The Painter Wow! Book: Painting with the Oils and Real Wet Oils
For Lennox Twilight, one in a series of paintings of New South Wales, Australia, we wanted to achieve the feeling of an old world oil painting. We painted using a variety of Oils brushes in Painter, beginning the study with a sketch, then using Oils brushes that incorporate RealBristle capabilities. Next we used Real Wet Oils brushes to scrub color in areas and to push and pull paint. To finish, we added details with the Real Short Oils brush, among others.
- Setting Brush Tracking. Some of the Oils brushes incorporate RealBristle capabilities, which means they are more sensitive to the movement and pressure of your hand than other brushes. Brush Tracking allows you to customize how Painter interprets the input of your stylus, including parameters such as pressure and speed. Choose Edit (Win) or Corel Painter 12 (Mac), Preferences, Brush Tracking, make a representative brushstroke in the window and then click OK. For instance, if you plan to use both light and heavy pressure while painting quickly and then slowly, try to make a brushstroke in the window that includes all of these factors.
- Planning the composition and sketching. Working in Painter, we created a black-and-white drawing using location sketches and photos as references. If you prefer, you can scan a conventional drawing and open it in Painter.
- Building a color theme for the painting. Next, we used the Mixer to mix colors for the painting based on more saturated versions of the colors. With the Mixer, Painter gives the you the experience of dipping your brush in colors and then applying the paint to your image. If the Mixer is not visible, choose Window, Color Panels, Mixer. It’s helpful at this stage to have both the Color panel and Mixer open. You can choose a color from the Color panel, or from the color wells at the top of the Mixer, or you can sample color from an image using the Dropper in the Toolbox (or the Brush with Alt/Option). Apply color with the Add Color tool (second from the left) at the bottom of the Mixer Pad. The Dirty Brush mode is active by default. The Dirty Brush mode allows you to mix new colors with color you have previously applied to the Mixer pad. (Disable the Dirty Brush mode by clicking on the button if you want purer colors, as we did.) You can pick up multiple colors from the Mixer pad with the Sample Multiple Colors tool (the eyedropper with the circle at the bottom of the Mixer) and then use the RealBristle Oils brushes to apply the multi-colored paint to your image.
- Building an underpainting with the Oils. When painting with watercolor, acrylics or oil, we usually begin with large brushes, and we work quickly and loosely to rough out the composition. Choose the Real Oils Short variant of Oils from the Brush Selector. The Real Oils Short is a good brush for quickly laying in color for the underpainting. Begin painting the background areas using broad brushstrokes. The Real Round variant of Oils is also a good choice. To paint while showing rich bristle marks, try the Real Short Fan brush. Don’t focus on details at this stage.
- Modulating color and sculpting forms. Next we used the Oils and Real Wet Oils to layer strokes to build more complex color areas. The Oil brushes with RealBristle qualities allow you to paint multiple colors with expressive, realistic bristle brush marks. The Real Wet Oils have very different qualities; with them you can achieve subtle paint application, blending and a liquid feel. Using Real Wet Oil
- Refining and adding details. Now, zoom in to 100% and take a closer look at your brushwork. What areas need refinement? To paint crisper edges on some of the headland, we used a small version of the Real Oils Short. To add accents of brighter opaque color to a few areas, we used a small version of the Real Flat Opaque variant of Oils. For richer brush textures on the background, we sampled color from the image using the Dropper tool, and then switched to the Real Fan Short variant of Oils. Using the Real Fan Short, we loosely brushed back and forth in a soft cross-hatch pattern--—which can be seen on the headland and foreground.
Figure 1 Making a brushstroke in the Brush Tracking window using light to heavy pressure
The process of sketching will help you to become familiar with your subject. To sketch as we did, choose the Real 2B variant of Pencils in the Brush Selector. Next, click the -Paper Selector in the Toolbox and choose a coarse, natural texture (try Coarse Cotton Canvas). This is the paper texture that you’ll use during the development of your entire image. Open a new file (File, New), and enter dimensions in the fields (this project uses a 1500 x 1000 pixel file). For this project, sketching is done on a layer, and the -painting is done on the -Canvas. Add a new layer to your image by clicking the New -Layer button on the Layers panel. A layer titled Layer 1 appears in the Layers panel. Use the Real 2B Pencil to sketch your composition. When you are satisfied with your sketch, save it.
Figure 2 Sketching with the Real 2B Pencil variant of Pencils
Figure 3 The Mix Color tool is chosen in the Mixer.
Focusing on the composition, the forms and the lighting, we loosely blocked in the shapes and base values, resizing the brushes as we worked. Then we began to use a wider range of values to establish the light on the forms. We expressively painted the clouds and landscape forms without restricting the brushwork to staying within the lines of the tight sketch. As we worked, we continued to use the Mixer as our paint -palette to pick up color and the two Oils brushes to apply the paint to the Canvas. When your underpainting is as you like it, delete the sketch layer by clicking on it in the Layers panel and then clicking the trash can. Save a new version of your file (we named ours Lennox Underpaint).
Figure 4 The underpainting in progress with color blended with the Real Tapered Flat variant
The direction of the brushstrokes helps to establish the forms and add dynamic energy to the image. We layered color over color, creating striations in the colored paint (to sculpt the rugged terrain on the headland), and to suggest the forms in the foreground.
To blend color as we painted, we used the Real Tapered Wet Flat. This brush allowed us to move and blend paint without applying much new paint. If you keep the brush pressed to the Canvas, and brush back and forth over an area, you can build smooth, blended transitions between colors. Switching between the Real Tapered Wet Flat and the Real Oils Short variants of Oils, we painted, pulled and blended colors, rendering the forms using expressive strokes. This brushwork is most visible on the water, in the clouds, and in a few areas of the foreground.
Figure 5a Modeling the cloud shapes with the Real Short Oils brush
Figure 5b Adding brush texture to the clouds using the Real Short Fan brush
Figure 5c Painting the headland with the Real Short Oils and overlaying strokes using the Real Short Fan brush
When we wanted a wetter oil look, we switched to the Wet Oils variant of Real Wet Oils and applied pigment with this brush. Using the Dropper, we sampled a different color every few strokes, then painted. To move small areas of paint, we reduced the size of the Turpentine Blender variant of Real Wet Oil to about 9–12 pixels. This brush work is most noticeable on the brighter clouds and in the lighter areas of the headland.
Experiment with each of the described brushes to get a feeling for how they apply pigment and blend it on the canvas. Use them freely as you paint your landscape.
To add final touches to the landscape, we used the Real Oils Short, Real Short Fan and the Real Tapered Wet Flat. First, we painted subtle translucent strokes of lighter green and rust onto the foreground, using gentle, curved strokes that followed the direction of the forms. We also painted lighter blue strokes onto the water and brightened a few highlights on the clouds and on the headland.
Figure 6a Brushing more color onto the cloud with the Wet Oil variant of Real Wet Oil
Figure 6b Using the Turpentine Blender variant of Real Wet Oil to soften the edge of the cloud
Figure 6 Detail of the nearly completed headland. The lighter rust color is painted with the Wet Oil variant of Real Wet Oil.