My Art Blog

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Painting Hogwarts - Part 1

I've always loved the scene in the 1st Harry Potter film where Hagrid is taking the year 1 kids over to Hogwarts (the 1st time we see it) in the small boats.

I spotted a painting of it recently online and thought I'd have go at my own version.

It's painted on canvas (40x40cm) using acrylic.  The canvas was already primed with gesso (can you actually buy a canvas these days that isn't primed?)

I always do an undercoat first.  I used to paint a thin yellow undercoat, and then do a pencil drawing of the subject on top.  but, I've recently changed to do a rough painting of the subject in a cheap thin acrylic as the under painting.  This saves me spending ages doing a pencil drawing on the canvas (and I can proper fret on the pencil drawing on the canvas - hours saved :-)).

Anyways, I blocked in the rough outline of Hogwarts, with clouds and the moon peaking through, and just blocked in the sea as a dark blue - only spent may be 10-15 mins on this stage.

I then set about doing the sky / clouds and moon.  For the sky I mixed up some black, blue and a touch of white in a pot.  I used a large flat headed brush and did long strokes across the canvas, after a couple of brush widths I then added a touch of white and blue to the mix to lighten the colour slightly as I move down the canvas.  Continue to add a touch more white and blue to the mix to lighten a bit as you move down.  Sometimes it can create a banding effect (especially if you have added to much white/blue, so that the difference to the previous colour is too much).  If the paint is still wet you can fix this by mixing the edge of the "bands" together a bit more.  If the paint has dried then I would suggest using the dry brushing technique to blend in the "bands".  To dry brush, apply the paint (matching the colour of one of the bands) to an old brush, and then wipe/brush of 95% of the paint of the brush with a tissue.  Then initially, lightly stroke the brush over the edge of the bands, and as there becomes less paint on the brush, you can add more pressure to it.  Eventually, the bands should disappear as you shade in the edge of the each band.

For the clouds, I mixed up a similar (but lighter colour), mixing wet in wet, and darkening and lightening the clouds - trying to be quite free and see how the clouds start to come alive.  Obviously, the clouds are lighter at the top and nearer the moon, but they will have different layers and some will be more prominent which will create different effects.  I use the brush strokes to show the shape and structure of the clouds.

To paint the moon behind the clouds / peeking through - I mixed up a very light blue grey and made a rough circle.  Where the clouds were thinner I showed some of the moon light getting through the clouds, and for the thicker clouds - no light gets through.

I probably spent an hour getting the clouds / sky / moon right.

Here's the painting at the end of this stage ...


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