Liquid acrylics make a great base for coloured pencil work, as Liz Seward shows with a lively spring landscape.
How to paint a spring landscape
Golden High Flow Acrylics
Caran d’Ache Luminance 6901 Coloured Pencils
Fabriano Artistico HP watercolour paper 650gsm
Hansa yellow light
Chromium oxide green
Dark English green
Paint a lively spring landscape
Using a full tonal range from the white of the paper to almost black from the 3B pencil, indicate distance with soft grey tones, middle distance with darker greys and foreground with crisp dark marks to create depth. Using the same pencil transfer the drawing onto a piece of HP watercolour paper of the same proportions.
Wet the paper all over then lay in yellow for the sunnier patches of grass and the foliage of the trees, then ultramarine where the distant trees and the large patches of bluebells would be, and finally pthalocyanine green for the foreground grass.
Leave to dry completely.
When laying in colours wet-in-wet, tilt the board from time-to-time to encourage the liquid acrylics to flow into certain places – don’t do this anywhere that can’t take a bit of mess!
Using medium cobalt blue, ultramarine blue and indanthrene blue pencils, all sharpened to a fine point with a metal sharpener, carefully define the distant trees by colouring the areas around them. This way because the trees will look as though they ‘belong’ to the picture more, and means all that lovely liquid acrylic colour won’t be covered up with pencil. By varying the tone around them you can bring them forward or send them into the background.
Start to define the edges of the leaves in the trees further forward.
At this stage add a bit of violet grey on the foreground trees, indicating branch shadows to define the trees as round.
Using oxide of chromium green start to shape the branches with leaves on, again working largely in the negative space, preserving much of the original liquid acrylic colour.
Then colour some of the leaves in the middle distance that are against the sky.
Next, thread the branches and tree trunks through the leaves using lost-and-found techniques, with violet grey for the paler tones; sepia 50%, sepia and carmine lake for the darker tones, varying the pressure on the pencil tip as required.
Run some burnt ochre over the darker tones on some of the foreground trees to warm them up.
Using the same four colours used for the tree trunks, define the path that weaves through the wood. Running these colours over the original green liquid acrylic will result in a slightly different effect to the trees but provides a general harmony to the piece.
Define the edges of the path with a broken line with a sepia pencil, and use burnt ochre to warm up sunnier areas.
Use Dark English green and grass green for the shadows in the grassy areas – give some a straight edge and some a ragged edge to describe lighter clumps of grass in front of them.
Apply more pressure on the ultramarine pencil for the shadows in the bluebell areas.
Add more defined bluebells to the foreground using the same colour.
Return to the liquid acrylics and mix titanium white with a very small amount of ultramarine to lighten the middle-distance bluebells and enhance the sunny effect, and to create some lighter flowers in the foreground.
Complete the tree in the middle distance with violet grey and cobalt blue.
Bluebell Path, coloured pencil over liquid acrylics, (25.5x48cm)
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