Friday, January 7, 2011

Hugh Greer DVD Review – Creating Mood & Atmosphere

Unfortunately, I’ve got pneumonia and not enough energy/air to putter around in my studio – yet.  So, yesterday I got my art fix by watching Hugh Greer’s DVD “Creating Mood & Atmosphere with Color & Value” .  I thought today I would do a synopsis of what I learned.


hg3-slide2I enjoyed watching this video.  Hugh seems like a quiet, serious guy and he dives right in to his subject in the DVD.  He sets out to demonstrate how to create a different mood/atmosphere in two paintings of the same subject.  Lots of cool little tips along the way but in short, these were his steps:

  1. He stained 2 supports – one a blue grey, the other a warm golden yellow.  Let Dry.
  2. He applied an isolation coat of Golden Soft Gel Gloss medium – 3 light coats dried between.
  3. He explains transferring his drawing on to the supports including the process for establishing registration holes for later touch ups. 
  4. He blocks in the masses of the landscape – snowy foreground, barn, background hill, etc.  The same work is done on both paintings.  It’s cool to see the difference in feeling he gets just from the color difference in the base coat of paint.  He also softens most edges on the blue, misty scene but has harder lines and shadows on the sunlit, golden painting.  He does this fast and decisively…  He takes lots of care to get the values and aerial perspective working properly.
  5. He layers further wet washes over the early blocks and works into them with color shapers – one quite large.  This was very interesting!  It made the paint a bit more random and haphazard which he took advantage of when he saw something he liked.
  6. Details…  he does LOTS of detail in his pieces.  He used a variety of techniques:
    1. Alcohol to lift the paint down to the base color, removed with q-tips and tissues
    2. Alcohol dabbed over a tree mass and then scraped into with an exacto knife to lift out branch details
    3. details with a loaded ruling pen – something I’d like to try.  This drafting tool puts down a thicker bead of paint than a brush. 
    4. he rubbed coarse sandpaper over wooded areas to lift some detail out…  it’s easy to overdo this apparently.  Les is more.
    5. he used the color shapers quite a bit – especially to push the paint around to create the barn’s stonework. 

It was well worth the 2 hours it took to view the video.  He’s not a dynamic speaker, not a funny entertainer, but he’s got lots of stuff to demo and he does a great job demonstrating the difference one can create in the mood and atmosphere of the very same winter scene.  As you can see from the photos above, he succeeded nicely. 



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