Sunday, March 15, 2009

Painting a landscape in gouache 2

I now focus on the middle ground and distant hills. The hills have to be sufficiently greyed to push them back but at the same time there has to be a suggestion of the pattern of heather on them. I use a hog’s hair brush with solid pigment. Dragging this over the texture of the watercolour board breaks the colour up and softens it

Close attention is now paid to the middle distance. I compare the tonal and colour differences with the landscape beyond and begin adding some suggested detail of trees , gorse, and river. I paint the river in the foreground looking at how the sky is reflected in it. This necessitates painting over the foreground trees which I had initially blocked. Being gouache, this is easily done. These will be reinstated at a later stage.
I am still using fairly large brushes, building up texture, and painting loosely. The beauty of gouache is that it dries instantly, yet is opaque and remains water soluble. Alterations and additions are easy to make as will be seen in the next stage.

In a previous blog, I demonstrated pen/ink/wash as a medium. This illustration, which I did for a magazine called Child Education employs the same technique. It is infinitely more complex with over a hundred figures around the giant Gulliver.

All of this required a huge amount of planning. Every figure and group of figures, all drawn from imagination, had to be carefully drawn in, and masked out with masking fluid. I needed to do this so that I was then free to apply large areas of watercolour washes for grass and sky. When these were dry, the masking fluid was removed and the blank figures redrawn and coloured.
In certain areas such as the trees and the giant’s shoes I applied body colour.i.e.opaque gouache. This allows one to get a stronger depth of tone.
This illustration was great fun to do as it involved a huge amount of preparatory research. It is clear that I was deeply influenced by 17th century Dutch painting and the work of Breughel in particular!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A traditional method of painting a portrait 4

he portrait is nearly complete. I have continued building up detail through a series of glazes alternating with more solid pigment.

I pay close attention to blending, whilst at the same time increasing the depth of shadows and picking out the highlights in the flesh. With a hogs hair brush I try to capture the flow of the hair before finally using a sable rigger to add the wispy bits. This technique is particularly useful where the hair goes into the background. This way, the contour is softened.
A few minor adjustments to the face, a bit more detail to the blouse, and the portrait will be finished.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A traditional method of painting a portrait 3

The monochromatic underpainting being completed, I now start to apply colour. Initially, this is done with a series of glazes, transparent washes of colour laid over and modifying the cool tones already established.

For this I use a mixture of Dammar varnish, stand oil and turpentine.
The colour of the shirt is quickly blocked in also.
The next stage is to build up the texture of the skin with more solid pigment and impasto.