This is the demo I did last night. It uses a very experimental (read) mad process to paint the tree on the left. Lots of splatter. The most interesting aspect of doing this painting was the final little detailing that bring it to life. It’s the last 5% of the painting process that makes such a large difference. These last touches are generally intuitive and therefore difficult to teach. You can show quite clearly how to draw a shape and what kind of wash to put in it but after all that is done a painting usually needs those special finishing touches and we can’t predict what they will be. We have to listen to the painting (which means look at it with fresh eyes) and see what it needs. It can be little dabs here and there, details, adjusting washes etc but this is what brings it to life.
In this painting I did quite a few minor adjustments but the two I would like to talk about are detailing the bridge. I had already added the drybrush to the top of the bridge and a few dark accents. Still I felt that the bridge while it was a nice wash was too uniform and a bit boring. What I did is add some subtle light washes all over the surface. From a distance you can barely see them but you definitely can sense there presence. They make the bridge just look more like a real living structure. The second one is the tree. Again after the demo it was OK but by splattering with a stronger purer cad yellow it became more dramatic. I also added some chinese white to the cad yellow for an even stronger effect.
That last 5% made a large difference.