Painting “Mediterranean Door”

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IN THIS STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE, I WILL SHOW YOU HOW I CREATED “MEDITERRANEAN DOOR”.

I AM A SELF-TAUGHT ARTIST. MY SYSTEM FOR BUILDING A PAINTING EVOLVED THROUGH YEARS OF WORKING WITH THE MATERIALS AND DISCOVERING WHAT WORKS FOR ME. THERE MAY BE BETTER OR FASTER TECHNIQUES THAT ARE TAUGHT IN ART SCHOOLS. IF YOU ARE NEW TO PAINTING, I HOPE THAT WHAT I HAVE TO SHARE ABOUT MY OWN DISCOVERIES WILL HELP YOU IN SOME WAY.

MATERIALS:  11 X 14 CANVAS / ACRYLIC PAINT / ROUND AND FLAT BRUSHES IN SIZES SMALL TO MEDIUM / GESSO / WATER PITCHER TO RINSE BRUSHES BETWEEN PAINT COLORS / PAINT COLORS: ULTRAMARINE BLUE, METALLIC COBALT BLUE, NAPLES YELLOW, RAW SIENNA, BURNT SIENNA, HOOKER’S GREEN, EMERALD GREEN, AQUA GREEN, DARK VIOLET, LIGHT VIOLET, BLACK, WHITE

STEP 1:  THE BACKGROUND

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IN PREVIOUS PAINTING BLOG POSTS I BEGAN THE COMPOSITION WITH AN OUTLINE OF THE MAIN SUBJECT IN BLACK OR WHITE PAINT. HERE, I’VE GONE STRAIGHT INTO THE BACKGROUND LAYER OF COLOR (OVER A LAYER OF GESSO). THE REASON IS, THERE IS LESS TO CONSIDER ABOUT THE MAIN SUBJECT AS FAR AS PROPORTION AND DETAILS.

I KNEW I WANTED TO PAINT A DOOR SURROUNDED BY FLOWERS. INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON THE STRAIGHTNESS OF LINES AT THIS POINT, I’M THINKING ABOUT THE COLORING OF STONES AND WHERE THE LIGHT WILL HIT. THE STONES ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE DOOR ARE A DARK GRAY. THAT IS WHERE I PLAN ON PAINTING A ROSE VINE, WHICH WILL CAST SHADE OVER THE STONES. THE STONES ON THE LEFT ARE LIGHT GRAY, AND WILL CATCH THE SUNLIGHT.

I USED THE SAME MEDIUM FLAT BRUSH FOR THIS LAYER, RINSING THE BRUSH BETWEEN COLORS AND DRYING IT ON PAPER TOWELS. IF YOU WANT A THINNER LINE WITHOUT HAVING TO CHANGE BRUSHES, TURN THE MEDIUM BRUSH SIDEWAYS.

STEP 2:  EXPERIMENTATION

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I’M EXPERIMENTING WITH THE COLOR AND SIZE OF THE STONE’S HERE. I’VE NOTICED THE STONES ARE A BIT ANGLED ON THE LEFT SIDE. IT’S AN EASY FIX. I’LL GO IN WITH A THIN BRUSH AND BLACK PAINT TO MAKE STRAIGHT LINES ON TOP OF EACH STONE. IT IS SOMETHING I WOULD HAVE DONE ANYWAY TO CREATE A LOOK OF DEPTH AND SHADOW BETWEEN STONES.

I’VE GIVEN THE DOOR A BASIC FRAME THAT I WILL BUILD UP WITH SEVERAL LAYERS OF COLOR AND DETAIL TO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE WOOD. I WAS DEBATING WHETHER THE WOOD SHOULD BE WHITEWASHED OR NATURAL. I STARTED WITH WHITEWASHED TO SEE HOW IT LOOKS, BUT WILL EVENTUALLY CHANGE IT TO CREATE CONTRAST WITH THE WHITE STONES.

FOR THE DOOR COLOR, I USED A COMBINATION OF ULTRAMARINE BLUE, METALLIC COBALT BLUE, AND TOUCHES OF WHITE. WITH A FLAT MEDIUM BRUSH, I WORKED QUICKLY WITH THE WET PAINT TO GET THE STRAIGHT LINES OF VARYING COLOR. IF IT BLENDS TOO MUCH AND LOOKS LIKE ONE FLAT COLOR, I GO IN WITH A SMALL ROUND BRUSH AND ADD LINES OF DARK AND LIGHT COLOR UNTIL I GET THE VARIANCE I WANT.

