Friday, February 19, 2010

Building a Surface for Landscape Paintings Part 2 of 11 with Andy Braitman

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There are a few things that make a good landscape painting. There's diminishing shapes, diminishing forms and diminishing color.

Going from pure color to softer colors and the idea of broken horizontals or banded horizontals that you can break with your verticals. So what I'm doing now is laying in and getting a feel for the horizontal banding.

In this case the band is water, other times the band may be grass. As I lay in these bands, I'm going to look at the verticals and make sure it provides interest along those edges. It's not permanent.

This line looks a little strong, going down the slope looks a little strong so I'm going to change that. Drop it down and now it looks good. Now I'm going to mix up some greens for this and put another coat across that mountain ridge back there.

I can't get this off, so I'm going to scrape it off and put it back down with a clean color. I'm really brightening up this color and I'm going to use a lot of paint this time without much liquid.

I'm going to scoop up a good deal of paint and just start to block it in. One of the reasons I like to use a lot of paint at this early stage is once I've got it sort of laid out it dries and gives me a really good surface to play against.

Believe it or not, I paint landscapes but I'm really an abstract artist. I just love the idea of getting as much paint and as much brush stroke down as I can and roll in enough realism to justify it. It's a kind of game I play.

I just love paint, so the more paint I can get on and the more I can set myself up to put that paint on, the happier I am. I'm really starting to put some surface down here. It's hard to come back and do this stuff so I'm going to give myself the option for some light to come through that mass.

I had about two tubes of the white squeezed out and about a tube of the mixed black and it's almost all gone now.

When I'm laying out a color, a wedge of color like this, I tend to try to get a shift in color so you know it's going from a yellow or green or blue to a slightly less green-blue. Then I'm going to mass in this mound back here.

I'm going to take the rest of that color and mix it in with this other color to make it a little more light. I'll probably use a green reference. It's early so it doesn't really matter as much but this first layer should have something that's close to the finish color but not on the finished color.

I can put another layer on top to make it sparkle or sparkle even more. That keeps the same value but changes the color.

What I'm really doing is just massing in this form for a better kind of solid mass. Scrubbing in color, not making any real hard edges.

I want to see a little bit of it on this other side. I'm going to take some of this water and pull it around the corner also.

Then I'm going to take some of my mixed black, which I ran out of so I have to make another quick pile of it, with some yellow to make a nice dark green. I'm going to take the same brush I was using for that mountain and I'm just going to start to mass in this wedge.

I want it to be a pure darker value so I'm just going to lock that in against the shape. I'm putting in this horizontal banding. I'm just referencing it, as I go forward I'm probably going to add more yellow but I'm not going to overly mix it.

My band should be getting bigger as I come forward. Then I'll put in the next band a little lighter and a little more yellow. This is where I'm starting to put down paint so that I have this surface to react to.

Then a lighter band again with a little more yellow. I'm using a bigger brush because I want a bigger color shape. I try to work a little faster then I can think because if I think I get in trouble, that's true at home too. Thinking isn't always good.

Water tends to step back so I'm going to make sure I have that shape that looks really nice. I'm paying attention to these marks now so I'm going to use those to help me end my shapes.

Just so I can see this water's edge I'm going to take a little bit of purple on the large brush and just draw out the water's edge.

That's a good place to stop so I'm going to sit back and look at the piece and look at the weight before I go any further. It's still nice and wet so it will give me a chance to move my edges and change things. I want to look at the size of the dark mass compared to these other distances and just get a feel for the space.