I have admired Sarah's misty, deep, brooding landscapes for quite some time now, and it has been several years since I last used oil paints, so I was very eager to get started with this tutorial!
I followed the last video to get my little studio space set up:
I am very lucky to have a Blick store very close to me, so I was able to get everything I needed there. I got a small, affordable tabletop easel, several cheap 1", 2", and 3" brushes, a small selection of white Taklon brushes, a brush cleaning jar, Gamsol, and Liquin light gel. I chose the smaller size canvas to fit into my apartment better. For the paints, I got the requested colors in Blick studio-grade where possible, going up to Winsor & Newton artists grade when necessary. If I end up painting a lot again, I might invest in nicer quality paints, but I wasn't sure how this would fit into my day, and setting up from scratch was already a bit of an investment. I'm told I choose my hobbies for the inconvenience and expense ;)
My little desk is already equipped with two Ikea Tertial task lamps and Philips Hue white spectrum bulbs. These were also an investment, but the ability to change the temperature of the bulbs has made a ton of difference when I have to fit art into weird parts of my day, regardless of the sunshine outside. A little bit of tracing paper over the shades has helped diffuse the light a little, though reflection did prove to be an issue as it got darker outside.
I started with the brushstroke practice to warm up, and moved quickly to blocking in the shapes. Three problems became apparent almost immediately; one, I was going to need to use one of my hands to hold down the easel in order to apply the pressure necessary to get the nice blends Sarah asked for; two, going cheap on the bigger brushes was definitely a bad idea, as there were already countless bristles embedded in my paint and all over my table; and three, I was already using way too much paint in my impatience to cover the area with paint.
I have managed to work up until my arm gave out around step 14, Layering Misty Trees Part 2. At this point, my lights were reflecting so much I couldn't really tell what I was doing anymore and my paint was thick enough that my strokes were pulling up paint from lower layers.
I plan to leave the painting to firm up a little while I consider it and decide how I want to move forward. I already know that I would like to warm it up a little with more green and lighten up the mist some too. I'm going to try to get some higher quality brushes for tomorrow. In the meantime, I need to learn how to get oil paint off my skin and out of towels!
I didn't get back to this painting for a few days, and when I did I was faced with a conundrum: my paint on both the canvas and the palette were completely dry. I'm not used to oil drying so fast, but I realized it must've been the Liquin Light Gel doing its job. After scrubbing my palette clean with steel wool, applying a light coat of the appropriate colors over the canvas, and promising myself to do a better job cleaning up in the future, I got to finishing up the tutorial.
A few hours later, and here it is:
It feels quite a bit different than where I left it last. My focus was on warming up the colors overall and achieving a more realistic, less conelike profile to my background trees. After several attempts at layering misty trees and scrubbing them into oblivion, I finally found a balance of pressure and stroke that felt right to push some into the background without losing all detail. It took me a couple of tries to get the reflection into a satisfactory state, but in the end I'm pretty happy with it overall.
I plan to leave the painting on the easel for a day or two to evaluate and maybe touch up a bit, but I'd like to keep my momentum going and get started on my own variation using these techniques soon!