First go at northern lights

After painting some snowy pines last week, I ended up feeling like there was something missing in the skyline.

It may have been some stars or a big moon, but i felt that, beeing a painting of a cold nordic landscape, it would be an ideal opportunity to try and paint some northern lights.

I’ve seen a lot of great examples in tutorial videos, where you basically paint some lines of northern-light-coloured-paint over the canvas ,and then kind of drag it all across the canvas to get the glaring effect.

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So I decided to basically paint that last painting all over again, using the exact same technique as I did last time.
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The only difference painting the new version, would be adding on some ski tracks in the foreground, to make it all a bit more interesting, and some bright northern lights.

These were painted onto the canvas in the same process as painting in the general skyline, before adding the field and the trees.

After dragging in the paint for the skyline using my fingers, I used a small, flat brush to add some different mixes of permanent red violet, cadmium yellow, sap green and titanium white to the horizon.

I then used a big flat brush to drag the added paint in an upward and downward motion, before blending it all together with the rest of the skyline mix by dragging the brush horizontally over the entire canvas.

It went OK, but there are still a lot of improvement to be done on my technique. This is how it looked:

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Snowy Pines

To get a little break from the people-painting, and to accommodate all the snow outside in the garden, I recently did my first snowy painting in a long while.

The technique I was really eager to learn about, was the effect of putting bright, white snow on top of some pine branches. I´ve seen it beeing done in several tutorial videos on Youtube, so it was time to see if I could get some of the results as well.

I started by painting in a cold, dark skyline using a mix of sky blue, ultramarine blue, ivory black, titanium white and a dash of turquoise blue, putting it one the canvas with my fingers in horizontal lines.

I then used the sky mix, adding on a lot of titanium white and some more ultramiarine blue, to use as a snowy field below. Adding the mix on with my fingers using the same technique as with the skyline.

This beeing done, it was time to put in some pine trees. So I picked up a fan brush, and made some outlines of bare tree trunks to stand in the background. I then used the tip of the brush to dab in some branches on the naked trunks. Basically like Bob Ross is doing in this video.

For the tree mix, I used some umbra nature, ivory black and a dash of sap green. I then took some titanium white, mixed up with a small amount of the snow mix, and just dabbed it onto the branches in the same way i did with the dark mix. Whiping of the paint and putting on fresh one for each refilling of paint on the brush.

I then did the same thing over again when i put to snowy pines in front of the painting, to stand in the center. Here I also made some shadows in the snow, using the dark mix blended with some more titanium white.

And this is how it looked:

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A girl in a big dress

In the series of “painting people from angles that are easier to manage to kind of get away with it and not screw it all up”, I did another one today where I painted a girl with her back to the viewer.

As I still don’t feel confident enough to try and paint peoples faces, this seemed like another step towards daring it and at the same time learn some new skills in painting humans.

I decided to go for a woman in a white dress on a sunny day, making her way through a cornfield. For the sky I used a mix of Sky blue and titanium white, and a small amount of ultramarine blue. For the far away mountains I used different mixes of ivory black, umbra nature, titanium white and ultramarine blue.

For the cornfield I lay a base layer consisting of sap green, yellow ochre, cadmium yellow and titanium white, painting in different mixes with a flat brush. I then used a small round brush to paint in separate straws in different colours of green, yellow and white.

For the girl I used a palette knife, putting in a mix of pure titanium white and a mixture of titanium white and sky blue for the dress. For the skin I used some raw umber, lightened up with titanium white. For the hair I used a dark mix of umbra nature, making some highlight colours to put on top after figuring out the shapes of it all.

That being done, I did some last touches with a small round brush. I then painted in some straws in front of the girl, to kind of place her out in the field. This is how it turned out:

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I think it turned out quite good, but it kind of bugs me that the dress seems to be a little to big for her body. I don’t know if that’s a problem or not.

Anyway, to get rid of some leftover paint, I also did a speed painting showing a plain field. Just keeping everything simple and clean, really.

It consisted of a skyline made out of sky blue and a lot of titanium white, and some trees, bushes and a plain field mostly consisting of sap green with different mixes of titanium white. This is how it looked:

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All in all an okay day.