Paul deMarrais | Behind the Easel | Autumn Pool

Behind the Easel: Autumn Pool

Step 1

With vine charcoal, I map in my composition. I keep it simple but it is still a very important step to get your design elements located properly. Getting the horizon line in the right place is especially important to get your proportions correct.

Step 2

With a purple brown pastel, I block in some color to liquefy.

Step 3

With a folded square of one inch thick foam I liquefy my pastel with matte medium. I loosely follow the forms as if I am sculpting my image. I purposely keep it loose so as to reinforce my simple design. The foam allows you to work very quickly. It only takes me a minute or two for this step.

Step 4

I begin adding pastel to the still wet medium. The pastel readily locks into the matte medium giving you a good bond for additional layers of pastel. I usually work dark to light and stay in the dark and middle values as long as I can to avoid a "chalky" look.

Step 5

I am refining now, building up layers of color and adding some detail. Each subject and painting requires a slightly different treatment. This painting will be about adding layers of texture to the foreground trees bringing them forward and giving contrast to my water areas.

Final

I have done more refining, added bits of warm reds to the water to simulate the fall leaves floating on the surface. This little tricks adds a bit of dimension to water painting. I play up the contrast of the blues and oranges to boost my color interest. I pay attention to the values of the sky and reflected water. The value in the sky needs to be slightly lighter in value for an effective illusion. I decide not to get too picky on the details and opt for a looser look for the finished 16x20 inch painting: "Autumn Pool."

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