Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Scenic Practice: Trees in Winter

So, a couple months ago I got into this intense yearning to practice misty scenes and eerie landscapes.  There were a lot of winter landscapes up here in the northeast, but not a lot of incentive to paint them plein air since it was too cold for my desert blood.  I snagged a couple of okay shots on my phone, but they weren't calling me to paint, and I deleted most of them.  Eventually I saw a glorious winter sunset as I was driving home one day, and while I did not get a photo of that sunset, the image stuck in my mind. I wanted to recreate it, so I went looking around on Unsplash and found this image to base it off of, and combined it with a shot I took of the parking lot the same week.

I practiced the image a few times, because I have trouble with misty scenes.  So I did it in oil pastels, and in watercolours but with different palettes for each one.  Except for the oil pastel piece, I used a limited palette of 3 paints for each one.

Version 1- Watercolour postcard

The first version I did.  Watercolours I used were Winsor & Newton cobalt blue (PB28), Sennelier lemon yellow (PY3), and Sennelier transparent brown (PBk7, PR101).  Khadi Papers rough 4x6 sheet.

For this first piece, I picked mostly paints I was not comfortable with.  Mixing the black was REALLY challenging, and I could not quite get it, but I did love the effect of the odd purples mixed with alizarin crimson and cobalt blue.  I can't remember now how I got those darker blacks.  I may have thrown in phthalo blue or pthalo green to achieve them, but I'm not sure.

Version 2- Oil pastels

Oil pastel version, again on Khadi Papers rough 4x6 sheet.

So I have not used oil pastels since high school, and the only colouring media I've used since high school are watercolour and watercolour pencils, and every now and then coloured pencils for touch ups.  I've been interested in trying them again, so I bought a Crayola set of water soluble oil pastels and tried that.  It was okay.  I'm glad I did not aim higher than Crayola for this because I do not love the medium and only see myself using it for artist prompts.

Versions 3 & 4- Sketchbook

Top palette: Sennelier orange (PO43, PY83), phthalo blue (PB15:3), and alizarin crimson (PR209, PY83, PR179).
Bottom palette:  Sennelier yello ochre (PY43), Winsor & Newton cobalt, and Sennelier alizarin crimson (PR209, PY83, PR179).

At this point I realized I should just turn it into a full-on study and did two more versions of the same landscape in a Strathmore 400 series watercolour sketchbook, 9x12 wire bound pad.  I chose different palettes for each piece and painted them in the same manner as the others.  Since this was cellulose paper it was a little easier to move paint around, but I had to me more delicate with my layering.  It was easier for me to get a misty glow, though.  I need to get into more of these studies, they challenge me in a way that was stimulating but not completely uncomfortable.  I found it to be a good exercise.

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