Sunday, March 29, 2009

Finished Old Iron

I believe this one is finished. Or, at least I've removed it from the board, trimmed the edges and signed my name. That's usually a good indicator that I don't know what else to do.

Some elements of the tractor please me, some not so much. I think I was trying to include too much detail in too small of a shape.

The barn slats, however, I'm very pleased with. It's a technique that I want to use again.

I also am pleased with the background foliage, particularly the woods to the side of the barn. I scrubbed out areas after I had painted tree trunks and shadows and flooded Quinacridone Gold (PO49) into those spots. Sadly W&N discontinued this paint a few years ago, so I use what I have sparingly. It's wonderfully active in wet-into-wet applications, creating natural-looking sunlit foliage as it floods the paper.

I'm pleased with the overall look, and think I've accomplished the goal of reprising a scene that includes the elements of the earlier painting, but in a distinctly different composition. I hope that my friends who requested the piece are pleased with the result.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Almost there

I'm almost finished with the tractor (and with the painting). I still have to work on the shadows of the steering wheel and tighten up some of the darkest areas so the highlights will stand out better.

One thing is for certain: As much as I love the 7x10 size of watercolor paper, I've got to start painting larger works if my eyesight is going to hold out. I've spent a couple of hours this morning with my glasses removed and my nose only an inch or two from the surface of the paper so I can work on the tiny details in the tractor. The whole tractor is only about 4 inches wide, wheel to wheel, and two inches high.

The grays on the tractor body are a mixture of Pthalo Blue and Burnt Sienna, which tends toward a greenish grey. I've also added touches of Ultramarine Blue in places. The red wheels are Winsor Red (Pyrrole, PR254), with the shadowed reds being touches of Permanent Alizarin Crimson dulled with Viridian, and sometimes mixed with Ultramarine Blue for a purplish shadow effect.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Masking fluid removed

I've removed all the masking fluid from the foliage and from the tractor, so now I am working on those areas.

Foliage is pretty well done. I like the hard edges of the foreground leaves contrasting with the softer, wet-into-wet areas of the background trees, and the bright yellow (aureolin) pops.

The tractor will be slow-going work. Lots of tiny areas and I'm using small brushes. I've also discovered another characteristic of aging...despite my pronounced nearsightedness, I have to take off my glasses to paint tiny details now....with my glasses on, the brush never hits the mark I intend it to.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Removing mask

I've removed the tape and masking fluid from around the tractor, and also from the shadowed windows and stone on the barn's foundation. The blue mask on the foliage remains, but that will be the next to go now that I have the rough shape of branches added in. The foliage will fill in more after the highlights are exposed, so I hope the branches will lose some of their scarecrow effect shortly.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Background foliage

I'm filling in around the barn with the foliage. The bright blue is masking fluid, reserving bright, sunlit foliage, and the foreground tractor is masked off with tape and some more masking fluid. By preserving these areas, I can use more wet-into-wet techniques to soften the foliage, particularly in the background, so the barn and the tractor can move forward in the composition.

The greens are a combination of Phthalo green mixed with Phthalo blue, burnt sienna, raw umber, and yellow ochre. I also used a little of Quinacridone gold because, when dropped into wet areas, it pushes other colors away, creating warm highlights in foliage.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Barn boards technique

Here's a close-up view of how the tape technique turned out. I really like how the low-tack tape allowed some amount of bleeding under the edges, allowing for a nice contrast between very straight edges and rough uneven patches. It visually matches the rough textures of the barn slats.