Saturday, July 15, 2006

July 15 - Lesson painting, first pass

How did it get to be the 15th so fast?  My goodness.  I promised you a lesson back on the first, so here it is.  This day we're beginning a 12 x 16 acrylic, a moonlight scene (I still have the acrylic palette near the easel).  The subject is partially out of my head, and partially based on visual memories of the Vernal Pools at the Plateau.  These pools are shallow seasonal lakes that disappear by this time of year.  
I first did a quick sketch to locate the horizon line, the focal points and the major shapes of the design.  The second phase is to gesso the canvas before starting with any paint.  I gesso under acrylics because the layers are initially thin, and I like the brilliant white of the canvas for that first layer.  Then this first covering of the entire canvas goes on, to both get rid of the white and also to establish the abstract structure.  
  The majority of colors used in this pass are the cool palette, mostly Ultramarine Blue, Thalo Green and white in the landscape, and white, alizarin crimson, yellow ochre and ultramarine blue in the sky.  The moon was loosely painted in (isn't even ROUND!) with cadmium orange and white.
  Water is generally done with vertical strokes of anything that is reflected (tree shapes) and horizontal strokes for anything that is caught on the surface (the moon reflection).  
  Even in this first pass to cover the canvas, you can see a lot of the finished idea already.  Lots more to do, though.

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