STEP 3:  ADDING GREENERY

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THE STONES ON THE RIGHT ARE NOW JUST A HINT OF COLOR AND SHAPE. FOR THE STONES ON THE LEFT, I USED A SPOTTING TECHNIQUE WITH A SMALL, ROUND BRUSH AND GRAY PAINT TO MUDDLE THE BLACK LINES AND GIVE THE STONES A SENSE OF TEXTURE. 

PAINTING IN THE GREENERY WAS SO MUCH FUN. THIS IS WHERE IT ALL COMES TO LIFE. WITH A DEERFOOT STIPPLER BRUSH (IT HAS OVAL-EDGED BRISTLES THAT RESEMBLE THE SHAPE OF A DEER FOOT), I CREATED THE FIRST LAYER OF FOLIAGE WITH BLACK PAINT TO CREATE BACKGROUND SHADOW AND SHAPE FOR A SENSE OF DEPTH. I THEN USED THE HOOKER’S GREEN AND THE SIDE OF THE BRUSH TO DAB THE COLOR INTO THE SHAPE OF HANGING BRANCHES. LATER, I WILL USE A BRIGHTER AQUA GREEN TO CREATE HIGHLIGHTS.

I’VE PAINTED IN THE FOUNDATION LAYER FOR THE WINDOW AND CREATED AN ANTIQUE DOOR HANDLE WITH A THIN ROUND BRUSH. THE DOOR FRAME HAS BEEN CHANGED TO A GNARLED WOOD LOOK. FOR THIS, I USED THE SAME BRUSH AND WAVY STROKES. THE COLORS FOR THE WOOD INCLUDE: NAPLES YELLOW, RAW SIENNA, BURNT SIENNA AND BROWN.

STEP 4:  THE STONE STEP

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SOME OF YOU MAY BE WONDERING WHY I DIDN’T PAINT THE STONE STEP WITH A STRAIGHT EDGE. IT’S A PERSONAL REASON. I LIVED IN EUROPE FOR A TIME AND WAS FASCINATED WITH LIMESTONE STEPS THAT WERE HUNDREDS OF YEARS OLD. THEY WERE SHINY AND WORN DOWN IN PLACES WHERE PEOPLE HAD STEPPED REPEATEDLY OVER THE CENTURIES. IT’S A HISTORIC CHARM I WANTED TO ADD IN MY PAINTING.

STEP 5:  DETAILS

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IT IS THE FINAL LAYERS OF COLOR THAT ARE THE MOST FUN FOR ME. I LOVE DECIDING WHERE THE LIGHT IS GOING TO BRIGHTEN THINGS UP. FOR THE LAVENDER FLOWERS, I USED THREE COLORS IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER: PLUM, MAGENTA AND LIGHT MAGENTA. I ALWAYS PAINT THE DARKEST COLOR FIRST, THEN ADD SMALLER AMOUNTS OF THE LIGHTER COLORS.

THE ROSES ARE A MIX OF NAPLES YELLOW AND WHITE. FOR SMALL, BUDDING ROSES, I JUST GAVE THE CANVAS A DOT OF PAINT WITH A SMALL, ROUND BRUSH. FOR THE LARGER ROSES, I USED THE SAME BRUSH AND MADE FOUR DOTS TO GIVE THE IMPRESSION OF PETALS.

STEP 6:  THE FIX

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I HAD SO MUCH FUN PAINTING IN THE ROSES THAT I PAINTED TOO MANY OF THEM! THE COMPOSITION FELT TOO HEAVY ON ONE SIDE. SO I WENT BACK IN WITH THE DEERFOOT STIPPLER AND BLACK PAINT TO PAINT OUT SECTIONS OF ROSES. I THEN ADDED IN THE GREEN HIGHLIGHTS AND CAME TO THE FINAL STAGE SHOWN AT THE TOP OF THIS PAGE.

I HOPE MY WANDERINGS THROUGH THE PAINTING PROCESS HAVE INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE YOUR OWN PAINTING. THANKS FOR STOPPING BY!

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