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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Steve, again...

Sorry, all, I left out one of my favorites of Steve's paintings of lush, rich farmland, and just couldn't resist popping it into the blog anyway!  Steve, can you describe a bit how you got these effects, please?


  1. Sure Kate--thanks for posting this one!

    I really wanted to translate the depth that was in the original scene, so I used atmospheric perspective to portray it; that is, using grayed/dull colors for the distant parts and getting slightly darker and more defined with the closer elements.

    Painting the sky was the first step. I brushed in a wash of clear water for the sky area (being careful to avoid the hilly areas), let it settle a few minutes, then started adding some pure Cobalt Blue in a wet-in-wet fashion using a fairly thin wash. I created clouds by using a paper towel to lift out pigment (a technique I use often), and lightly added a little paint here and there to give the clouds a 3D shape. I use different blue pigments for sky in different seasons: cobalt blue makes for great summer skies; ultramarine blue is great for fall, and pthalo blue works well for cold winter scenes (since pthalo is a staining pigment, a little goes a long way for winter skies).

    Another thing I really focused on was representing the trees in the middle ground as three-dimensional objects. I knew that these could easily look flat and artificial if I didn't pay special attention to that.

    The large field in the foreground had been freshly mown, and showed "lines' from the mower's pattern. I wanted to represent these since they were part of the original scene, but also wanted to use them as a trick to lead the viewer's eye into the middle of the painting, where the center of interest lies. To set this up, I first painted the foreground field as a wash of yellow (new gamboge); then, once that layer was dry, brushed on some ultramarine blue as a glazing layer to create an earthy green. I painted another layer of a brighter, mixed green (pthalo blue + new gamboge) over the extreme foreground . Once these layers had set up a little, I scraped out the lines using the corner of a credit card. This scraping technique is easy, but it takes a little practice--if the paint's too wet or too dry, it won't work. As an example of this, the paint on the yellow field in the middle ground was already dry by the time I was working on the foreground; so, to create the lines there, I used an X-acto knife and scraped the paper to expose the white of the paper. By the way, I don't use tube greens, I mix all my greens, which gives me lots of versatility in landscape painting.

    Finally, I let it sit overnight to get really dry, then I spattered on green and red in the foreground to give it a little excitement.

    Hope this helps and gives you some insight into the process on this one!


  2. Kate! I'm so glad you decided to post this, good call.

    Steve, SO enjoyed your interview. I've been a big fan of your beautiful art on Flickr for a long time. Thank you so much for sharing your process and techniques.

    :o) Wendi

  3. Thanks SO much for the explanation, Steve, it was wonderful...and Wendi, I'm glad too!

  4. Wendi & Ellen: Thanks so much! -- Steve

  5. Kate: Thanks again for posting this painting!!!


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