I used packing tape as a frisket on this version. I was surprised by how well it worked, but cutting through one layer of tape without cutting the paper beneath is hard. The trick seems to be a sharp blade (super sharp) and take it slow.
I started with the sky. I wasn’t happy with how dead it was on the last one, this time I think I nailed it. I only added pigment at the top and lazily washes it in toward the horizon. I used Indanthrone Blue and Phthalo Blue in the sky. I have been wary of using Phthalo Blue again because I keep seeing it turn into a neon blue, but this time I was reserved in just adding it in a few spots and then not over mixing on the paper. It seemed to pair really nicely with the Indanthrone blue… I might have a go to recipe for skies.
At the horizon (which was masked with packing tape) I added a line of yellow ochre and let that do its own thing blending with the sky wash. I also dabbed some violet at the base of the yellow ochre in a very thin line, to give the impression of shadows at the horizon. This gave me a really nice effect that I thought was both dramatic and subtle at the same time. Then I ruined it.
After the sky dried (I should have let it dry longer) I masked the sky from the grass, and then painted the grass. Again, I wanted to stay away from green grass, instead using Quin Gold. (Man I love that pigment. I wish I could get my hands on some of the old pigment, but it’s long gone now.) I wanted the grass to become muted at the horizon, so I used a very light wash above the trail. I added just a smidge of cobalt blue and raw sienna (which make a nice light grey) in an attempt to cool it down just a bit to add to the impression of atmosphere. This worked really well.
Unfortunately, this was when I noticed that my wash had snuck in under the packing tape frisket I was using to protect the sky. I removed the frisket and added some water to soften the mistake. It ended up looking ok, but it creates much larger shapes at the horizon than I had intended, which brought the horizon line dramatically closer. At first I thought the mistake was not sealing the edge of the tape well enough – I learned that was wrong too.
Then, I cut the packing tape frisket to expose the shadowed side of the house and added a light wash of moonglow and cobalt blue. I dabbed one light drop of Quin Rose and another of Perinone Orange to add some warm depth. I like the effect that gave. When it dried, I added the shadow from the roof line, and added some quick dry brush lines for additional texture and depth. I wasn’t fully happy with it, but I had to leave it alone because I didn’t want to start making mud.
I then let all dry, and moved on to the tree. I started by removing the packing tape frisket, and added packing tape on either side to protect my sky and grass. Thinking I hadn’t properly sealed the edge when I painted the grass, I really made sure to press the tape into the paper so my tree washes wouldn’t run under and muddy up the sky and grass on either side.
But, now I think I know why it really didn’t work. I waited for the pigment to dry to the Touch, and made sure it no longer felt cold. I thought that was dry enough, but it must have still been damp on the back of the paper, and I think that’s what allowed the pigment to wick under the frisket. Next time, I’ll have to really let the under washes become bone dry before relying on packing tape as a frisket over previously painted areas.
I then removed the rest of the packing tape from the house and started very carefully painting in the shadowed faces of the trim, stiles, and door/window frames. Then, I painted the shadow cast by the porch roof on the front of the house. At first this shadow was very light – and it felt very wrong. I darkened it to the same value as the side of the house, which flattened everything. I added more moonglow to darken it further. I think this is the right way to do it, but I should maybe have angled it? Or increased the height of the shadows cast by the roof on the side of the house. I’m not entirely sure. At any rate, I think painting the shadow around the windows, and then adding shadows to the window trim later was the right move.
Then I added tiny little details here and there. I painted objects in the windows on the shadowed side, and grotesque reflections on the second floor windows. I also painted the roof in a deep grey (raw umber + Indanthrone blue)
Once everything dried I layered in some more texture and detail work (especially on the tree and windows) and called it a day.
Oh, I almost forgot. I wasn’t going to have a path or a tree in the distance. But Sansa walked across the painting again and left little pink paw prints 🐾 on the page. The tree and path are there to cover that up.