Trees in Orange

This painting is the result of my first experiment with mixed media painting. I actually did this as a project with my students when I was still teaching art at Defiance High School. It was something new and different and it was really fun to do.

Trees in Orange Mixed Media

First I created a simple sketch of the trees I would have in the painting, then I lightly transferred the sketch to canvas.  I used tracing paper to trace the full size trees from the canvas, so that I could then cut pieces of thin poster board to lay on top of parts of the trees in the design, to create a relief.

Once all the relief parts were cut out, I used a watered-down glue mixture to adhere them to the canvas. Then I took tissue paper and tore it up into various sized pieces, and used the same glue mixture to "paint" the tissue paper all over the canvas. The goal was to create texture, as little or as much as desired, all over. This was allowed to dry overnight.

Once the textured relief background was dry, it was time to paint. I used acrylic paints, mixed with a bit of a slow-dry blending medium, to aid in blending the colors (I'm used to painting with oils, so acrylics always challenge me!).  I chose a complimentary color scheme, using oranges and yellows on the trees so they would really jump off the canvas.

Once the painting was finished and dried, I used thinned out burnt sienna oil paints (thinned with regular paint thinner) to get some shadows and contrast in the texture on the canvas. I alternately brushed on some paint, then rubbed off the excess with a clean rag. It's not super easy to see that detail in the photo. Another thing the thinner did, especially in the background, was to lighten parts of the blue color, giving it really nice changes in value.

The finished painting was left to dry for several days, then sealed with a clear acrylic primer to give it a sheen. Normally I'm not one for an ultra-shiny painting, but for some reason, it just worked for me on this painting.