Four Stages Completing the Painting
Where we left last time
1. So, my painting had a rest for a couple of weeks. In that time, I put the work out of sight for a few days. I must distance myself. Otherwise, I consider a seriously flawed work, brilliant. Then, once my painting and I have had a break from each other, I revisit it, looking at it with some distance. Standing-back-distance is good too, to see how the painting is coming together. Using a mirror or taking photos of my paintings works too for objectivity.
What needs to be done? I use a narrower brush, actually, a three-centimetre wide painting brush from the hardware store to define the shapes, blend the colours and accentuate the flow of the sand-waves. In the first stages of my paintings, I use a wide brush that I bought from the hardware store. I do have the “proper” art brushes which I use for the final layers of my works. Also, I like working with a palette knife to add highlights and texture. A basting brush comes in handy for bushes and grasses.
After some work…
2. Another rest and look. How can the painting be improved? I’m in the final stages now. Accentuate and exaggerate, for this is a painting, not a photo. What story are the shapes telling? The “proper” art brush has softer bristles and can blend the tones and colour to get a graduated effect for the shadows.
Work from back to front, stronger primary for foreground, fade to blue/grey mixed with white for background. In this painting, I’ve used mainly ultramarine blue and crimson for the shadows, and mixed a warm white for the highlights. Then for reflected light, a warm red mixed with white for patches of soft pink. Bushes ultramarine blue and a cold dark blue-green. Layer upon layer, like a pastry.
I study the black and white photo for shapes and tones in the right places. But at this stage, I’ve departed from the initial photo reference and the painting has its own story to tell. I need to be careful not to do too much more to this work or it can look over-worked.
Ready for feedback
3. I take the painting to Art Group for feedback. Fellow artists there admire it and compliment me. I’m told not to touch it. After insisting on honest feedback, I receive a few suggestions for improvement. There’s a line mid-left-hand side that is too strong, eyes being drawn to it. Needs blending in. Also, where is the light coming from? Top right-hand corner? Then bushes and dunes on left need more highlights. Soften back dunes with white dry brush for perspective.
4. I take on board the suggestions and this is the result…
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017
Painting: Waves of Dunes © Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017