The final painting
As an artist who first studied portrait painting and then moved into landscape painting I use a variety of cross over techniques from the old masters. I am combining grisaille underpainting with glazes and then optical blending borrowed from the impressionists. I find this technique helps me get around some of the blending issues we can have with acrylics due to the quick drying times, and allows me enough control to achieve a higher level of realism.
My first step is to always gather references and work a bit in photoshop. Even though I will be working from a photo reference I took while on location, nature is messy and unorganized and as an artist we need to make certain decisions about what we will do to create an interesting painting. I often omit certain things and tweak the lighting to try to make the work seem more readable. I reduce noise and try to lead the eye along a visual path into the painting.
Here are some of the references I used for moss, trees and atmosphere. One photo is never enough to create a full painting. I aimed for a low key chiaroscuro painting in this case.
Next I block in my drawing with paint and in this case I darkened my canvas with a mix of gesso and black acrylic paint. While it was still a little wet I pulled out a few highlights with the gesso.
From here I worked out my values with a more detailed Grisaille underpainting.
I then began glazing in the color, first along my main focal point and then extending out the the rest of the painting.
Finally after many layers of glazes and direct to canvas paint to achieve some optical blending on the surface I arrived at my final piece. I will now let it dry for 24 hours and varnish it to help bring back the saturation and values and to create an even finish on the surface. The varnish is also UV protective which will help the painting stand up to the test of time.
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