I’m almost two to three weeks in on my painting now and I can say that, other than a few mishaps, it’s coming along rather nicely. What have I done since the sketch? Well, let me tell you.
Having finished tracing my sketch onto my coloured canvas (first making sure it looked like I wanted it to), I lightly filled in some of the colours in the trees. I also darkened the general shape of the ground and coloured the angel outline white so I knew not to touch it. The next step was to build on from there.
Over the last few painting sessions, I’ve had to learn to be patient and to never, ever skip a step. Even just a little detour can be a mistake and add more time to your project. The good news is, I’ve learned a great way to fix the mistakes: white paint. It might take more than one layer depending on your paint type and the colour you’re trying to cover, but white paint is like a magic eraser. Once I put the white paint over my mistake, I was able to correct it by going back to step one for the part that I painted over.
I made pretty good progress—good news for me—but still found it a frustrating process. I just have to remember to never take my frustrations out on the painting. That’s when most errors happen, like when I dripped paint onto a section of the canvas that I had considered completed.
Once I had all the general colours in place, I went in to do the details. With a dry paint brush and very little paint—barely enough to show up on white—I slowly but surely added texture and shadowing to the painting. It may have taken many, many layers of going back and forth in the same area before I could change colours (after cleaning and thoroughly drying my brush) to get more details in, but it was worth the effort to get these good results. This technique is called dry brush painting.
I’ve also learned, through trial and error, and completely by accident (I forgot how much water a brush can absorb and didn’t dry it properly), how to create smoother details for things like the boulder in my painting. By adding water to dilute my paint, I was able to get different tones and strengths of colour. The less water, the darker it appears, the more water, the more translucent it appears.
Although I still have much to do before this painting is completed, I know I have to keep pushing forward, brush stroke by brush stroke.
Meaghan Côté is a second-year student at Algonquin College in the Professional Writing program. Other than spending time with her cat, Buffy, she enjoys reading (all the time, anytime, everywhere and anywhere), creating art, reading, drinking tea, more reading, and writing! She also enjoys cooking, although the results aren't always edible.