Thursday, June 10, 2010

On My Easel

Alberta Blue with Poplar Leaves
20" x 24" - not yet finished

A while ago I began this canvas with painting a blue sky which is typical of this part of Alberta where I live. I then began painting poplar leaves in fall, which is what the "forest" in our backyard consists of. However, I did not count for the difficulty of covering this blue with layer upon layer of acrylic yellow paint.

Finally, after at least 4-5 glazes, I decided that this painting was destined to become "mixed media", so I stared the leaves again - this time with oil paint. As you can see, it is about 2/3rd's complete - with some of the branches to be detailed, the stems to be completed, and some leaves to receive detailed vein work. However, I am now hopeful that it will be finished before I am very old... which it might not have been if I continued with the acrylic yellow over the deep blue.

Lesson learned: leave the spaces for painting acrylic yellow leaves WHITE canvas instead of trying to paint them over an intense blue background. It will take you YEARS if you don't!!!!


teresa stieben said...

All my acrylic paintings have a bold colorful underpainting to give the piece a warm or a cool glow that affects the finish tone of the painting; and yes its a challenge to use a transparent yellow over a strong color. That being said I believe leaves also have a certain amount of transparency to them so touches of blue green coming through would not be a major problem. When I wish to lay yellow over a bold color I first wash in a layer of white, or a few washes of white depending on how much of the underpainting I wish to conceal or how opaque I wish the yellow to become. Then I will wash over the white with yellow. A second yellow wash can be applied to give depth to chosen areas so that there are subtle contrasts at play.

Joanne said...

Thanks for the great tip, Theresa! I will have to remember that for the next time I am painting a transparent color over an opaque... have a wonderful weekend!

Lee Ann said...

I do love this one, Joanne! I can't wait to hear how this works out for you. As you know, my painting skills are really limited, and some time ago I started a sunflower in acrylic and had the same problem, trying to get yellow to cover a darker red background. I ended up painting oil over acrylic, and it wouldn't dry! It took 25 days before it even dried to the touch! I figured it was because you aren't supposed to put the oil over acrylic and I put it in the closet :) I'd really like to get it back out and finish, but not if I have to wait a month between painting sessions!