Category Archives: Project 2: Transparent and opaque

Exercise 4: Monochrome studies

For this exercise, I first prepared two sheets of A3 with the background colours. One with an opaque mixture of black and white to create a light grey colour. The second sheet was with a wash mixture of Sap Green and Burnt Umber to create a really dirty earth colour.

I drew several winter trees in my sketchbook, then decided on a close up sketch to work from instead of other full tree sketches that I had also completed. I really preferred working on a close up scale for this exercise, the shapes were amazing.

(My sketch with pen, that I worked from to create the paintings).

Earlier sketches:

(Earlier sketches with charcoal).

I then used my pen sketch to use the opaque mixture to paint in the negative shapes on to the wash background sheet. Followed by using the dark wash colour to fill in the positive shapes on to the opaque background sheet. Comparing the two opposite techniques on the same subject has been fascinating and produced two very incredible effects. I discovered that the control of the paint was very different too. The opaque over the dark wash created quite a ‘spooky’ effect. Making the painting even more like winter, very cold and misty.

The connotations of these two paintings are very different. I favoured working on the dark wash with the opaque paint mixture. There was much more control of the paint with regards to the negative area using the opaque mixture as the second layer. It reminded me of a horror/ mythical setting. This could be really useful for future work.

T.P.O.P. monochrome studies Dark wash 1st

(Dark dirty colour wash first, then negative shapes with opaque grey).

With regards to working on the opaque background, I found that the dark wash had a variety of capabilities to explore. It was capable of a denser effect when needed, that held the marks that were created by the brush really well. Then had the ability to create a more transparent colour for branches in the distance

T.P.O.P. monochrome studies Opaque first

(Opaque grey first, then positive shapes with dark dirty wash).

Reflecting on this entire exercise, I have to say that I found it had both it’s successful and unsuccessful moments. I chose to keep the branches very blocked and bold in colour as I felt that this emphasized the contrast really well. I found the branches detail more natural on the opaque background in comparison to working on the dark wash. However the sky looked much better in my opinion working on the dark wash with the opaque grey.

With regards to future work this has given me the opportunity to practice techniques that will be of great benefit to my paintings. Texture, tone, detail, colour range, also such scenes as Moonlit skies, etc. will look brilliant using skills learnt from this exercise.


Exercise 2: Overlaying washes

Applying the second colour over the dried wash that I had earlier set aside (to achieve overlaid glazes instead of wet-in-wet blended washes) resulted in very different outcomes. There is so much more control in this method. In fact the second colour seemed to appear much more bold in colour than it did directly on to the paper. The paint seemed to work better on a dried layer of paint than it did in the original exercise flowing on the paper which really surprised me. The colours merged very differently. In a piece of work that will require more detailed and strict tone adding. In a dark landscape when both dark and bold colours are required on either end of the colour scale, this will be a very useful technique. I look forward to putting these really aesthetically pleasing techniques in to practice in to my future work. I have to say that I did find it easier doing this than the original exercises work. I have to reiterate that practice is definitely the key to this.

tpop overlay wash. dark dry first 001

My research and reflection on the paintings of Mark Rothko, in particular the huge Seagram Buildings paintings after I visited for an interactive tour of the Seagram murals as suggested is as follows:

Seeing Rothko’s artwork stirs mixed emotions for me. They’re very bold and dark. They remind me of feelings brought on by a classic horror film with the colours, etc. Although I  can’t say that they appeal to my personal tastes, its really good to see how the techniques can be used in a less obvious context and from a contemporary painters perspective. The second colours in his pieces really come through boldly which brings out the method that he has used to.
Reflecting on this artist has been interesting to look at artists work that I may otherwise avoided. This has encouraged me to research techniques not just preferred tastes. This task has deepened my understanding for research.

Referring to

Exercise 3: Opaque colour mixing

This exercise had both positive and negatives for me. I have to say that I found much more control than the was which surprised me. I liked the solidity of it and the ability to control the paints colour with a greater ability in comparison to the wash.
Using white paint to match the tone achieved was virtually impossible which was because of their natural effects. To use water made it have a transparent effect where as with white paint it was most definitely opaque.
It would be interesting to see how the transparent will work with the opaque. This entire project so far is definitely fascinating and really useful for future work. I am really thankful for practising these skills and cannot wait to take them further.

Exercise 1: Tonally graded wash

For this exercise I used ultramarine and cerulean. Initially I found this quite challenging to achieve a continuous lightening in tone. I challenged myself to be less strict and found better results.
This exercise is definitely one that requires plenty of practice. Once I achieved it I became really happy and excited by its results.

tpop p2 e1 001 tpop p2 e1 b 001

Regarding my above work: These aren’t the best ones as I used them for other stages of this project. I don’t particularly like that I didn’t go as light as I would of liked to on the lighter tone, however I am pleased with the smoother transition between the shades of colour, which is why I included it. I would of liked to fade to completely transparent.

With regards to the darker colour, I am surprisingly comfortable with the lines, etc. It gave me an opportunity to experience the possibilities of this technique for me to take in to my work.

Moving on to working wet-in-wet, I found the results really pleasing too. Thankfully the paper that I had used is suitable for water Based paints, this made a huge difference and was incredibly durable to the layers.

tpop p2 e2 wet in wet dark first 001
The results of this were really pleasing. The two colours and their many tones seemed to play on the page. This reminded me of the way that the light dances with the water on a river.
Recently I went out with my camera and sketch book. I wanted to capture details of natural landscapes for me to refer to in future work. I became fascinated by reflections and light. I am captivated with their effects on surfaces and how they manipulate what I can see. I feel that this exercise is really going to help me achieve some of these through my panting.