UART Tip #13: Loosen-Up and Speed-Up Your Painting Session with Nancie King Mertz
Step 1: Whether studio or plein air, I always first map out a composition with directional “tic-marks” using vine charcoal. This ensures that each element I want to include has its space and prevents letting the subject “grow”, wishing for more painting surface.
Step 2 a&b: Broad strokes of darks are blocked-in next and a light wash of dematured alcohol is applied with a fan brush (Grey Matters by Richeson is my durable favorite). With my method, it’s important to get the darks in first (no lights yet!) and wash them down with a light application of alcohol. Drips are fine as is loose, random brushwork at this stage.
Step 3: Darks are applied more heavily-handed on top of those I’ve knocked down with the wash, to provide interesting mark-making.
Step 4: I then go in with the mid-tones and color that bring life to the piece, defining form and edges with soft and hard sticks, but still keeping it loose and fun.
Final step: Additional color is added to keep the image lively and to define space. Throughout the process, minimal drawing was done with the end of the stick, but rather I do most of the work with the soft or hard side, and then add a few light highlights with the end, at the end!
Alaskan Hideaway, 15×23
Nancie King Mertz