Curlew Gouache Artwork Painting Trees

Curlew Gouache Artwork Painting Trees – This is part 2 of a continuing series documenting the development of my gouache painting of a Far Eastern Curlew bird and a landscape in Siberia. The trees on the mountains in the background were not painted properly in the first post.

Curlew Gouache Artwork Painting Trees - Using a liner and water based gouache paint, I am painting the sun highlights on the trees.
Curlew Gouache Artwork Painting Trees – Using a liner and water based gouache paint, I am painting the sun highlights on the trees.

In this post I’ll document the improvement and explain how I do some things. The trees originally did not look right. The trees which were spruce trees, were sparse and just did not look proper. To make the correction, I first painted over the old trees by mixing a blue color that matches the background. Next I begin drawing the outline of each individual tree. On the left is a detailed close up and on the right are the beginning of the new trees with the entire painting as a whole. I want to make sure that the my new technique is working so I finish the lower left portion of the mountain to make sure that I am satisfied before wasting time doing the whole mountain just to realize that it still doesn’t look right. Once I am satisfied, I proceed to apply the same technique that was done in the lower left hand corner of the mountain to the entire mountain.

Because I like to draw with a brush , I mix my gouache paint with a lot of water. To save money and time, I use a piece of glass for my palette with a sheet of white paper underneath. I like mixing my paint on glass because glass is hard and smooth which is the type of surface you need if you are going to mix your colors with a lot of water. Also, glass will never wear out. I have several sheets of glass with a different set of colors on each one. Pictured left is my mountain colors palette. On this particular sheet of glass I have my mountain background blue color, my spruce tree outline and shape color and my spruce tree highlight green. Using a liner brush, I apply the highlight green color to the outline of each tree on the mountain. Compared to the first post, the trees on this mountain are a big improvement. It was worth the time and effort to mix more paint to paint over everything and do all over again. You’ll notice in the photos that show my brush technique, there is always a piece of paper underneath my hand. That is to prevent the oils that are present in skin from coming in contact with the painting. The final thumbnail on the right shows the finished spruce trees on the mountain. In the next post, we’ll work on the grass in the meadow.

Curlew Gouache Artwork Painting Trees - Using a liner and water based gouache paint, I am painting the sun highlights on the trees.
Curlew Gouache Artwork Painting Trees – Using a liner and water based gouache paint, I am painting the sun highlights on the trees.
Curlew Gouache Artwork Painting Trees - Another view of the lighter blue mountain color used as a base for the trees. When the sun highlight is added, it gives a warm/cool color contrast.
Curlew Gouache Artwork Painting Trees – Another view of the lighter blue mountain color used as a base for the trees. When the sun highlight is added, it gives a warm/cool color contrast.
Curlew Gouache Artwork Painting Trees - A close up of my brush technique of using a liner to paint the highlights on the trees using watered down gouache paint.
Curlew Gouache Artwork Painting Trees – A close up of my brush technique of using a liner to paint the highlights on the trees using watered down gouache paint.
Curlew Gouache Artwork Painting Trees - This is my palette, a sheet of glass with a piece of white paper underneath. For me it works the best because it's flat and is more resilient than plastic.
Curlew Gouache Artwork Painting Trees – This is my palette, a sheet of glass with a piece of white paper underneath. For me it works the best because it’s flat and is more resilient than plastic.
Curlew Gouache Artwork Painting Trees - At this stage of the painting, the mountains in the background are finished. I work on things that are distant first and work my way forward.
Curlew Gouache Artwork Painting Trees – At this stage of the painting, the mountains in the background are finished. I work on things that are distant first and work my way forward.

Beginning a Painting in Gouache

Beginning a Painting in Gouache – This is the first part of a continuing series documenting the development of my gouache painting, Far Eastern Curlew Wading In A Stream In Siberia 1. This painting features some Far Eastern Curlews (birds) and a mountainous Siberian landscape. It initially began as a rough sketch. After painting with acrylic paint for years, I recently made the switch to gouache paint. Having not painted landscapes, trees or grass with gouache, I made what had intended to be a practice sketch. I don’t usually photograph practice sketches or monitor their progress.

Beginning a painting in gouache curlew
Beginning a painting in gouache. The mountains, grass and other elements are in place but not refined.

The result of this practice painting had turned out much better than I anticipated. When I saw that this painting had potential, I decided to start photographing the progress. Having a great love for all things Siberia (mountains, rivers, wildlife) I composed a typical Siberian landscape with a Far Eastern Curlew (bird) wading in a stream. The Far Eastern Curlew is a wading bird native to eastern Russia and parts of China. The paper is 18″ X 24″ Strathmore 400 Series watercolor paper. If you look closely at the edges, you can see clear packing tape holding the edges to my drawing table to minimize warping. At this stage of progress, the stream is finished and most of the grass. The mountains and trees still need work. I will document that portion of work on the painting in the next post.