Monday, September 19, 2011

Painting Groundwork With Oils

I know that in the past I have always treated the groundwork step-by-step as part of the overall figure, making references to my methods as I go. I thought it might be nice to separate the groundwork out as a specific focus for an article. This would give me the chance to solidify my techniques.

This is a simple groundwork base for a single 54mm figure. I utilized a Walnut base, an Armand Bayardi resin tree stump, epoxy putty, static grass, dirt and White Birch seeds from my front yard (basically the same thing you get in a Hudson & Allen bag but I get them for free every two years.).

I shape the groundwork in it's basic form using the epoxy putty, after placing the stump in it's desired location. I use a few pieces of broken balsa wood to work a stone like texture in the putty. Balsa snaps unevenly and gives a nice varied tool surface for this task. The figure's feet are weted with water and pressed into location, lifted and the base is set aside to dry. Once cured the base is coated with thinned wood glue (I use one that dries waterproof to withstand the washes of color I use). Over the glue I apply light varied sand sparsely and then the static grass in patches. Later I glued down some of the seeds to resemble fallen leaves. Once everything was dry I masked the base and sprayed everything in white automotive primer.

The pictures above show the groundwork after two initial wash coats of Burnt Umber Oil Paints. I applied the wash to everything to unify the tonal values. As you will see in the following pictures the colors separate down the line in the process. I do apply the color heavier in some areas than others to pop out details (See how the leaves are lighter than the tree trunk above?).

In the photo above I applied a wash of Greenish Umber and Chrome Green Deep to the grassy areas. This was allowed to dry and an overall wash of Greenish Umber and Burnt Umber was applied to blend the two (below).

I used touches of Cad Yellow Medium, Cad Red Light, Yellow Ochre and Burnt Sienna to paint the leaves. This mix was thinned like a glaze (not as thin as a wash). Once dry a further wash of Burnt Umber was applied in certain areas to further define the ground, tone down the leaves and shadow where the figure will be standing.

Burnt Umber, Mars Black and Titanium White were mixed in various shades of grayish brown and applied to pop out the tree bark and lighten the exposed tree trunk where it has split. This mix was yellowed out a bit with Ochre and used to brighten the grass and the edges of the leaves.

Now the base is ready to accept the figure once he is completed. This will be shown in a few upcoming posts. Stay tuned and Keep Painting!!

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