account login | current cart | express order | view cart

 
 
 
 
 
Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest YouTube

Artist Community
       
HOUSE IN CLOVER VALLEY
Written by Spike Ress
www.spikesart.com
spike@spikesart.com
435-477-8297
     
  Step 1:
This demonstration deals only with the steps that were involved in applying paint after a preliminary drawing had been transferred to the paper. It is important to begin with a good preliminary drawing. No techniques will disguise shoddy draftsmanship or a poor understanding of composition.
     
The first order of business is to get a good under-painting or block-in. In the first stages of this piece, the block-in has been established using colors that will set the tone for the rest of the painting. The sky was painted in first, using a mix of three blues (ultramarine, cobalt, and cerulean.) While the lower part of the sky was still wet, I charged in a mix of raw umber and cobalt violet.

Next, the house was painted in using yellow ocher with cobalt violet. Then the foreground green (permanent green mixed with burnt sienna) was put in charging some areas with raw sienna. The texture seen in lower right is clean water spattered in while the green was still wet. By this time the sky was dry, allowing me to block-in background hills using yellow ocher mixed with a lot of cobalt violet. Most of the background hills will be painted over, letting spots of this warm tint show through.
     
  Step 2:
Once all areas in step one were mostly dry, I laid in the background color of the distant sagebrush covered hills using a grayed-green (permanent green grayed with raw sienna, raw-umber with a touch of cobalt blue and cobalt violet.) I am purposely leaving unpainted paper in areas that will later have trees painted in. This is to allow for a later passage of clean, transparent color.
     
Also in this stage, I laid in the color for the roof. This building had a bright colored metal roof with standing seams. This is the beginning color. Details will be added later. You can see how I was careful on the roofline to cut around the shape of the dormers that will be defined in later stages. The color of the chimney was also laid in at this point.

The grasses and bushes around the house were laid in, using mid to dark range greens (permanent green grayed with burnt sienna, ultramarine blue to darken.)

The foreground area, in this stage, was not touched at all.
     
  Step 3:
After step two dried, I worked on the background hills. I laid in the dark green shapes of juniper and pinion trees. Remember, these are only shapes. The tree-shapes give definition to the shape of the hill because the larger shapes appear to be closer and smaller shapes further back. This creates the illusion of perspective. The areas for the trees are still being saved on either side of the house.
     
The shadow areas were laid in now on the house and chimney. The diagonal strokes on the right side of the house are the shadows cast by trees that are yet to be painted in.

A violet color was laid in to the left and right of the building, under and through the trees. This color acts as a complement to the green that will be painted in for the trees. Notice how I have cut around the shape of the large tree trunk in the area to the left of the house. This trunk will be painted in later. A line of violet shadow, defining what will become a road, was also laid in to the middle ground just below the house.

In the foreground, I laid in the darker greens, helping to define some of the weeds and grass. Again, larger shapes closer up, smaller shapes further back achieve the illusion of perspective. An atmospheric perspective is also achieved by making the closer shapes warmer and the more distant shapes cooler.
     
  Step 4:
The big changes taking place at this stage are pretty obvious. The colors and shapes of the trees have been laid in using a variety of greens (permanent green and hookers green warmed with burnt sienna and raw umber) as well as touches of raw umber and blue (mix of ultramarine and cobalt) charged into the wet greens. These warm and cool touches add variation of shape and color to create a modeling with color, not just value.
     
The violet to the left of the building has been deepened and the tree trunk painted in to the area that was left out in the previous stages.

At this stage the shadows cast on the roof and other roof and chimney details have been added. The dormers begin to stand out because of the shadow areas.

The passage of very warm, almost violet color laid into the left foreground was done for two reasons; to change the color and value of that area in contrast to the road, which serves to accent the road, and to accent the effect of light on the grass and weeds in the foreground.
     
  Step 5:
In the last stage of this painting, the final darks were put in helping to define all the details of the scene.The dark green pinion and juniper shapes were added to define the ridge of the distant hills. Note how this helps to balance the composition of the scene, which has all of its focal point and objects heavy to the left. This compositional solution was thoroughly worked out in my preliminary sketches.
     
At this point the dark values were added to the trees close to the house using the original mixture of green with the addition of more blue. Notice how the darks in the trees now make the building appear to have more sunlight on it. As luck would have it, there was one very dark evergreen tree in this yard, positioned in such a way as to perfectly accent the edges and provide contrast to the light on the house. My choice of this particular view was influenced by the position of this particular tree.

The fence posts along the roadway and in front of the house were also put in at this stage. Notice the subtle indication of a railroad crossing sign. This was painted in with very thin opaque. Some opaque paint was also used to define the window frames and the door. Trying to save minor areas of white inhibits the freshness of my paint application.