Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Painting (post #4)

This morning I restudy my painting in progress (see previous posts below).  Am going to add more masking fluid to the grasses on the left, over my middle value wash.  My plan is to then add the darkest darks to the grass clump and finally remove the masking fluid to reveal the different values of color that I've put down for the blades of grass.

Normally I work across the whole painting, bringing each area up to par with the rest.  In order to show you some quicker results, I've been focusing on the bottom left area, but I'm going to start bouncing around the painting now...especially when it's time to let certain areas dry.  It's raining outside, which means there's more moisture in the air.  It'll take longer to dry.  I don't like to use a hair dryer when I've got masking fluid on my paper.  It could fuse the mask to the paper...never a good thing. (Tip:  but if you wait till the water has soaked into the paper and is no longer shiny, and if you hold the hair dryer high enough, you can get away with using it...just be careful).

Another tip:  I thought I'd mention that I use twigs to apply my masking fluid, not brushes.  Brushes are hard to clean afterward and easily get ruined.  I cut various sized twigs on an angle at both ends and use them like a fountain pen of sorts (I either peel off the dried up mask, or I toss the twig if it's been used more than twice).  The thinner the twig, the thinner the line you can draw.  Tip:  Never shake your bottle of masking fluid.  It might cause bubbles to form which, if not detected, would eventually pop as it dries on your paper, leaving the center susceptible to paint when it's applied in a subsequent wash.  Instead, you want to leave your closed bottle of masking fluid sitting upside down when not in use (which serves to keep the air out so it won't dry out) and then, when you're ready to use it, just turn it over and let it sit again for a minute.  Now it's mixed up enough (if it's been a LONG time since you last used it, you might have to go through these steps 2 or 3 times before it's mixed enough).
Twigs for Masking Fluid Application
I just added a bit of color to an area of the painting and thought it would be beneficial to show you a close up of two areas.  This is to explain that I never go far without changing out my color.  I don't necessarily change the "value" of the color, just the color itself.  To show you that the value remains constant, I've saved the second image as a black and white.  Any time you want to test your values, you can do this, or you can xerox the actual painting in b&w mode.  (Each of these shots represents about a 4" wide area of the painting).  The yellow is still the masking fluid.

Another thing I do from time to time (especially early on) is to draw back into the painting...either I need clarification of what's happening in a certain area (a part of my drawing doesn't seem to make sense), or I just can't see my earlier drawing well enough and am afraid to lose sight of it later on down the road.

I also constantly "babysit" what's happening in various parts of the painting.  My eye roves over it to see if anything needs my attention.  I want a certain amount of "color mixing" to happen on my page, but if color intrudes where I wasn't expecting it (for instance, if the board is bumped or tipped), I can blot up what doesn't need to be there.  But, for the most part, I'm a fan of one area's colors bleeding into the next.  I don't paint within the lines.  Especially within the first wash or two.
And here's a picture where I've added color to mostly the left side, as well as in the reflections a bit.  The grass blades look garish for now, because of the mask.  It's so tempting to rub it off, but don't!  Now I'm headed to get ready for my friend Susan's art reception tonight.  I won't be able to paint tomorrow, but I'll be back on Saturday with you!  Happy painting!