finished painting.

click image to enlarge

Step 1 - Sky and lighter background

  • Sky: White mixed with a little Cerulean Blue; gradually lighter down toward horizon
  • Lightest background areas: Sunlit midground - White with Cerulean Blue and Cadmium Lemon Yellow in varied proportion mixtures of blue/yellow; areas painted separately.

Tip: Follow the "fat over lean" rule... add little (preferably no) linseed oil to the first paint applied in all areas.

Step 2 - Distant background

  • Distant trees: White mixed with small amounts of Ultramarine Blue, Viridian and Permanent Violet

Tip: Paint lighter areas first leaving the slightly darker/closer trees blank (still red). Paint remaining tree shapes using less white.

Tip: Cover all of the red canvas to eliminate any hint of color intensity or warmth in the background. Cool and low contrast/dull colors force the background to visually recede.

Step 3 - Brightest close areas (for foreground/background contrast)

  • Backlit close tree foliage: Cadmium Yellow Lemon both unmixed and mixed with Sap Green
  • Transition between light midground and foreground shadow: Mixtures of Cadmium Yellow Lemon and Sap Green, increasing Sap Green toward the front.

Tip: Visually project the foreground by allowing red canvas to show through. Repeatedly skip little spaces between leaf and grass shapes creating strong color contrasts and visual vibration effects.

Step 4 - Foreground density

  • Darker foreground areas: Viridian and mixtures of Viridian with Sap Green, Ultramarine Blue and/or Indigo to create the darkest foliage and land masses in the foreground.
  • Tree trunks and branches: Ultramarine Blue mixed with Burnt Umber and/or Burnt Sienna

Tip: Continue to leave bits of unpainted red canvas increasing brightness and visual projection of the foreground.

Step 5 - Foreground detail and contrast

  • Tree and grass dark/light detail: Add Indigo shadows to tree trunk/branch sections to suggest dimensionality. Using Sap Green and Cadmium Yellow, both straight from the tube and mixed, add lighter leaf clumps over dark foliage masses. Add dashes of Cadmium Yellow as well as Indigo to foreground grass plus a few touches of white for increased brightness contrast.

Tip: Unmixed colors remain true producing the strongest version of whatever their character. Colors straight from the tube are therefore most effective in the foreground.

Step 6 - Enhance depth

  • Foreground darkness: Apply glazes of Ultramarine blue and/or Indigo to strengthen ground shadows.
  • Background haze: Apply glazes of White, or with a little Ultramarine Blue added, over distant trees thus dimming the background and softening any line separations between horizon and sky.

Tip: Glazing works ONLY over paint that is dry to the touch. I consists of mostly oil medium with a tiny amount of paint mixed in.


Capturing Transparency

Why paint on black ground?

With the canvas already colored, there is no need to cover every centimeter of it. While painting colors are less likely to become muddied by mixing as they touch. Ground color can separate different colors painted wet next to wet, avoiding unwanted mixing. Black is the darkest value. From the start, it provides for maximum contrast with highlights essential to painting glass. Other color grounds can be extremely effective as well, especially red. The color ground, allowed to consistently peep through between painted brush marks, gives an overall sense of unity to the finished painting.

Note: In this example demonstration the subjects are colorless, either white or clear glass, in order to promote free use of a wide range of colors.

click image to enlarge

Step 1 - Full contrast value study

Using only white, first record the brightest highlights in thick, opaque strokes. Continue with white recording all other value areas, leaving the darkest areas black/unpainted.

Tip: Following the "fat over lean" rule, add no linseed oil to initial paint applied in all areas.

Tip: Create grays with drybrush technique; let more black to show through for darker grays.

Step 2 - Distant background

Paint everything behind the glass (before adding more detail to the glass itself) in muted, less focused terms, covering the black ground. Paint between already recorded white and light-value glass details using medium value color.

Tip: Cool colors visually recede and are therefore effective in backgrounds. Dull colors created from complementary color mixtures also visually stay back.

Step 3 - Lighter midground/foreground

Since all colors are darker than white, any color mixed with white can be used for lighter value areas. Avoid painting the glass, other than adding a dash here and there to reflect colors added to surrounding surfaces.

Tip: Allow black canvas to show through, projecting the foreground. Repeatedly skip little spaces between color/value shapes.

Step 4 - Medium values

Paint everything but the glass, except for a few touches. Represent all surfaces and opaque objects with appropriate values, bridging gaps between white and black. Some areas drybrushed initially in white may now be painted over with matching value color.

Tip: Limit the number of colors in mixing. They get muddy when too many are involved.

Tip: Warmer/brighter colors visually project and are therefore effective in the foreground.

Step 5 - Details

Use more color. Go beyond monochromatic or analogous color limitations. Think of how fine crystal reflects multiple colors and go for the sparkle. Light contains all color; glass appears more reflective when many colors are applied separately/unmixed. Maintain appropriate value. Keep some blacks.

Tip: Visual vibration (more sparkle) results from bits of juxtaposed complementary colors.

Step 6 - Glazing

Essential to a transparent look is the glazing method of painting tinted oil over dry areas. Glaze on shapes of glare and shadow on front and back surfaces of the glass. Allow to dry and repeat as needed, finishing with front surface details that overlap the glass' back surface and background.

Tip: Glazing works ONLY over paint that is dry to the touch. It consists of mostly oil medium with a tiny amount of white or color paint mixed in.