Friday, July 01, 2016

Alexander Art: The Birch Trees Project

The first project in the basic course is a beautiful scene with two birch trees and a mountain in the background.

Step 1

After adding the Magic White to the canvas was to paint highlighting yellow in the sky.

I love this highlighting yellow! I goes on nice and bright and stays that way.

The brush I was using to apply both the Magic White and the yellow was a 1 1/2" bristle provided with the kit for this class.

I always expect some loose bristles but I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time plucking them from the surface of the canvas.

Step 2

Next, I applied Alizarin Crimson around the yellow.

The use of the white helps mediate the effect of getting too much orange when the red was brushed into the yellow. I've used a similar technique with acrylics that Jerry Yarnell teaches.

In this picture you can also see something that happened to my brush. This is great for painting foliage but not for any kind of edge work that requires a fine line.

I found myself getting annoyed at having to constantly stop and pluck bristles from the canvas.

So, I switched to a 3/4 inch synthetic filbert just to avoid the annoying bristle-loss issue.

Step 3

I've added Pthalo Blue in the sky and after only wiping my brush clean with a moist towlette, I painted in the mountains.

With the same brush I added the snow using Magic White with some yellow. As I brought the yellow downward it naturally turned to a nice green in the lower part of the mountains to represent grass.

Step 4

In the next to last step, I added the foreground.

The two birch trees were added with a fan brush and the limbs are fun to paint with a liner brush.

For the grassy area I went back to using the 1 1/2" bristle brush. This is an area where this brush shines!

After wiping the excess paint off of the fan brush I once again used it to add the yellow, red and orange leaves to the trees and a patch of sunshine to the grass with the highlighting yellow.

And with a few more swipes of the liner brush I added some longer blades of grass along with a leafless bush.

You can see the end result in the final photograph.

For my first oil painting in several years (that wasn't a horse) I am quite pleased with my accomplishment!

I am especially liking how the highlighting yellow goes over the darker color. It's very dramatic and it's an effect I've had a lot of trouble getting with acrylics.

So, one of the first things I did was "fix" one of my acrylic paintings of a giant cypress tree. I took the original photo years ago while on a trail ride near the Ocala National Forest.

I can't seem to get a quality photo of the end result, but I uploaded a side-by-side comparison below.

The painting on the left is the re-do. The one on the right is the original.

You can see a lot more detail in the vine growing up the one tree. And I was able to add a lot of detail to the grassy area at the end of the water.

I enhanced the highlights on the tree trunks, too.

I like it.

And I have at least one more acrylic painting that I've already tried to "fix" once but I can't get any result that I like.

So, expect to see that in a future blog post!

In the meantime, Keep Painting!