Acrylic idyllic spring landscapes on slate

My great-aunt Sharon held another painting class at my church, Mount Zion United Church of Christ, last Friday, and I went and took pictures. This time, we were painting spring landscapes on slate. If you remember the last time I blogged about painting, the group painted snowmen on slate.
First, I got a whole new set of brushes in a case, and a slate.
This is my great-aunt Sharon. In this picture, she’s showing us how we can paint on almost anything. The thing in her hand is a cabinet door. She also had an old suitcase and a TV tray with acrylic painting. She said that you can go to yard sales or on Craigslist to find furniture to paint. The coffee table in my living room is looking suspiciously like a good painting surface.
This slanty brush is used to paint nondescript foliage. We “ruined” the brush by smashing the bristles so we could load it with paint and gently tap it on the slate to make leaves for trees and shrubbery.
To start painting, we determined where we wanted our horizon line and painted the sky with hi-lite flesh, blue chiffon, and winter blue paints. It was weird using a peachy flesh-tone to paint the sky, but when you look at things to paint, you have to look at what colors they actually are, instead of what color they appear to be, if that makes sense. If you look at the horizon, you can see that it’s a peachy color that gradually fades upward into a light blue instead of simply a flat blue.
Then, we painted the grass. We used three shades of green: avocado, evergreen, and a citrus green, I think.
Using our foliage brush, we tapped some hi-lite flesh and purple mixed with white into the lower third of the sky. This gave some depth in the background, suggesting trees in the distance. We then used the medium green first to dab some foliage into the green areas, then used the darker green to suggest shadows and the lighter green to suggest highlights.
I decided I wanted to add a river, which, for me, was a brief disaster. My grandfather, who also paints, later told me that my river looked like it was pouring from the sky. I don’t have trouble with color so much as I have determining proportion and perspective. Also, my green wasn’t quite dry when I started the river, so it bled through the blue.
After adding the river, I was completely engrossed in adding details that I didn’t stop to take pictures. Here is the finished product. Using raw sienna and burnt umber, I smoothed out some of the shading near the river (that was successfully pouring from the sky). I experimented adding trees and flowers. I got the reflection in the water by using hints of brown, green and blue with a glazing medium and stroking straight down.
I was pretty happy with the results. It looks a little better in person. I think I mostly need to work on making my lines a little cleaner. Some of my strokes got a little sloppy.
Here’s the class with their finished pictures. Everyone followed the same instructions, but since we didn’t have a pattern or a template that we traced, everyone’s painting turned out a little differently.
I purchased some paints of my own and I’ll be working on another landscape piece soon!

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