New Painting of Golden Eagle Kodar Mountains Siberia – I’m beginning a new painting that celebrates the beauty of Siberia, it’s rivers, mountains and the Golden Eagle. Siberia contains many big rivers, scenic mountain ranges and fiery volcanoes. Despite it’s large size Siberia has very few people living there compared to North America or Europe. I’ve only seen Siberia from website photos and youtube but it has fascinated me that a place so beautiful would have such a small human population. I remember America 40 years ago and the beauty of the woods and forests of southern New Jersey. Now it seems that nearly all the forests are gone in New Jersey. Also, there is a reluctance to embrace any forest in the United States for fear of the bulldozers which will inevitably come and destroy them. For me it is recurring cycle that I have witnessed in America over and over. You fall in love with a forest and then, one day bulldozers tear it down.
Regions in Siberia, Irkutsk, Zabaykalsky Krai and Yakutia
I like Siberia, Irkutsk and Yakutia in specific, because of their extreme cold temperatures. Such harsh cold will keep outsiders away and that will help to preserve the taiga, local villages and all of wildlife that live there. The Kodar Mountains spans across both Irkutsk Oblast and Zabaykalsky Krai. This area is close to Lake Baikal and Oron Lake. Like my last painting (Wood Stork), this painting will try to show everything during the early morning sunrise, when the colors are the most colorful and there is a strong warm/cool bias.
Beginning Thumbnail Sketch
Every painting begins life as a thumbnail sketch. I make several thumbnail sketches to find the best composition. Once I am satisfied, I make a 3/4 drawing to make sure the composition still looks good when it is big. If it passed that test, I re-draw the composition onto the cold press illustration board. If it did not pass the test, I would make minor adjustments in 3/4 size or reject the composition and go back to the thumbnails.
After I have redrawn the drawing onto the illustration board (carefully using the grid), it’s time to start painting the background and gradually work my way forwards.
Painting the sky
Because there’s really nothing in back of a sky, the sky is where I usually begin my painting. First, I mix all of the colors that I think I’ll be using. In the case of painting a sky, the colors have to merge together like one big gradient. That plus I’m painting on bare board so I’ll take my biggest brush and wet the board where I’ll be painting the colors. This helps the colors to merge without seeing as many brush strokes. After the paint is dry, I take my home made carbon paper that we made and used to trace the drawing and lay it over the dry paint and begin the to draw over the lines to replace the lines of the drawing that were covered when we painted the sky. In the next post, we’ll create a distant tree line.
Wood Stork and Waterlilies Pencil Sketch – It’s time to start a new painting. The subject of this painting is a wood stork and water lilies. The habitat will be a swamp with several large cypress trees. I begin by making a compositions of the painting in thumbnail sketches. I drew this sketch using a ball point pen in notebook. If I have an idea, I sketch it out no matter where I am. I will re-draw it actual or half size to see if it still looks good in a larger format if I think the thumbnail sketch has potential. I’ll proceed to draw a detailed actual size drawing if the sketch was half size.
From sketch to full size pencil drawing
I try to make the drawing as close to actual size as possible. My paper size is 18″x24″. I’ll scale the drawing using a grid if the painting is larger than 18″x24″. Many are. Once the full or actual size drawing is complete, I take a piece of tracing paper and trace the drawing. This will be helpful in positioning various elements of the composition in their proper location as the progress of the painting evolves. After the drawing is traced, I proceed by turning my tracing of the drawing into a carbon paper.
Making a Carbon Copy of the Drawing
This is done by taking the tracing and flipping it over. I then take a soft graphite pencil (perhaps a 3B), color the lines on the back of the tracing paper. By doing this, I now have a carbon paper copy of my drawing which I can apply to the painting as needed. Because we will be painting objects from front to back, the elements up close will not need to be ‘drawn’ on our paper until all of the elements behind them have been completed. In the next post, we will mix the paint for the sky which will provide most of our background color for this composition.
Using a bridge to paint straight lines. When I was a student at the Hussian School of Art in the mid 1980’s, I had a teacher (Ginny Ferrante Perry) who taught me how to paint straight lines using a metal ruler. She referred to this technique as using a “bridge”. You would take the biggest, heaviest ruler you had and clench it in your non brush hand. If possible rest the end of the ruler on something stable like your desk or easel. If that’s not possible, just place the clenched fist of your non brush hand (holding the ruler) and rest it on top of your desk. Angle the ruler in the direction of your intended straight line. With your brush hand, rest the metal ferrule of your brush against the ruler and paint your straight line.
Brushes For Painting My Signature
Sign painters have a special tool for this. I learned the technique using a ruler and that suits me best. Many artists have no need to paint a straight line. Since I like to put my signature inside a rectangle like the Japanese print artists, I need to paint at least four straight lines every time I sign my name to a painting. I used a Windsor & Newton Regency Gold 540 #1 liner to paint the outer straight lines, a Robert Simmons 762 Series White Sable Flat Size 6 1/4″ short handle to paint inside the straight lines and Princeton 2/0 liner to paint the letters.
Drawing and Painting Feathers On A Great Blue Heron. I’ll draw the feathers on our Great Blue Heron using a 2H pencil. I chose a 2H because it is not too hard or too soft. Pencils like HBs or Bs tend to leave a mess and too soft for my liking. Harder pencils like 2H or 4H are much cleaner. However, they are still soft enough to make a visible line you can paint on. I always use a sheet of paper under my drawing and painting hand to prevent the oils from my skin from damaging the surface.
Painting on the Pencil Lines
Using a Windsor & Newton Regency Gold 540 brush, I paint over the pencil lines with a blue gray color that is darker than the heron’s base color. After the paint is dry, I take an eraser and erase any part of the pencil lines still visible. After I erase the pencil, I go back with the Regency Gold 540 liner and smooth out the lines for the feathers.