It's been a while since my last tutorial (3 years to be exact), so I'm very pleased to announce I finally finished the third one. The subject this time is painting storm clouds. As usual the video follows the painting process, from it's planning stages to the finished work. I'm adding the dry brush to the list of painting techniques. It's a very helpful tool for painting life like clouds.
Just like before the camera work was done by Theo van Egeraat and again it's simply great. This is the third video we did together and our corporation felt very familiar. I was not at all bothered by the camera while painting.
The music for video has been specially composed by Udo Pannekeet, bass player, composer and conservatory teacher. His amazing soundscapes add a wonderful feeling to the video.
My friend and fellow painter David L. Smith (great seascapes!) generously offered to edit the English voice over and since I'm not a native speaker his contribution was crucial for keeping the voice over understandable.
I'm in the middle of a wave-painting frenzy. Finished two wave paintings in the last month and I'm working on a third. Really enjoying myself. To me, a successful wave painting is about energy and freedom. Working on one always raises my mood. It's pure painting fun with all it's different surfaces: smooth, soft green patches where the wave is rolling over and explosions of white foam when it breaks. All these surfaces need a different approach: I glaze the smooth parts and for the foam I use pure paint, no medium at all.
Highlight of the fun is painting the foam dots that are thrown in every direction. I use a worn out fan brush to splatter the thin paint on the panel. Back in Kindergarden we did it with a tooth brush, but a fan brush gives you some control over the splatters.
Those of you who have seen my full length tutorials know that I often start with a midtone when I'm painting clouds. It can either become the shadow part or the bottom layer for the highlights. Then I slowly build up the highlights until I get them just right. With 'Tidal Pool' I took a different approach.
Tidal Pool, oil on panel, 35.4 x 47.2"
I started by painting the blue of the sky covering the entire surface. Waited a day til it was dry. Painted the midtone, a soft purple-like grey. Waited another day. So far so good.
Normally I would've painted a rather thin layer of Titanium White and a hint of Vermillion Red on top of this layer and repeated that in the next few days, up to the right shade of white.
This time I thought I'd try something else. The color mix was the same: Titanium White and a hint of Vermillion Red. The difference: no medium, just pure paint. With a number 30 spalter I bristled the dry paint on top of the bottom layer.The combination of the rough brush and the dry paint worked very well to create a cloud like surface.
I shot the below picture close to the painted surface. Especially on the edges of the highlights it clearly shows the hair-like structure that you get when using this dry brush technique. I left a small zone of the underpainting purple uncovered, to prevent the hard edges that will immediately turn your cloud into an isolated lump. Now it nicely dissolves into the blue sky.
As some of you may know I paint on 6 mil. MDF board. I order them at Mus-paneel, a small Dutch company, specialized in preparing painting boards. They do an exellent job. Got some secret recipe to make the surface as smooth as ice. After doing their magic they ship the boards to my framer to have them cradled.
The cradle is glued to the back of the board
Cradling is essential, especially for the larger boards. It provides stability and prevents curvature. But there is another reason. I use floaters as a standard frame and the cradle makes it possible for the painting to be screwed to the frame. (By the way, I love that word, floater. It describes exactly what happens: like your painting is floating in its frame. The Dutch term is less poetic: 'baklijst'. 'Bak' means bin, 'lijst' means frame. As if you dump your painting in a bin...)
The width of the border from the cradle to the edge depends on the specifics of the floater you use. The one I've been using the last couple of years allows a 30 mil. width between the cradle and the edge of the board. If you glue the cradle to far from the edge, it will have no frame to sit on. I probably lost you by now, didn't I? Maybe the above cross section will shed some light.
The Sea, oil on panel, 47.2 x 63"
Anyway, I thought I'd end this rather dull story with a painting. In a frame.