I love aspens – the way their leaves quiver, the fact that a grove could be one ginormous plant, the colors they add to the mountains as the seasons change.
Seemed appropriate that a 15-minute study should be of a place called Rush Creek up in the Eastern Sierras!
Aspens, calm water, reflections, and done. I also used this as an opportunity to check out a new spray fixative (for me). This is an acrylic semi-gloss.
The problem with pastels is they smear if touched, so storing them and framing them can be a bit tricky. Smearing was attenuated well here, but it did take about 8 applications, some of which were a single coat, and the last about 4 or 5, back and forth, out of impatience.
Fixatives often dull colors or darken them, and whites can be especially vulnerable. This one seems to have done okay, perhaps turning the white of the aspen trunks to a creamy color, but the white trunks on the middle right seem to be doing okay.
Interesting thoughts arise . . .
I am really rather pleased with this gouache – haven’t done any since last year! When I am painting in gouache, each one begins okay, with clear ideas in my head. And then it gets really and truly hideous. And then, it changes, almost by itself, and comes together in a way that watercolor doesn’t. I don’t know how to describe it, but the process is quite magical – just like snowy woods in the late afternoon.
I painted this using multiple layers of frisket on the paper. On the first round, I blocked off the right side of the aspens. Once I was fairly content with the overall image, I added frisket over various areas, such as the greens and browns of the foliage. I made lines to represent trees, and dots to suggest a glint of sunshine on a leaf. I did this three or four times on dried paint. In the end, I removed the frisket, left some areas white, and painted over other white areas with transparent glazes, hoping to pull together different areas of the painting. Finally, I made small dots of colored paint in the foliage, to suggest leaves.
This study was to utilize what I have been learning from the experience of following Rick Surowicz’s YouTube videos, as well as what I learned just painting. This is the first time I conscientiously laid out a plan or method on how to approach the painting. First, drawing. Then frisket. Next, washes of green, gold, brown, and oranges broad across the paper and blurred using a spray bottle and blotting. From there, details, contrast, and so on. Overall, I think my painting has taken a turn for the better.