Friday, July 22, 2016

Yellow Brick Road Trip Part 3

In my two previous blog posts I discussed the preliminary, drawing and composition stages of my latest painting, Yellow Brick Road Trip. In this final installment for this piece I want to explain a little about my painting process. 

I like to begin with an underpainting. Different artists have different approaches to this. Some artists skip the underpainting entirely. Many use sepia colors in their underpainting to lay down a warm tone. Some go a step further and add white to begin sculpting the highlights. I like a technique I learned from one of my favorite teachers from my Art Institute of Pittsburgh days, David Bowers. This technique begins with warm sepia tones and goes a step further by adding colors that are complimentary to the colors of the  final layer of the painting. For example, a blue sky will have an orange underpainting (orange being the compliment of blue) the underpainting for warm, pink, skin tones will be green and green grass will have a red underpainting. The complimentary colors of the underpainting help to make the top, final layer colors more vibrant.  

In this detail of the distant mountains, you can see some of the warm, 
orange underpainting showing through the cooler, bluish overpainting. 
The texture of the cold press illustration board helps me to achieve this look.
(Click any image for a larger view)

Usually, I cover the whole painting with the underpainting before beginning the final painting. This time I worked in sections.

Working in sections as I did on this painting, you can see that 
I have not yet applied the underpainting to the grass or the road.

Here are some details of the final painting along side the final sketches:

I made the Tin Man more sad in the final painting, 
with a more pronounced broken heart.

I always saw Dorothy with blonde hair for this painting.

And here is the finished painting.

For this painting I used water soluble oil paints which I really enjoyed. They are not as workable as traditional oil paints but they are more workable than acrylics. Traditional oil paints require solvents for thinning and clean-up. These solvents are toxic. Water soluble oils actually clean up nicely with water and brush soap. I found the brush soap was necessary to clean the brushes completely. The paints are workable for a couple of hours before their consistency begins to change and they are less workable. But they take several days to dry completely. Also, though they are water soluble they can not be used with acrylics. I contacted Windsor Newton on this question and a representative of the company wrote back to me to explain, “Acrylic dries by evaporation and oil colour by oxidation so mixing the two creates a situation that could cause either layer separation or cracking or blistering over time.” If you are looking for an alternative to traditional oils because you don’t like working with the solvents then I recommend water soluble oils.

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