Tuesday, 30 January 2018


last week in the improvers class it was mooted that we might visit some basic application exercises, as we felt we needed to get to grips with how much pigment to pick up to get our washes dark enough, and how to stop our pigmented washes from not running too far, and how to stop pools of pigment dribbling down the painting when we lifted our brushes off,
so, instead of moving on to our planned still life, we turned to painting this hills painting which was similar to what the beginners were doing but with more colour mixing.

This exercise addresses all of the issues above, as we were working from pale to darker washes as we moved to the next mountain range in front.
As our paints had by now dried in our palette, we had to work at them a little harder to get the pigment out of them than when they were wet, but for the back mountain range we wanted it pale, so we worked it less.

To get the top of the mountain hard edged bleeding into a soft mist below,  ( and the sky ) we painted a very wet clear wash starting from below the pencil line mountain below that, and after practicing bleed ( pigment travelling ) distances by using a drier and a wetter brush when applying pigment, we applied a pale fairly dry pigment wash for the top of the back hill, so that the pigment wouldn't travel very far or fast, we gauged the water ratio on the brush by drying slightly on kitchen roll, and testing the wetness in the palette before applying, we did this on practice strips before hand, getting thick and thin lines.

We lifted the brush off at the apex of the hill, so the execs water and pigment from the brush could run down the middle raher than the side, making it easier to mop up after drying the brush slightly and running it along the bottom of the pigment line, however, it is preferable to lit the brush off beyond the edge of the paper if possible where runs don't matter, as the painting can be cropped with in the run marks.

Some of us applied yellow and pink to the sky in the same ratio as the blue.

We used a wetter brush for the next hill down with more pigment once the background had dried.
We painted in the trees on last week's exercise between washes drying, using the colours from the background, but with a bias on either blue, or red orange, keeping holes in the trees for the sky to show through.

The 3rd hill down was darker and wetter still as we wanted tonal perspective, i.e things appearing darker the closer they are to you, and also, because it was bigger we could allow more bleed, and so we used more water when applying pigment, we added a bit of yellow too underneath the blue, ( cleaned brush out of this ) and for those of us who's pigment ran too far, we applied another  clear wash below the pigment line, and moved it from one edge of the painting and back again horizontally working up to the pigment line and into it, to lift off the excess pigment.

For the 4th hill in the foreground we used blue, yellow, and a hint of red, in exactly the same way we did the % mixing exercise, see previous weeks blog for that, as we can see more colour in objects closer to us, and to make the painting more interesting to look at. some of us used too much red too soon, rather than using a small amount towards the end of the blue & yellow wash to create purple, and more neutral green's, see below, you can barely make out the red, but it makes this otherwise yellow / blue / green more interesting and varied than it would otherwise be.
We pulled out the pigment for the trees whilst the wash was still wet.
Next week we will create near black using red blue and yellow, for the front ling of trees in the foreground, this will help us to beat up enough pigment to get really dark darks.

Next week, we will be painting this boats in mist scene, as I feel we need to get to grips with colour mixing on the paper, in both high and low definition, that is fat and thin lines using more, and less water on the bush.

Some of you asked how much you need to paint in the first wash, I said not much actually if you don't want to, and you can do many layers, this takes the pressure of your first wash, if you want to see a painting in progress film I made which illustrates the many layers you can apply, and how simple the 1st wash can be, go to video's on my website and look up, 'Summer breeze' you may be able to locate it through this link

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