Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What's the Secret?

Let's get to the painting!  Nothing very fancy here, since I am looking for more of the blasted, dead look.  That means lots of muted grayish greens.

You can see those lighter greens being established here in the Shaded Basecoat phase.  Remember, lighter colors first, shade and tint later!!

Figuring out just where I want the lights and darks to go.  I am trying for a bit of a 'spotlight' effect right at the base of the main branch (i.e. tree!).

You see that spotlight starting to emerge here.  Since this is some of the best, most realistic rock texture of the bark, I want to emphasize that.

The exposed wood areas like these are a little trickier.  They need to be lighter than the surrounding bark, but not too much.  Otherwise, it will lose the sense of scale... making it look like a branch, not a tree!

The Shaded Basecoat phase ends.  Time to shade!!!

A pile of Secret Weapon washes at the ready.

Mixing the washes together, I tried to get variations in my shading colors... some warmer, others cooler.

This shot shows you how many different shades are out there on the palette.

Starting to look different, yes?  Always work in layers here.  You don't have to slop on huge blobs of wash.  Approach it lightly, adding extra layers if you want to make it darker.

Once that initial shading phase is complete, the fun begins.  I start mixing regular opaque paint colors into the remaining wash colors to make those semi translucent 'middle tone' colors that I love so much!

I am reclaiming some of the sharpest details in that spotlight area which I want to be the center of interest.  This creates the hard edges by way of sharp contrast, thus drawing the eye to that place.

Managing the colors on the branches as well.  I never used to paint the dried foliage bases before, but now that I have made a practice of doing so, I find that they look so much better, and match the rest of the piece so much more.

Some final highlights in the spotlight zone.  I will use some dark brown static grass on this as a final touch.  Oh yeah, and a miniature as well.  Stay tuned!!!!


  1. Really great looking base there. Thanks for going through your shading and highlighting. The contrast really focuses your eye to the base and front of the tree. Looking forward to seeing more!

    1. I'm glad you found these useful! There are definitely more on the way!!!

  2. Great work as always. The spotlight effect is really strong here. A great use of focus!

    This is quite the balancing act. Making the base interesting, and driving the focus towards the model, while not distracting too much from the model itself.

    1. Thanks! While the really big bases are fun, and allow you to put lots of interesting things on them, it can also be a challenge to reign yourself in! :-)

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks! Be sure to check out the post with the eagle on it! :-)