The Ravine: #9

Oh boy… I went for it and painted a full sheet.

I have never painted something this big before, so I was a little curious to see how it would go. It turned out that I really, really enjoyed painting this large size.

It’s Father’s day today, so I wanted to paint my family. I also wanted to paint the Ravine I’ve been working on, so I added my wife and daughters to the composition, and tried to capture some of the nostalgia of my memories in the painting. I wanted Norah to be pointing up at something she saw in the trees, and Winnie to be looking at something off on the other side. I’m looking up at what Norah is pointing to, and Rachel is looking at what interests Winnie.

Sky and Distant Trees

After sketching and masking, I set to painting the sky and distant trees. I really liked this sky, it’s a shame so much of it is covered up.

I started with a C4b and then T3w UM Blue and Raw Umber. I painted that darker in the corner. Then, used a rag to blot out some clouds. Then, I used a little more Raw Umber in the mix to make a neutral grey, and dabbed the bottom of the clouds with that neutral grey at an F3s. Then, I used C3w to clean the clouds with circular strokes, and dabbed the rag on them to brighten the white.

I used more Quin Gold in that neutral grey to warm it up, and used a 1” flat brush, and F3s wiggling it up and down as I walked the brush to define the distant hills. I dabbed in some warmer greys and cooler greys to add interest to the distant hills. I also used the warmer grey to define a hill a bit closer, leaving some white beneath as a bit of mist.

Water

Then, I used Indie Blue and Raw Umber to paint the water. I started at the bottom with a line of R2w, and washed it up to the horizon with C3w.

Then, I dabbed in some deep Indie Blue with F2w at the base of the rocks and let it flow down to start reflections and add some depth to the water.

Mid Ground Trees

Then I used Raw Umber and UM Blue and Indie Blue to make a neutral grey. Then, I used a rigger, and a mix of T4b and M3b to paint trees. The T4b was used to paint branches and trunks of the further trees. Then, I used the M3b to paint nearer trees. I finished with an M3b of the grey with Quin Gold added to warm it up. I painted some branches at the top to make it look like the viewer was under the canopy. For these branches, I made them thicker at the top and quickly thinned in order to add perspective to these branches.

I then used a smashed squirrel quill to dab C2b leaves. All leaves closer to the left third used a warmer green, all leaves further used a cooler green, and gradually layered until I added some leaves at neutral grey.

I then let that dry fully, and removed all of the masking fluid because the big washes were essentially finished.

Foreground Trees

I then painted foreground trees with an R2b of Burnt Umber and Indie Blue. I feared that this ruined it, so I stepped away before I tried to fix it.

Ground Cover

Next, I painted brown ground cover. I’m going to want to add some brush and grasses, but I don’t want the entire ground to be grassy because that doesn’t match my experience in the woods. There is a layer of leaf litter, with scrubby plants reaching above and little to no grass. So, I started with a layer of light brown and now I need to plan a bit for where the brush will go because I want to preserve areas for shadows.

I painted the ground cover in thin lines and ragged horizontal strokes with a F3b mixture of UM blue, Indie Blue, Quin Gold and Raw Umber.

I then placed the rocks with washes of F3b using the same pigments in different mixtures. I wanted some rocks to look different, so I tried to make sure they weren’t all the same color, but I used yellow ochre at R2w to add highlights, and added Quin Purple to the color of the rock to add shadows opposite the yellow ochre. I then spritzed the rocks with water for texture.

Shadows and Figures

I finished by painting the shadows, and making the reflections green. Then, I painted in the figures, and that’s the end.

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