View Full Version : Sunday at the Mill WIP 11x15

09-18-2013, 10:27 AM
I finally had to take a break from all the tiny stuff I've been doing and reset the chi with my normal brushes and paints.

I figured I'd warm up with some practice paper, so I broke out an easel and popped some Strathmore 400 on it. Winging it like always, I just sorta started splashing paint around, loving the ease and simplicity of the foggy atmosphere in the background. Fog pictures are a nice break from having to paint a real sky!

I like where this is going so I hit the brakes and I'm going to start again with real paper before I add anything detailed.

The mill just kind of started to show up while I was painting trees, and it's going to be a larger, industrial grade saw mill with an old wooden crane and I'll probably put some logs in the water near it if it feels like that will work. The mill will be partially hidden by trees and such in front of it, with some taller, mistier evergreens behind it.

Here's what I'm thinking of changing and adding to the composition, thoughts and ideas would be great :) :

I like the misty center section, so I think I'm going to move the right side tree mass back to the right to give me a little more wiggle room in the middle.
I want to put a small rope-barge and dock in the foreground (that's how the sawyers get to work!). I think I want that to be on the lower right with the slack rope going across the water to a matching dock on the mill side. The pulley tower on the far side will be visible, but I think I'm going to have the near side be slightly out of frame. I'm going to have to adjust the foreground bank for the layout of the barge.
It's Sunday morning at the mill, so I think I'll put a fisherman on the near side, possibly wading in the lower left foreground.
I don't think I'll go too nuts on the details of the mill, but 'mist' it out a little. The heavier details will be with the dock and barge, rigging, barrels, maybe a tool shack, etc.

Any thoughts on the changes? I don't want it to end up being too busy, but my best intentions to that end never seem to work :D. Color palette will be limited like the below draft aside from a few colorful man-made doodads on the near side to add interest.

Thanks for looking :)


Edit: Some things you can't un-see. I'm glad I'm starting over, because this is the only thing I'd ever be able to focus on in this painting now that I noticed it on the screen. :rolleyes:

Also, you really don't want to start singing the song in your head, but as a little gift to make your WHOLE day better...

"I love you, you love me, we're a happy fam-i-ly, with a great big hug and..."

You're welcome. ;)


09-18-2013, 12:06 PM
Nice concept Karl, I would also put a dark line along the left bank to define it.

Is that your version of Ogopogu?


09-18-2013, 01:26 PM
Lovely darks! UMB + BS? Agree with the dark line. Like the dragon head! For changes, you can remove the sharp front corner of the house, and maybe instead have a darker wall?

09-18-2013, 03:46 PM
:lol: Karl... only you...

You can easily rid yourself of the infamous purple lookalike quite easily. I really like this composition and I especially like the misty fog behind the mill. It does look as though you've been scrubbing though along the water's edge...

M.L. Schaefer
09-18-2013, 08:52 PM
Karl, I'm enjoying seeing your art!

Your lightest lights are peeking through the tree...You may take advantage of that by developing the darks in the building next to the light.

Mist needs a lot of white paper saved...you may want to save that for another painting, and develop this one more, making a stronger building and work on the tree background. (re your singing friend...just add more "tree" detail to that area as a glaze?). It looks like the water is perfectly still....most times still water has more defined reflections...but I think some more changes in the bushes should be in order...add some burnt sienna, burnt umber, a touch of green...make them fascinating and interesting (build them up the same way you may? want to develop the building). Mist doesn't just dull color, you see mist and then some color showing through the mist....

Mist is not an easy thing to accomplish, but totally depends on leaving a LOT of white paper, and then just suggestion forms and colors through parts of the mist..it's hard to describe but you'll figure it out (I'm thinking about the boldness in the other painting you did, the one with the gorgeous LIGHT....hmmmm, I'm remembering you wanted to put a fisherman in that one too. I KNOW people, animals are wonderful in a painting, but your style is so bold, you may not need them in EVERY painting. 1984: Less is More.:)

:heart: Margarete

Needs something in the foreground.....

09-18-2013, 09:37 PM
Thanks for the tips, you guys! Always good to hear reinforcement and/or options.

Just to clarify, I'm not going to work any farther on this particular piece, for something of this scale I prefer to use rag instead of pulp once I get my head wrapped around a direction. This one's become a sketch-study for the real thing, which is why the building, reflections and trees aren't detailed at all. It actually started out as a raw sienna field with big leafless trunks riggered into the foreground, but the mist got me going another direction...the next thing I know there's water involved, then the mill popped out.

