Since today is Labor Day and the "unofficial" end of summer, I thought a painting to help usher in fall might be an appropriate blog entry.
In my watercolor painting above, Ben's Firewood, the emphasis is on the stacked firewood and the logs of the cabin; however, the eye is drawn to the lake and mountains beyond. The lake and mountains are not detailed to keep the logs and cabin as the main focus. Plus, the lantern and axe handle help keep the eye in the foreground and bring the painting together.
The background was painted first with a wash of color allowing each section of the background to dry before painting the next. However, the evergreen trees were painted in while the mountains were still damp to creat a slightly blurry effect.
The logs and firewood were each painted separately to keep each log distinct. If painted as a group, the logs would have little definition and look like a large blob. Use various shades of raw and burnt umber as well as sepia and Payne's gray. Use a wet on wet technique and drop in several colors for each log. Leave areas of white in the logs as well creating highlights.
The photo below shows a sample of the logs as they are being painted.
The trees are painted with very little foliage still remaining. The leaves are sponged on randomly using yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and burnt umber. Use a light touch - the leaves are not detailed and only hint at the season. The remaining foliage in the foreground is painted by dropping in various shades of the foliage colors and deepening the areas around leaf shades to add depth to the painting,
The sky, lake and mountains were painted across the trees, cabin post, and lantern without using any type of masking fluid. Because the trees and cabin post are darker than the background, they can be painted over the top without any background color showing through. The background needs to be seen through the lantern glass and this allows for an uninterrupted background. The metal parts of the lantern are darker than the background and be painted over the top of the background paint. This is a great time saver for those artists "like me" who are too impatient to wait for masking fluid to dry. See sample below.