erich fritz fine art  

THE CREATION PROCESS:  "Calm Before The Storm"

Look over the shoulder of the artist by scrolling down through his step-by-step process of creating this airbrush & acrylic paintbrush work.  Get insight into the "how" & "why" of each step by reading the artist's words of explanation.

Step 1

Step 1

 

 

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In this step, I have painted the board blue to give the whole piece that bluish color you often see as a storm is coming in. I have already sketched out the two horses. It’s really hard to see, but they are both there. Once that is complete, I start building the closer of the two horses, layering thin coats of light brown. After about three coats of light brown, I clean the airbrush and start on dark brown, once again layering thin coats of the color. I use thin coats to give it depth and to keep the paint from running. If you are familiar with an airbrush, having paint run is really easy to do. This first picture is about 2 ½ hours worth of work.

Step 2

Step 2

In this step, I have added some gray to the shadow area. I have also added white to the white spots on the paint horse. Once the white is on, I spray in the shadow with gray and then some dark brown. I then started using the paintbrush to get the fine detail on the horses face. All in all this step took about 1 ½ hours.

Step 3

Step 3

In this step, I have taken the airbrush and paintbrush and painted the mane and tail. First I spray in the colors and then I refine them with the paintbrush. I then go into the whole horse and darken any shadows as well as the mane and tail to give it a consistent look. This step took about 3 hours.

Step 4

Step 4

In this step, I have completed the paint horse by covering him with frisket film (a clear plastic that protects the painting underneath). Once covered, I can start on the buckskin horse. I start by spraying a beige color over the whole horse slowly building up the color and shadows with many layers. When he is as dark as that color will allow, I spray in light brown to deepen the shadows even more. This step took about 2 ¼ hours.

Step 5

Step 5

In this step, I take dark brown to build the shadows up and finally gray is added. I also take the time to develop the darkness of the legs in this step. The funny colors on the paint horse are where I cleared a blockage in the airbrush. The frisket film is keeping the painting underneath safe. This step took about 1 ¾ hours.

Step 6

Step 6

In this step, I finish darkening the shadows and start to add the white blaze on the face. Once the white is sprayed in, I start to darken and add shadows. I then add the detail work with a paintbrush. When that is finished, I step back and look at the horse as a whole. I darken what needs to be darkened and add highlight of yellow on him.

Step 7

Step 7

In this step, I have covered the buckskin horse with the frisket film and started on the background. Using the base blue I start to build in the clouds with ultramarine blue, being careful not to overdo it. I then spray in peacock blue for the mountains. At this point I am trying to keep the elements as out of focus as I can. This step took about 45 minutes.

Step 8

Step 8

In this step, I have sprayed in some violet to give the clouds and mountain some more depth. This step took about 30 minutes.

Step 9

Step 9

In this step, I have sprayed in the trees with thalo green. I build them up slowly like all the rest of the painting. I also use some gray to get the trees really dark where they need to be. At this time, I’m also spraying in some orange for the bushes / scrub in the background. This step took about 1 hour 20 minutes.

Step 10

Step 10

In this step, I have sprayed in the orange where needed and then added a tropical green, again building the areas up slowly with many layers of paint. When I have the scrub mapped out, I use dark brown, green and gray to give the scrub shadow areas. At this point I step back a lot and blur my eyes when I look at it. If there is anything that doesn't look quite right, this usually points it out. I darken where it needs to be darkened according to my blurred eye. This step took about 4 ½ hours.

Step 11

Step 11

This step is actually two steps. I finished with the scrub and added a few out of focus white rocks to give the piece continuity. I want the viewer to see that these rocks are scattered around the field. When that is complete, I take the frisket film off the two horses and start painting the grass in the foreground. I use a paintbrush for this step. This step took about 3 hours.

Step 12

Step 12

In this step, I have sketched in where the rocks will go in the foreground and finished painting the grass in up to them. In this piece, I used six different colors for the grass. When the paintbrush work is done, I spray a very thin coat of tropical green over all the grass to keep it uniform looking. This step took about 3 hours.

Step 13

Calm Before The Storm Final Step 13

In this step, I start painting the rocks. I do these one at a time, using the frisket film to cover everything but the rock I’m working on. I first spray a light grey, almost white, on the whole rock. I then use gray and start to build up the shadows. When I’m happy with the shadows, I take the gray and spray it at a wooden clothespin which then spatters on the piece. I then took a paintbrush and--with a drybrush technique--added some cracks and texture. Finally I add the lichens with a dark green mixture I had made. I do this for each rock.  When the rocks are complete, I take the frisket film off and darken any area on the whole piece that needs it using the blurred eye technique. This step took about 10 hours total.

Link to image detail page:  http://www.erichfritzfineart.com/calmstorm.html

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