Happy Thanksgiving! The cab of the truck and its reflection in the exhaust stack are now painted. Next up – probably the chrome on the front wheel of the truck and then a lot of the warmer highlights and reflections. I used a combination of Prussian Blue, Cadmium Yellow Medium, and Titanium White to give a warmer, greener blue that is slightly different from the color in the night sky.
Here are a few promising still life ideas. Just messing around with the camera, hand-held, in a darkened room with bike headlamps.
I was really torn choosing between painting the loader literally or keeping it very dark and mysterious, as it appeared immediately after I painted the sky. My compromise was to exercise restraint and keep most of the yellows on the darker side. I definitely like where things are heading, but the darker, silhouetted look also had promise, so I may have to do a second version of this composition.
The yellow string was based on Cadmium Yellow Medium mixed with Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, and Prussan Blue. The yellow is Royal Talens Cobra and the other colors are Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable.
The snow was really easy to paint – it is dry brushed Titanium White. I dipped the brush directly into the white, then wiped it almost dry with a paper towel. The snow is just sketched in now so that I can understand the composition. The plan is to revisit it to add more intense white highlights.
Here’s the painting in the studio.
The sky and its reflection are in! I’m using Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Oil Colors. Water miscible oils do have their downsides, but one thing I like about them is that I can easily go back in and sharpen an edge with a clean, wet brush. The same technique works for regular oils, but the brush needs to be loaded with a solvent like Gamsol. At this point, the horizon and the edges of the reflections below the horizon are soft. All other edges are hard. The sky is a mixture of Prussian Blue and French Ultramarine, lightened with Titanium White.
Now I have to decide what’s next: the yellows of the loader, the mysterious shadows on the dump box, or the bright blue on the cab of the truck?
First paint! I’m still working in acrylic, nailing down a few of the brightest brights before switching to oils for the sky. I’m trying something new with the headlights – they are light green. My plan is go over them again with a broken layer of light yellow and then again with a thick broken layer of white. The goal is to make something more interesting and realistic than a solid white rectangle. We’ll see how it goes!
Thought I was done drawing, but I ended up getting the white paint pen out to add some highlights, mostly on the rivets.
After another four hours, mostly working on the loader, I finally finished the drawing for Clearing Snow! Can’t wait to get started with the paint brushes!
Here’s the punch list for the dump truck:
And here’s the punch list for the loader:
As I mentioned in my previous post, the entire drawing was done with Montana Acrylic Paint Markers. I was planning to use a waxy Prismacolor pencil, but found that it just wouldn’t write on the slippery Mars Black acrylic ground. I tried the Montana markers on a lark and really enjoyed them. They are refillable and the nibs can be replaced. I purchased a bottle of Shock Black and a bottle of Shock White and an empty mixing bottle. These bottles are nice because they are designed to neatly inject the paint into the pen, reducing the mess. The pens and the bottles also contain ball bearings and steel rods to mix the paint. For this painting I mixed up a dark gray that was just light enough to be visible, but dark enough to disappear under a thin layer of oil paint.
I’m about 10 hours into this drawing for “Clearing Snow” on a 30″ x 40″ canvas. It is going to be a nocturn so before drawing anything I covered the canvas with Mars Black Golden Heavy Body Acrylic. I’m drawing with a 0.7mm Montana Acrylic paint marker that has been filled with a dark gray mixture. The gray makes the drawing harder to see, but it will be easier to paint over than the white I used in my last nocturne. I am using a 2mm black marker as my “eraser”.
The back wheels on the dumptruck and the gas tank have been reworked in a slightly lighter shade of gray. At this point, I’ve pretty much finished my 6 hour punch list of truck items. Now I will do the punch list for the loader and then I can start painting.
I’ve spent so much time with this drawing that I have a pretty good idea of how I will apply the paint. As with most complex paintings, the challenge is to establish the values early on while not losing the essense of the drawing.
Using the headlights and running lights to establish the lightest lights worked well in “Linemen Working” so I will try that again here. Then I will lay in the blue gradient for the sky and its reflection on the wet ground. The sky is the key to tying together the lights of the loader bucket and the shadow areas of the truck.
Even though the painting is a nocturn, the sky will actually be pretty bright to bring out the silhouette of the truck. At the same time, the sky must be darker than the bucket. Getting this right will probably require the snow in the bucket and the brightest yellows on the loader. After that I will nail down the lightest blue on the dump truck and figure out the values in the light and shadow on the dump box. By then I should have a pretty good idea of how to fill in the rest of the painting.
It’s like a big jigsaw puzzle.