1.) The initial under painting
On Sunday I taught a workshop and began a new painting as a demonstration. I began this one a little differently than I usually do. I started with a pencil sketch right on the canvas because I wanted to change the scale of the scene from what was in the reference photo. The reference photo was fairly close up with not enough foreground and I wanted to pull the point if view back and really set that beautiful grouping of trees into a wider view. Next, I laid in a transparent yellow wash over all the strongly lit areas just as you would do in a watercolor painting. Because I wanted to keep the feel of mid- day sun I continued the under painting with raw sienna instead of my usual transparent red oxide. I completed the under painting by adding in washes of ultramarine blue in the shadow areas.
2.) Using heavier paint and introducing the local colors
Here's the next stage of development adding greens to the foreground and.....
3.) Laying in sky and creating atmospheric distance
Next I add in a basic sky color. There's a lot more work to do on this one. I'm not sure I'm happy with the blue sky. Originally it had been my intent to keep the sky warmish as in the photo above, which I think gives the piece a more intimate feel, then I decided that the strong sense of light demanded a blue "sunny day" sky, but now I'm thinking I might go back to the warm sky. This changing back and forth really isn't a problem especially with acrylic paint, I can glaze and scumble, layer upon layer until I achieve just the right balance of warm and cools in the sky. I enjoy that process of discovery when painting and the multiple layers create a rich and complex surface texture that aids in the creation of strong atmosphere in my paintings.
I have a lot of varnishing and framing to do for my upcoming show, but I hope to squeeze in some time to work on this during the week. Stay tuned for progress!