Monday, October 5, 2009

Reaching: Working on the Mountain Color

Now that I'm feeling a lot better, I was able to get more work done on my latest painting: Reaching. My first attempt at the painting of the mountain, after deciding the colors, was just horrible. The issue was that the mountain was too fuzzy and muddy.

In oil painting, mud happens when you are laying down one color and then overmixing/blending too many colors into that wet area. As a solution, you try to smooth out the area and, if you are lucky, you eventually pull up the underneath paint or layer enough thick paint on the top to cover the mud. Most times, you just make more mud and the painting is weak... too fuzzy.

Rather, a better approach is to treat the painted shapes as a mosaic (learned technique from Karen Winslow). With a mosaic look, you still retain the definite colors of the shapes and avoid the mud. When you step away from the painting (about 5 feet), you should still be able to "read" the painting and tell what you are painting. Once you have laid down the basic shapes, you can then go in and smooth out the EDGES of the shapes to blend the shapes together.

For the blending, there are two ways to do this. Take your brush and lightly blend the two areas or laid down an intermediate color. At this time, I tend to blend the areas, but am experimenting with the laying down of the immediate color.

So, the painting is coming along. The parts that I'm not happy with are:
1) bright cloud around the tip of the mountain. This area should be darker to ensure that the contrast of the top of the mountain and sky are more prominent. With the top of the mountain being the focal point, I want to make sure that your eyes are drawn to it.
2) The gray at the base of the mountain is too weak. There is a discontinuity between the shapes and the mountain. They don't integrate well together. It looks like two separate painting sections.
3) The color of the shapes are a little duller than I prefer. This is more along the lines of my personal taste.

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