Three months ago Nin asked me to make a contribution here about my artwork. She suggested that I write about the process I go through in producing a painting. I have finally gotten around to doing it (sorry for the wait, Nin).
The first thing I need before starting a painting is inspiration. As I have been painting mainly landscapes, I tend to go out for walks with a camera and take as many photos as I can before my legs get too tired. I have been using these photos, and photos taken by family members for basic inspiration. When I find some elements I like in a selection of photos I now do a basic little sketch showing where each element will fit into the composition, so I have a reference to work from and an idea of what order to do things in.
As I work with acrylics, I keep a water sprayer close to hand and have to work fairly quickly because of the speed in which acrylics dry. I start the painting by wetting the canvas with a light mist before applying any paint. In this painting I added the sky and basic outlines of the clouds first because this will appear in the background behind everything else. I also add the basic colour of the foreground because elements from the mid-ground and background will overlap it.
Next, I start work filling in the detail of the background. After adding highlights to the clouds, doing a distant tree line behind a field, I added the first layer to some mid-ground trees on the left. I keep the detail somewhat simplistic so as not to distract from the main focus of the painting and also to allow for some depth in picture.
I finished off the detail on the mid-ground trees. I also start highlighting the path that leads to the foreground. I used several similar colours so the highlights don’t appear too uniform. Acrylics blend really well and often by doing this you get nice effects quickly.
The next image shows quite a lot of work since the previous one because I forgot to take an extra photo of progress. I added more detail to the mid-ground and started work detailing the foreground as well. I painted a dark shade where the stones would be and a much lighter shade on top to shape out the stones. I also started work on the spring. I wanted to try for an effect of very clear water and went about this by painting the pebbles and then adding layers of watered down paint.
By this point, the bulk of the painting is done. I just needed to finish off the details and I added a dead tree stump to the right of the painting. I added some extra bits of colour, detailed the stone and water further and continued to used watered down paint to great effect in detailing the ground, especially as it slopes towards the water. The final image can be seen here.