Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Home Again

We've got more snow and Dad needed to take the truck to work today, so I'm home painting again. :) I thought it would be fun to post some closeups from the painting and explain my method for building up detail.

Many artists, when they paint in acrylics, will begin right away with the detail and gradually build up color and realism with repeated washes. I've had more experience with oil painting so my technique is mostly borrowed from that medium. Oil paint is very forgiving, you can blend easily and cover mistakes since the paint is workable for a day or two, and you usually work from the abstract (blobs of establishing color) to the details. That's what works best for me in acrylic as well.

In this detail, I have already painted the foothills, and laid in some color and texture on the marsh, but the water is undeveloped and there is very little detail.

I began adding some wave texture in the water, including some of the brown reflections along the shoreline. Ignoring the duck for now, I'm focusing exclusively on the background.

I added trees and more texture to the foreground reeds and the rest of the marsh. A suggestion of low-hanging fog in the distance puts limits on the extent of the marsh, and helps distinguish it from the distant hills. The water is finished. (for now ;)

I used 4 different shades of blue and gray for the feet. The tail feathers have been blocked in and the undertail coverts are beginning to take shape.

The tail feathers have been shaded and shaped, and the black rump feathers darkened. I decided the feet were a little too blue, so I took care of that with a thin wash of yellow ochre.

I hope this little demonstration has been enjoyable. Keep in mind the colors are sometimes slightly off.

All photos © Benjamin Berkompas 1/30/08

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