Reflections on life: First Wash


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Reflections on life: First Wash

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Reflections 1

The sky is extremely important in this painting, as it is in all landscape paintings. It will create the mood and temperature for the scene, and will also be a baseline for the tones and hues in the pond reflections later on in the painting. There will be a delicate balance between the pond and the sky, the pond almost twice as dark and rich as the sky.

I washed cadmium yellow, cobalt blue and indigo blue in a very wet application, using large brushes and adding pigment as needed, keeping the paper very wet and the pigments fluid. It is very important to remember that the wash of colors applied will dry lighter in value than what you observe wet.

After I was satisfied with the lighting and mood of the sky, I washed in the distant tree line while the sky wash was still very wet to get a blending of the trees into the sky, I want it to be subtle and give a sense of distance from the foreground. I then moved forward a bit to define the next line of trees in the middle ground of the painting. I employ a technique I call “careful randomness” for the small branches of the trees. Although a major oxymoron, it describes the balance of water and drybrush I employed. I sometimes let the paint go very rigid only to soften with water in selected places, and vice versa. I was spontaneous as I progressed, keeping it loose, not spending a lot of time in any one area, leaving it to instinct.