My latest completed painting is titled "The Brook." It's a location where I have spent endless successful and unsuccessful hours fishing for Atlantic salmon. Even when the primary activity turns out to be "fishing" not "catching", this place is magical, especially in the evening. A few folks asked for some progress photos for my last few paintings. I have some (if anyone is really interested in something specific) since my normal process includes recording stages so I can gauge hues, values, and fidelity to my reference image. For the current painting I produced more progress photos than usual. Here they are, followed by some comments:
As is true for virtually all of my paintings, I worked with Senns on Strathmore Bristol velum (8.5 x 11.5 inches). Oil-based pencils are occasionally used for a base layer (for subsequent sgraffito of fine details). I also use a variety of paper and rubber-tipped tools, a penknife, and an etching point.
Paintings start with a pencil sketch in a 2 inch grid pattern (also on my reference). After I'm happy with it I erase the grid lines and then the pencil image until it's barely visible.
For this painting I wanted localized dark base layers for a portion of the river water, the distant skyline (where trees emerge), for the green grassy tongue of land coming in from the right, and for clumps of foreground vegetation. For the first time I tried using pencils for the base layer. The base layer allows for scratching away over-layers to produce fine details in trees and grass texture, and water ripples.
The next few photos show the addition of overlayers, development of the far vegetation, and the far treeline sgraffito. The later worked well since I started over a fairly solid black pencil layer. I have used the same technique over a black or dark Senn layer, but getting good coverage over oil pastel by white or some other light color is more difficult. It often requires multiple coverage layers. I also just realized that the standard size white Senn is softer and works better that the grande white. For the water especially (and to a lesser degree the green areas), I should have put down more solid blues, blacks, and greens for the underlayers. This was a mistake which gave rise to revealing more white than I wanted when overlayers were scratched away. Sgraffito can also be done with a white base layer and then scratching away a dark over-layer for fine bright features within a dark area. I have done this successfully for fine highlights on dark water surfaces.
The next few images show the addition of texture to the grass, development of foreground rocks and vegetation, and some smoothing of the sky. In the final image I changed the shape of the near-shore of the grassy tongue, finalized the far vegetation (including adding some fine tree trunks), did highlights in the water, did final smoothing on the blue sky, and modified the overall tonality of the foreground rocks and far vegetation (by light application of blues and yellow-browns respectively).
Thank you for looking and I will try to answer any additional questions that might arise. Ed