Starting a painting entitled "The Clearing," I chose to build up an under-painting of acrylic. The colors I chose are (in general) the opposite (complementary) of the colors of the actual scene. Here is the reference photo:
What I plan to do with this painting is to minimize the detail in the foreground and shaded tree areas. The focal point will be the corner of the shed visible outside of the shaded area, with some luminous yellow-green grasses highlighted by the sunlight. As this scene has a lot going on, minimizing emphasis on certain areas will keep the viewer's attention to the focal point.
First, here is a simple sketch of the painting done with charcoal pencil. I then applied a fixative to the sketch to prevent the charcoal from smearing.
To apply those opposite colors, I chose green for the barn and red for the green shrubs. And here is the work-in-progress in acrylic. Hmm, that barn looks more blue than red. Perhaps I will add a touch of (opposite) yellow in the barn)!
After flattening out and drying the Uart sanded paper, I chose to add another under-painting of watercolor. My interest is to convey the greens in the grass (overlaid atop the yellow), and a purple haze in the distance. The painting still looked like a cartoon-ish mess!
But one of the joys of this technique is to experience the stark contrast from this stage of the painting compared to the finished product. Below is the finished version of "The Clearing."
I used a rougher version of Uart sanded paper, the 320 grade as opposed to the 400 grade I normally use. This helped me avoid the level of detail I customarily add to a pastel painting. The complementary color under-painting helps the true colors to "pop."
Click here for paintings available for purchase (and receive a coupon) at my Etsy store.