Recently I posted some photos that I took of a very foggy morning out here on the farm. The atmosphere of the scene has been nagging at me so I’ve been wrestling with some ideas. I’ve done several sketches, including some color sketches in both watercolor and acrylic. It seems the most challenging part to me is to tone back the color as I like to use bright colors so much. Fog is basically various shades of grey. I’ve cut back the color in the foreground and added more grey tones.
First I prepared the canvas which was already gessoed. In this case, I sanded it, added another coat of gesso which I texturized with a soft cloth. After this dried, I gave it a wash of a very pale but slightly warm tone. This would be my underpainting. Then I drew the image on the canvas.
I don’t usually use a wide variety of paint colors as you can see in the image above. I rarely use a commercial green, instead preferring to mix my own shades of green from the limited palette. There are only seven colors plus white. I also use an acrylic modeling paste which adds more texture. A matt medium cut with water is my mixing medium.
First I mixed several shades of grey and started with the trees, then worked my way down through the field, adding more color as I reached the foreground. I really had to keep reminding myself to focus on the foggy grey tones and not add too much color. Then I added some more notes in the tree line. The sky was painted with a very pale grey leaving some of the warm undertone showing through. The hint of the rising sun through the fog was actually an accident but I liked it so I left it in.
Then it was just a matter of adding the trees, darker in front, lighter in the distance. Not too many details but enough.
I’m not sure if I’m done yet so I think I’ll let the painting rest for awhile. I’m working on a companion piece so we’ll see how well that one comes out and if I’ll need to make adjustments.
I guess the lesson here is to learn restraint. For me it’s with color, also perhaps too much detail which can be a hazard for many artists. I’ll probably do some more tweaking before I call this finished. I’m always interested in feedback so let me know what you think.