Advancing Clouds

Large cloud over a field
Oil on paper, 5″ x 7″

This study painting is the same view as the last post, but on a different day and with a wider lens. The final version here is made with oil paint on paper that was sealed with acrylics. The paints used were Williamsburg ultramarine, Rublev Cyprus raw umber medium, Daniel Smith zinc white, and a special white paint that I made myself. The reference photo is probably about three photos stitched together with Photoshop.

Advancing Clouds - ref

I started by making this as another acrylic painting on the same printmaking paper as last time. It seemed to go well, or I wanted it to, but while working I kept brushing aside thoughts that it looked too sloppy. When I finally photographed it and compared it with the reference photo it was obvious what a mess it really was.

Acrylic on paper, 9.25" x 6.25"
Acrylic on paper, 9.25″ x 6.25″

That was a little discouraging, but I started thinking that besides the messy brushstrokes the whole scene wasn’t working either. The nearest cloud is where the focus should be but it didn’t have enough of a sense of really approaching toward the viewer the way it was in person. After experimenting a little with cropping the scene on my computer I decided to try cropping and repainting the same paper.

First, the acrylic paints had warped the paper, and I wanted a flat surface to work. To smooth it out I brushed a mix of PVA glue and water onto a small piece of mat board, placed that onto the back of the paper where I wanted to crop it, then flipped it back over and used a roller brayer to smooth everything and also press the paper firmly onto the mat board. Nearly all of the warping was gone. All that was left was to trim away the excess paper and brush clear acrylic gesso over everything to give the oil paint a better surface to hold on to. Not much gesso was needed because the acrylic paint had already sealed most of the surface, except a little at the top and bottom, making it safe to use oil paint without oil leeching into the paper. The acrylic painting showed through the clear gesso and gave a guide for the oil paint.

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4 thoughts on “Advancing Clouds

    1. Thanks 🙂
      Maybe the the acrylic version isn’t so bad, but since it had taken longer than expected and was still messy I was frustrated with it and wanted a change of pace.

      It used a lot of gel medium to make paints very transparent and zinc white which is just as transparent even with nothing added. The paint was built up in many layers of slight adjustment to the lightness or darkness with transparent paints, which I really liked and was fun.

      The messiness came mainly from so many overlapping brushstrokes showing through the layers. It probably could have been cleaned up with a more opaque final layer that kept the colors the about same, since that’s basically what the oil paint layer did. It’s just easier in many ways to do that with oil paint. 🙂

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