Subirdan Houses, step-by-step…

I attended a workshop this past weekend at the fabulous mixed-media retreat, Art Is You.  The most fabulous part of it, for me, is that it is located about 25 minutes from my house.  Not worrying about luggage, shipping, etc?  Pretty fabulous.  Getting to immerse in my art during this difficult time?  Pretty wonderful. 

If my scrapbooking friends don't 'get it', think about it like a self-directed all-day crop, with only ONE project that needs to be completed by the end of the day and a limited number of supplies.  One person shows you a finished project, and you choose how you want to make that fit into your own style.  Or just follow along precisely as you can to recreate their project.

This workshop is Groovy Little Villages with Jodi Ohl.  While I didn't learn anything new-to-me, it was time, immersion and escapism which was greatly apreciated.  I think she is a great teacher for anyone just getting started in painting.  Seek her out, if painting has you shaking in your Crocs.

Here is the finished piece:


Now let's look at some step outs schtuff.

To start we put gesso onto the canvases in random patterns and blistered it with a heat gun.  I haven't used this process before for texture, usually preferring modeling paste.  But I think this was just about it being a workshop and the drying time involved.  I still prefer modeling paste.  LOL.

While that was drying I sketched out my idea using a General Pencil 2B Graphite (don't laugh, it's just a rough thumbnail! Ack!)


Now it's time to work on the background.  I added a bit of collage to the canvases along with some random stamping and splattering and then painted them with the 3-4 chosen colors for the scheme.


I chose DaVinci Artist Acrylics in Quinacridone Gold, Anthriquinone (Rich) Blue, Green Gold, and Dioxazine Purple, along with the staples Titanium White and Carbon Black.

Now you may be wondering, "why all the background work when you are just going to paint over it?", but that is the key to having depth in a painting.  If we just add flat colors, we'll get flat results.  More on this next.


I sketched out my thumbnail concept onto the canvases.  When painting in the drawing, I tinted and shaded my original paints for contrast.  I also mixed in a bit of acrylic glazing liquid with the paint, so, for example, when I painted the blue along the bottom… I would count to ten and the wipe away at the surface with a baby wipe.  This is both to remove some paint and to blend it along the removed area.  So you get the depth of the work you've already done peeking out from underneath your next layer of painting.  Cool?

I'm also using artist's quality paints, which is so in evidence when you start to mix colors as well as in their transparency.  Look at the tree branches and how you can see the layers underneath.  Quality counts in paints.  I'm a huge fan of DaVinci paints.  If you cannot find them locally, I've gotten excellent service from online supplier, Jerry's Artarama.  They are also my local art store *pinching my lucky self*.

Here is the painting part finished.  It's fine, but more depth and contrast need to be added.


You may have noticed that I've added a dimensional element to my painting.  the birdhouse hole in the center is actually a brass circlet that I've attached to the canvas with Aves' Apoxie Clay *lurv this schtuff!*

I dry-brushed a little white paint along it's decorative edge to pickup the detail.

Then I applied a General Pencil 6B Graphite pencil along the edges of the painted houses, smudging it with an old dry bristle paintbrush that I use only for this purpose.


It gives everything a smokey, shadowed edge and make things start to POP.

Speaking of pop, final step is to get out a fine detail black pen (I use a FC Pitt pen), and the white paint pen (I use a Decoart pen), and highlight details.  The loop shapes on one part of this lighthouse and the railings are a good example.  Squiggle, outline and make things refined and contrasted.


And that's it!  I was surprised at how quickly this came together.  I had to leave the workshop early to tend to the short people after school, but added my dimensional elements and detailing at home.

Thanks for looking!



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