Thursday, January 14, 2016

"Follow the Sun"


“Follow the Sun” 

“Follow the Sun” is an acrylic painting done from a photo taken at sunset by the shore of a mountain lake in East Tennessee in late fall.  The painting above is an acrylic on canvas – a very unique canvas. 

 This canvas is actually made of burlap which has been stretched on a wooden frame and primed with gesso.  I loved the look of the burlap and the uneven gesso painting surface.   A friend surprised me with a couple of these canvases for Christmas and I knew I had to find just the right subject for this canvas.  I needed a subject that would work well with the edges fading out, something from nature to compliment the burlap.   This sunset I thought would be the perfect fit.  The canvas worked out great and I love the result.

 Materials needed:
Canvas – I used an 8” x 10” burlap/gesso panel; however, any canvas will work.    
Brushes:  (size of your choice)
-        Flat Brush
-        Palette Knife
-        Round brush

Acrylic paints:  A basic set of acrylic paints which may include the following colors:
-        Hookers Green
-        Sap Green
-        Brunt Umber
-        Mars Black
-        Titanium White
-        Cadmium Yellow
-        Yellow Ochre
-        Ultramarine Blue
-        Cerulean Blue
-        Cobalt Blue
-        Burnt Sienna
-        Raw Sienna
-        Alizarin Crimson

Note:  The paint list is large; however, this painting can be achieved with a basic set of acrylic paints. 
Let’s get started painting!

Painting Instructions:
Sketch the drawing on the canvas with minimal details.    I sketched the following on the canvas:
·        Horizon
·        Basic mountain shape
·        Placement of the tree; i.e. location of the base of the tree on the left side of the canvas.  It is not necessary to draw the shape of the tree as this will be painted in after the sky and water have been put in place. 
Starting at the top and working down to the horizon, paint in the sky using a mix of Ultramarine Blue and white, adding more white as you paint down to the horizon.  Touches of purple were added at the top right and where the pink and blue of the sky mingle.

 Paint the sun using white and work up to meet the remainder of the sky, adding light blue, yellow, orange, and pink.  Although the colors circle the sun, do not leave circular brush strokes around the sun, blend the colors horizontally into the sky. 

Using the edge of your flat brush or a pallet knife, lay in your mountains with Sap Green and Windsor Blue mixed to create a deep evergreen.  Add Burnt Sienna and paint toward the center of your painting, working from both sides to the center.  Be certain to add an area of white to indicate the reflected path of the sun down the mountains and then across the lake.  Mix areas of yellow across the horizon and into the mountains in various locations in the center working out to the darker areas on the sides and away from the reflected light. 

Adding Windsor Blue to the colors above, paint down and across the lake adding a touch of red to deepen the orange and maintaining the white reflections of the sun across the canvas working in a “V” with the orange and adding blues mixed with green and black on the sides.  Paint a small white reflection of the sun at the lower edge of the lake, slightly off center to the left. 

The tree is painted a deep brown.  Brown paint can be mixed using the following color combinations:
·        orange and blue
·        red and green
·        purple and yellow
·        mix of all primary colors
I used a mix of the paint on my palette to prepare a brown that suited my needs.  I added black to deepen the brown.

Using my deepest shade of brown, I painted my tree from the bottom trunk and working up using slightly lighter shades of brown as it branched out across the lake.  For the smallest branches, I used a palette knife. 

 Add a few fall leaves paint from Burnt Sienna already on your palette.    Only paint a few in random locations on the tree. 

Foreground (grasses and cattails):
As the water was painted, blue was mixed into the orange on the left and right sides of the painting.  I brushed in a touch of the orange on the left side. Using the dark brown and black used on the tree to paint in the cattails across the left and right side of the painting.  I used a palette knife to pull up the tall stalks and added the cattail tops with a flat brush. 

 Details to note:
I did not paint all the way to the edge of the white gesso on the burlap panel.  I preferred to have a rustic faded out look to the edges of the painting. 

Congratulations!  Sign your name; your painting is complete. 

Happy Painting!




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