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Firefly's Race - a mixed media painting tutorial

Firefly's Race
Cyndi Lavin, 2017

This painting was very loosely inspired by a gorgeous copper beech tree that lives next door to me.  It is a truly glorious tree, but since it is not a native of New England, it is always about four to five weeks out of sync with all the other trees.  Just when we think we're done guessed it!  I suppose it is lucky that it is so glorious :-)

For this simple painting, I started with a sheet of heavy watercolor paper and painted the background entirely with diluted Iridescent copper acrylic paint, using a foam roller.  I gave it several coats.  

When it was completely dry, I tinted up some tar gel with Red oxide paint in an applicator bottle, and used that to sketch in the tree.  Accuracy was NOT an issue, just a general impression.  You need to let tar gel dry on its doesn't always react well to a heat gun.  So put it aside, work on something else, and come back the next day. 

The next step involves painting a scraping with ever deepening shades of the follow colors: Permanent green light, Phthalo green, Turquoise phthalo, and Phthalo blue.  Quickly drop some alcohol around the piece and lift some of the paint with a paper towel or cloth.

Splatter the tree branches with Red oxide, Quinacridone crimson, and Pyrrole red.  Finish with some lightly drawn lines of White gesso and dots of gesso tinted with Hansa yellow light.

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