LiterArties' Deborah Martin's painting technique illustrated by a step-by-step example.
"I thought it might be interesting to show a work in progress at the various stages from start to completion, as an example of the type of demo/talk/ workshops I offer. This painting I'm calling 'Heatherlands' ...
Step 1: Pick out the colours you see and place them onto the canvas in blocks of colour. Looks like a weird kind of patchwork, doesn’t it?
Step 2: Start smoothing with a fan brush. This is sfumato, a-la-Leonardo da Vinci; think Mona Lisa smile. Starting to look a little more like a sky now …
Step 3: Add more highlights and then go back to smoothing again. It doesn’t matter if the colours blend. They do in real life too. And it doesn’t have to be a carbon copy of anything either. It’s YOUR sky …
Step 4: Now look at your palette – ugh! What a mess; just the way I like it. What colours will you use, and which have you finished with? Get rid of the defunct colours- don’t be a messy Tike like me!
Step 5: Vary the type of fan brush you use to blend colours, I use about 6 different ones in total. Keep smoothing until you’re happy with the effect and you have ‘sky’.
Step 6: Start adding the landscape, starting with faint delineation, and then building until you’re happy with the transition form sky to land. Now start to add the foreground …
Step 7: Use blocks of colour again, but also go with the shape of the land or the foliage. In this case it’s banks of heather so an arc shape movement works best.
Step 8: Add the path. I used a palette knife – good for coverage and you can get good effects by smoothing and stippling and scarping with it. It’s not just black, white and grey either. Look at all the other colours that are in there – yellow, cerise, purple, green, etc. Nothing is ever a block colour. There are always at least two other colours involved too.
Step 9: Now briefly smooth – but only a minute amount – and then stipple using the varying shades of the heather banks, following the line of the foliage. Sweep grass and underlying stalks upwards with a small fan brush to give the effect of stems.
LiterArties, people who embrace, explore and capture their creativity in many ways.