Saturday, March 5, 2016

030216 30x60 PART 1 Poppies, Hollyhocks, and Lilies by the Creek

This diptych features two paintings that are each 30" x 30" making a finished over all size of 30" high x 60" wide.  This blog is PART 1 of a two part blog that shows the painting from beginning to end.  Please click HERE for PART 2 to see how the second canvas progresses and how the painting looks when it is finished.

I am doing this on stretched canvas which is different for me.  I typically paint on the hardboard panels but thought I would try the canvas wrapped stretcher bars that won't necessarily require a frame.  Although, to protect the thick paint marks when I take them to shows, I may need to frame them anyway! 
I draw the initial sketch with a mix of cerulean blue and magenta with a brush dipped in linseed oil.  I am going to work on the left canvas first.  Since I like to work wet into wet, I cannot work both canvases at the same time without the paint drying too fast on me.  
So I start by blocking in the dark greens of the trees in the background using a mix of ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow light, and some magenta or cadmium red to make it even darker - almost a black green.  Then I mix brighter greens using cerulean blue and cadmium yellow and block in the foreground greens.  I mix a wide variety of greens to work all over the surface.  I mix up an orange with cadmium yellow light and cadmium red light and/or magenta and mix that with the cerulean blue and yellow (green) mix. 
I add the sky and then I start popping in the poppies and magic lilies on top of the wet paint of the green foliage.  I use some of the cadmium red/ultramarine blue mix in the creek where iron oxide rocks color the water.  Cerulean blue, with a tad of yellow, is used for the creek.
Even though I am going to paint the second piece when the first one is finished, I pull some of the color onto the canvas of the second painting to help unify the two paintings so they can work together when completed.
I start painting in more of the flowers working across the entire surface.  I add branches and trees in the background.  And then more flowers and sky.  Some goldfish are added to the creek and ripples of water pulled over them.  The work becomes somewhat frenetic and intuitive.  I step back often to study how the painting looks from a distance.  And then step forward to make more adjustments.  

At this point, the first painting is 98% finished.  I stash it outside in an unheated building at night during the course of the work to keep it from drying too fast.  Temperatures drop below freezing at night so the building stays quite cold and slows down the drying time.  I want to be able to go back into the painting with touches of color from the second painting, as needed, to help tie them together.  I stash my palette in the freezer overnight to keep it from drying out too fast.

I will write another blog following the progress of the second painting so stay tuned to see how they turn out and how they look together when finished.

Thanks for following along!

Happy trails!


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