A BLUNT FORCE JOURNEY THROUGH THE ARTS!

The Artistic Biker is me, Jonathan "Blade" Manning.
A treasure troll of a man, with hobbit feet and a sharp pointy head.
The Artistic Biker is a blunt force journey through the art world and art journaling. If Bob Ross, Red Green and Justin Wilson had a love child, it would be The Artistic Biker!
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Atmospheric perception

June 1st, 2009
College Chapel

College Chapel

On Friday, Jeff Knecht and I had a critique session in which he mentioned that the trees on the left of this sketch were difficult to distinguish.  He thought they were one tree and thought that the details were a bit jumbled.  My lovely young bride and I had been talking about that very thing just that morning and I asked her for some pointers.  She suggested that I try to distinguish the colors more and that I incorporate a bit more atmospheric perspective.  I asked her if she would be willing to write out a lesson for me to post here.  Alas, it was the last week of school for my art teaching lover, and she was too busy with clearing her room for summer.

wctreesdemoicon I did find a cool tutorial online that I thought I would share with you, along with my step by step version.  Kristen Godsey wrote has an article that is hosted at The Artistic Network called Getting Greenery Right.  She suggested that I should wash my foreground color first.  After that dries, paint in my background tree.  Once the background tree dries, then I should lift the background paint off of my foreground image.  HUH? Not to worry.  It’s not as complicated as it seems.  In her demonstration, she is lifting blades of grass to create a lighter foreground.  She uses a very stiff brush and a full pallet of transparent and opaque paints.  I use a waterbrush and a set of transparent pans.  Let’s see if I can modify this technique to work for me.

washing the foreground color

washing the foreground color

First, I use a warm green for the leaves of the cottonwood tree in the foreground.  This is strictly from memory, so you’ll just have to believe me when I tell you it is a cottonwood.  Anyway, I apply a wash in the full overall shape of the cottonwood tree.  Then I went to play on Twitter while I waited for the paint to dry.  I know that it was not very zen of me, I should have been of one mind and all that.  But seriously, waiting for paint to dry is not one of my strong suits.

Painting in the background tree OVER the foreground wash

Painting in the background tree OVER the foreground wash

Next, I use a cooler and darker green for the cypress tree in the background.  This is kind of the confusing part for me because usually if you want something to stand out in the foreground you make it darker.  But this type of tree actually is darker.  You can tell, I am easily confused.  Anyway, that’s the point of using the cooler color to give it a little push to the background.  That’s where the atmospheric perspective comes in to play.  Less detail and more subdued colors move an item to the back or off to the side out of focus.  If I had wanted this in the foreground, I would have used bolder colors but still less detail so that the focus would have remained on the cottonwood, and subsequently the chapel (remember the chapel?).

"Lifting" the foreground

"Lifting" the foreground

“Lifting” the foreground is especially simple with a waterbrush.  The constant supply of fresh water easily lifts the pigment off the paper.  The only thing I had to be careful of was lifting off the foreground color as well.  Also, just like with a regular brush, after you pick some paint up, you have to remove it from your brush or you just keep redistributing it.  So unless you want to lay that same color back down on your painting, best to wipe your brush off after every lifting stroke.

Re-apply warmer foreground

Re-apply warmer foreground

Almost finished now.  I have reapplied the foreground color.  I’ve added a little more heat to it (a little red and a little sienna) and brushed it around the whole of the area of the cottonwood.  Also, I’ve used it to define some of the shading on the tree.   It has already made a distinction and now I’m excited to see how it’s going to turn out.  I’m off to play on Twitter while the paint dries again.

details

details

Finally, I went back in and added the tree trunks, branches, highlights on the leaves, etc.  This time, I think it’s quite obvious that they are two different trees.

I’m eager now for a chance to try this in the field.  It is supposed to be beautiful weather all week so I may ride down to a creek by my day job and try this out on location.

I hope I can twitter from my phone while the paint dries, though.





The Artistic Biker is me, Jonathan "Blade" Manning.
A treasure troll of a man, with hobbit feet and a sharp pointy head. You may see me traveling up and down the highways of Oklahoma looking for the next place to sketch, paint, sing, dance, write, photograph or simply meditate. I have begun a journey that once set upon, there is no turning back. You can share in my blunt force journey through the art world on my weekly U-stream broadcast
The Artistic Biker Live!

Thursdays from 6-8p central
Also, check me out on Teh YouTube!
You can "LIKE" me on Facebook!
And on Twitter, I'm @BladeTheArtist

No Responses to “Atmospheric perception”

  1. Geri Ann on June 1, 2009 1:09 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial – looks great! I’ll have to try this when I get home – always looking for technique tips!

    Geri Ann’s last blog post..Many Thanks to Jack Hamm

  2. MaryJo Chieffe on June 1, 2009 5:38 pm

    What a fun step-by-step lesson! I especially like the art mannequin/Vanna White. The title sounded a little scary and professional sounding (you know – something for the “real” artists) so I was a little hesitant at first. But I think I might actually get it now! Thanks!

  3. Ana Tirolese on June 1, 2009 7:51 pm

    Hi, I really like how you posed your artist dummy to show the work. It made me smile.

    Nice work.

    The way you did the trees the second time does look much better.

  4. hippie-wannabe-mom on June 2, 2009 7:05 am

    Very good lesson. I could follow and understand each step even though I don’t have an art background.

  5. Blade on June 17, 2009 11:26 pm

    Thank you all so much for you comments.

    Geri Ann, if you try it, please e-mail me and let me know how it turned out for you.

    Mary Jo, Ana, I will from now on refer to that as a Vannaquin! I’m glad you liked it.

    Mom, thank you very much!

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