Four seasons value sketches (12"x12"), from top left, clockwise - summer, winter, spring, fall
Four seasons, toned canvases with charcoal sketches
I had such fun yesterday at Great Brook State Park, working on the four paintings of the pond and pines. I chose four to create one per season. Since the pines are not much affected by the season, working at the park makes sense even though it's not quite spring yet, and it's just so much fun to be outside! Maris Platais suggested that I not only tone the canvases (my normal process), but do a value study in the tone color. He also suggested purple for the fall painting, to pop the fall colors and bring a smoky-ness to the background. I would not have thought of that.
Since I was looking for something that would dry quickly so that I can move on to the final paintings in oil, I decided to do the under-painting in acrylics. (For those who aren't into mixing media, it's fine to paint oil over acrylic, but not the other way.) The first step was to tone each canvas, and working with acrylics outside, this meant cleaning the palette after each canvas, the paint was drying very quickly. Then I did a simple charcoal drawing to fix the basic positions before I started drawing with the acrylic paint (the bottom photo). And finally I moved my tripod between two positions about 30 feet apart to paint the four value studies with more acrylic paint (the top image). It's a good thing there's a nice bathroom with a couple of sinks at the park, with all that brush washing.
Now that I've showed you the process, I do hope I'll be successful with the oil painting part!