My recent painting of Stonehenge was based on photographs I shot years ago while visiting the monument. The original pictures were shot in the evening, but I was inspired to paint the ruins in a moonlit scene.
I began by doing a sketch on top of the rice paper. Since I paint with high contrast values, I make sure to use dark enough lines (generally with a 2H pencil) so I can see the pencil marks once I start applying paint.
My first wash was localized color. I have not added any wax to the rice paper yet. Rice paper has no sizing and the color will spread if you use a lot of water. To control unwanted bleeding, I use paper towels to dab the paper dry.
I applied my first layer of wax to the lightest areas. Since this is a moonlit scene with lower contrast, I wil not have any pure whites showing.
I proceeded to paint the entire surface with a medium value mixture of green/blue.
The next stage was to apply wax to more of the monument and the foreground. A darker mixture of blue and greens were applied to the entire surface. At this point you can see the separation of the lightest values.
When I work on rice paper I often “throw” random bits of color on the surface, encouraging the eye to move throughout the piece. You can see little specks of red applied to the sky and foreground.
The background was finished at this point so I covered it completely with wax. I spattered random bits of wax in the foreground and continued covering areas of the ruins. My darkest darks were applied.
I finished the piece by covering the entire surface with wax, crinkling it up into a big ball to break the wax up, and applying another layer of greyed paint. The paint seeps into the big cracks and creates pattern.
Finally, I ironed off the wax and was left with the result above.
“Still Standing”– 20×35″