This exercise was aimed at exploring two approaches to the same subject, in particular one in which the transparent qualities of the paint are dominant and the other exploiting the opacity of the paint. I started with a simple line drawing of a row of trees and used this as the basis for the monochrome studies.
Monochrome study on light ground
Using a dark colour over a lighter ground allowed the tree branches to be built up fairly quickly. I used techniques that I’d explored in the Getting to Know Your Brushes exercise and used the flat brush for stonework and the tip for the tree trunks. In doing so I could create an illustrative look and feel in a relatively short space of time.
Monochrome study on dark ground
This image was created by blocking in the negative shapes using an opaque mix. The result was very atmospheric. In using the negative shapes it stripped the image down to the essentials and I didn’t attempt to create the shapes of the pine needles but focused on the branches.
I followed the brief for the exercise but if using the technique again would carefully consider the background colour and how it is applied. The initial wash on the paper had been uneven and this resulted in an almost mist-like quality in the painting. This was accidental and I liked the effect but it made me focus on the need to think from the background layer outwards and how this will affect the completed image.