Behind the Easel: Autumn Pool
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.
With a purple brown pastel, I block in some color to liquefy.
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.
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.
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.
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."