I ordered a better water spray bottle last week. It's a cosmetic-grade atomizer instead of my regular old Windex/Spic 'n Span -style fire hose. The misty portion was accidental as I was playing with it on the background, getting used to how it handles. Definitely a different animal.

All I'm using the above painting for is a study, so I'm trying to p...pl...pluh...pl a nn...plan! PLAN! Woohoo! What a fun word... :p

I'm trying to use the p-word for a change and starting over now that I have a direction, so I was seeking input on the semi-complex composition. I'm trying to stay within the traditional rules, but I may head a little into polyfoci territory. :D

Besides, I kind of like giant ol' Barney in the bushes behind the trees and will try to preserve him in this sketch. The real picture won't have him, now that I know he's lurking around back there. hehe

M.L. Schaefer
09-18-2013, 10:00 PM
I especially liked the look you got with the spray bottle (the part that shows that lovely light looking through the trees/building)! But, although I don't spray my paintings (yet) I've watched videos where artists do spray, usually with a powerful spray bottle with varied spray..probably like the bottle you used for this mill scene), a smaller mister with a fine/uniform spray, may not give you the look you want. I may be (probably am) wrong, I'm interested in seeing the results you get (I mostly just drop a teeny bit of water in) rather than mist. Please let us know what happens!

:heart: M.

09-19-2013, 12:24 AM
FYI, here's the spray bottle that I ordered from Amazon:

Amazon Fine Cosmetic Spray Bottle (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CYC4I4/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1)

One thing I've had to adjust for is that the 'mist' that comes out is fairly high-pressured, and by holding it a little too close to the paper, I have managed to blow pigment off the paper and onto the table and nearby items. I've been using some of my airbrush masking tools when I need control, but they can be made out of anything that allows you to spray controlled shapes and directions.

My bigger bottle is much more unpredictable re: droplet size, but you do have the option of the 'dribble-shot', just lightly pulling the trigger a little bit for a small, controlled 'sneeze' of a few drops. This new little bottle is more of an 'all-in' feel. The atomization only works with a good amount of finger pressure on the trigger, and that means full shot. There's not a lot of volume coming out though, so it works out well.

Here's a picture of what the pattern looks like when sprayed on magic paper. At 6 inches or so there's a clearly defined horse shoe pattern centered around the nozzle with the opening of the 'shoe' pointed down (sure hope all the luck doesn't run out!).

Knowing the shape of the spray pattern is important because sometimes it's hard to tell what you're hitting when you're spraying such a fine mist of clear water. the bottom line is 5 'squirts' in a row, horizontally at 6 inches:


M.L. Schaefer
09-19-2013, 01:23 AM
I'm liking it....and thank you for the tip: I hadn't thought of using something to protect the non-spray area (duh, me!). I'm going to try that, most especially with my blues: Cobalt, Da-Vinci Indianthrene ... and a few other paints that get that "cloudy" look to them...... My brain just reels with ideas when someone mentions something new! Thanks, guy!

:heart: M.

Cool calligraphy paper...does it have the meaning of all the signs? I'm thinking a wonderful way to get brush control!!!!!

09-19-2013, 01:44 AM
Fire-hose sprayers and super granulating paint (Primateks) are GREAT fun! Super fine sprayers are better just for keeping paper damp and flow-ey, in my experience. Curious to see what you get with the atomizer.

I do advise not fire-hosing a painting over the rug, where one's mother might see. My mom was in another state the night I did that, and I could still hear her: "You are DRIPPING on the CARPET, young lady!!!" :lol:

09-19-2013, 04:37 AM
Hi Karl. A fun thread to read. You've been given lots of good answers. I know that once a face is seen in a painting, it's impossible not to see it from then on. By the way, I do like your painting, very much.

09-19-2013, 02:31 PM
:lol: :lol: I did have a good laugh at your Barney peeking out from behind your treeline. I like the mistiness you have in the background behind the house and in the center. I'm assuming that this is in early evening; but I may be wrong. I like your colors in this one, this will make a great warm-up for a PLAN(ED) painting.:thumbsup:

09-19-2013, 04:31 PM
Nice treatment of the water here, and the tree line. Thanks for the info re the sprays, I am just starting to use my spray bottle, I have a small sample size hairspray one that I cleaned out and it does a beautiful fine spray.

09-19-2013, 08:53 PM
You've created a great place to be. I like your composition ideas. Hope you'll share when finished. Lee

M.L. Schaefer
09-20-2013, 12:20 AM
Oh oh, Karl! Did you notice the meaney behind the tall dark pine tree, peeking around the tree, arm raised ready to lob something at your cartoon!

Forewarned, Forearmed! :lol:

:heart: M.