Getting back on the horse

So I was having a bad painting day the other day. Nothing was going right, the paint wasn’t behaving, and the canvas was against me!

Of course, none of that is true, and as always, when a painting isn’t going right, it’s usually the artist’s fault.

In my case, I hadn’t planned the paintings properly, and I was rushing, neglecting to switch brushes for dark areas after painting light areas or vice versa, and not cleaning my brush sufficiently between strokes. The result was a mess.

So today I started over, and did some planning.

I spent 20 minutes sketching several notan studies of various scenes which I thought I might like to paint:

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Then I chose one where I liked the look of the design (top left in the second image above), and started on a small colour study.

The starting point was actually the remains of one of the previous studies that had gone wrong, after I scraped off all the paint and wiped down the canvas with a paper towel, leaving a nice lightly toned surface.

I then sketched in the main shapes, paying attention to the importance of an accurate drawing.

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I then blocked in the colours of all the major shapes, working from dark to light as usual.

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Finally I refined the shapes and added some detail and colour variation throughout.

Note how the colour of each land mass gets less saturated the further away it is, and I made sure to soften the edge of the furthest hill so it blends smoothly into the sky, adding to the illusion of distance.

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Overall, not what I’d call an awe-inspiring study, but I feel like I’m back on track, and that’s the most important thing.

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