Step by Step - Micks Commentary

Gull River, Haliburton - (south of Percy Lake)  

I get asked "Hey Mick how do you do your paintings ?" - quite a bit.  I have been considering doing a movie with my scanner - showing step by step procedures every 15 minutes or so.  The only problem with that is it seems like a lot of work - I plan on doing it - just not yet ... So for now this is what I've got !!!   S

The Drawing

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My first step (after I have some idea of what I want to create !) is the drawing.  I never pencil sketch my ideas - I just get in there and go.  And I do this with a very fine - old fashioned pen nib (Hunt 107) that I dip in my favorite Windsor Newton Permanent Black Spider ink.  The nib is sharp as a pin but as strong as a crowbar !  You can really press on it hard - And I did !!! I broke three nibs with this drawing - it's a kinda funny later thing... One of the nibs hit me in the eye - went splat, ink in my face - nib in my eye - ANYWAYS with this picture I started on the tall pines first - so I can get a good idea of spacing and a feel of where things are going to go -(oh yeah did I mention I was working from a photo taken this last fall) - after the seven or so pines were drawn I worked on the trees and shrubs underneath - then the curly-ques that I invented to represent swamp bushes... I like those spiral formations - they give a sort of abstract-pattern like effect - it lets me play with the reality of the image...  Then I said to hell with the weeds and went right for the foreground - I was really excited about drawing sumac !!! So I drew my signature foreground growth - the conical-shrubs - there's a pattern here - I left room for my two sumacs - I was a little worried about the negative space between each sumac sprout (should I paint it black or draw each bloody leaf - I argued for a while and then decided to do a little of both) - then the foreground was done.  Then I drew the drift wood - and then the lily pads under the drift - with a few pretty water lillies (not too many - just a dab here and there).  And the last item was the river - the mighty Gull River - Ha !  I put some mean waves in that little stream - did I go over ?  I was having fun and a little beer... Now two days later I was ready to paint - Yes it took about 15 hours straight to draw the whole thing.    

The Painting

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Now for the fun part - I really like this step.  It is so much more free than the drawing.  I started with the sky - the horizon above the trees was painted with a Pearlescent Metallic Liquid Acrylic - it's the "Sun Up Blue" colour - (that would be a great song title...) okay back now after my gap - I got a turquoise Acrylic to blend in with the Sun Up Blue - I really like turquoise - I feel that I should petition for it to become a primary colour. Then I added darker Blue Acrylics then some wonderful Purple Acrylics mixed with - and you gotta run out and get this stuff - "Speedball Pigmented Acrylic Ink" - Purple.  This stuff mixes and blends amazing - if Vincent had this stuff he would've lived a lot longer... it just leaves this sort of thickness that is reminiscent of Belgian Chocolat.  So I finshed the sky and painted the river with Metallic Inks and regular Windsor Newton Blue Ink - I've been using these forever - be carefull they fade... I added a little fade resistant gel to combat that.  I made a note that I would leave the white caps untouched.  Then I painted the background trees - I had about five colour combinates - mixing metallic with liquid Acrylics - these trees in the background were derived from Autumn Explosion (my second last landscape).  Then the undergrowth in two tone watercolour with Viridian Lizard Ink - this stuff just makes it easy - it doesn't show up on black so you can let loose and have a couple while you use it and not worry about going over the line... On to the Tall Pines - I painted them first with a teal Metallic Ink then got darker with regular green acrylics - and let them dry real good.  Ah then the birch - I used the Brightest of the Brightest Ink - I think I want to paint a super Beetle this colour -"Genesis Green" - Pearlesenct Liquid Acrylic - so 70's - I tie-dyed it with watercolour and regular acrylics and made it a mean-bright-green birch of a tree.  Then the copper sand - also with metallic ink and pencil crayon underneath - to give it shadows. Then the foreground which is all completely liquid ink - except for some metallic ink on the leaves of the sumac...  The driftwood I used my secret which I will not devulge - okay a regular HB pencil I find renders driftwood the best for me - mix it with a little bit of red pencil crayon to shake it up a bit,  and there you go... I also added pencil crayon, yellow acrylic and a silver gel pen to the tall pines and that was may last step...  

Just a little note - I used very fine 250lb Windsor-Newton cold press watercolour paper - I cut my own size - 11" x 15" from a 36" x 40" sheet.

And after four days - about 24hours in total - I am finished !!!

I just sold this painting at the McMichael Art Gallery !!!

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