Final steps for acrylic landscapes class

Daily Art 07-17-2018 finished painting for Acrylic Landscapes class with Bennett Vadnais

It feels great to have this painting complete! At the end of the class, Bennett advises us to stop making small adjustments until the end of time, and consider it done. We can always start a new painting, but often by continuing to fuss you end up undoing progress instead of improving. I made myself put my brushes down and got the final isolation coat on so I could see how it all turned out. The next day I brushed on the gloss varnish, so it’s definitely finished.

I really got a lot out of this class. The pace is slow, methodical, and detailed. It’s not a quick project, which was fine by me. Bennett teaches so many useful tips and principles for landscape painting as well as general painting techniques in the layered, glazing style. And as a side note, his recommendation for the Designers’ Round Sceptre Gold II brush was incredibly helpful. I hesitated to buy yet another brush, but was getting really sloppy results from the small round brushes I already owned. This brush allowed me to get the fine lines I was shooting for with relative ease, and I’d highly recommend it as well for really fine lines with good flow.

As I look over my painting, some things stand out as areas that could use further study (on a different painting):

  • my trees are too solid in mass, although I’m happy with the color
  • my brushwork on the natural elements (trees and grasses) is smoother/softer than I’d like and I want to work on more varied and slightly more expressive marks
  • the color intensity of the distant hills and buildings is too high and would be better if the color were more subtle, and values were lighter
  • the texture from the molding paste in the foreground is too subtle and I’d like it to be more textured and more varied
I love the layering of colors and how it builds depth and interest, especially in the foreground and trees. And when we added in the fine lines representing the tree trunks I was floored by how much that little element pulled that area together.
I don’t love the texture of this illustration board I used. It’s smooth enough that the brushstrokes I don’t want to show (like with the glazing layers) are visible, and the strokes I want to stand out (like the textured grasses) are too subtle. 
Now that I’ve gone through the class all the way, I want to jot down the basic steps and do another landscape on my own to see if I can put the principles and techniques into practice without the guidance of the instructor. I also need to do some color mixing exercises — Bennett does a great job of talking through his color mixes, but I was using a slightly different set of colors and had trouble achieving the same mixes, even though it should be possible with the set I have. 

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