The Process Behind 'Descent From Möbius Wood' #2
Updated: Apr 17
Missed Part 1? Click Here.
People often comment on or ask me about the depth in this painting and how I created it. With difficulty is the short answer. But let's have a look in more detail. (Sadly I haven't got any work in progress photos for this painting so I will illustrate the text with details from the painting itself.)
I started painting the background first and I used a watercolour style to create the lightness and blur, two things that help it to appear further away. I used thin washes of paint and worked wet into wet, that is wetting the board first before adding the wash, allowing the paint to blur and blend. The effect achieved is shown here in this thin strip:
The next stage was to add in the layers of trees furthest away from the viewer. These needed to be slightly darker and slightly more detailed. But I still kept these trees very loose. The lack of detail and paleness is what makes these trees recede in the final painting. Plus I added a thin blue wash to accentuate the effect.
This all adds up to what is aerial perspective.
Mountains in the background of a landscape become paler and bluer the further back they go. This is the technique I was applying to the trees.
The next layer of trees were painted in a more traditional acrylic style with thicker layers of paint. This helped me to make them crisper. Again you can see this layer becoming darker.
This process continued through the remaining layers, each one darker and more detailed than the one before. The struggle was in judging the darkness of each layer so that the final layers would be almost black, but still contain detail. Let's look at a tree from each subsequent layer to illustrate:
In my posts on how I made 'The Insidious Whisper', I wrote about how difficult it is to paint within a very narrow band of tones. It was exactly the same in this painting; the darkest trees were a complete nightmare. Getting them to look cylindrical before I added any details took me many attempts. Then keeping the details dark enough but different enough to be visible was another headache. It was a process of trial and error: paint a bit, dry it, then modify the paint and repeat until the desired tone was reached.
Put all of these trees together and the final image is (hopefully) one that you feel able to walk into.