In the Deepest Wildwood

Remember these two? They started out as a thought experiment (“What if Dior’s sons had been saved and brought up by Ents?”), but as I never really subscribed to the idea, and as it’s June and Damh the Bard’s song “Noon of the Solstice” is playing right now, this’ll be it.


This is the first painting deserving of the term since February. I can’t believe I survived this long.

The first sketch of this one was this:


Materials used: Schmincke tube watercolours (Light Ochre, Chromoxide Green Brilliant, Cadmium Yellow Light, Burnt Sienna, Sepia), Schmincke Gouache (White and Yellow), on Canson Montval paper. Size: 28×57 cm.

Note. Below, I’ll only talk about “Green” and “Ochre” etc, but these will always be the above mentioned.


In the first step, as usual, I print out my lineart on the paper (see here). Then I wet my canvas with a sponge and prepare some of the Yellow, Ochre, and Green above in my palette, making it a light and even wash with my English wash brush.


Also as usual, I dab some paint off the lighter parts of the figures with a tissue.


Next, I add some more Ochre, Green, and Burnt Sienna to the figures with a size 4 sable.


When everything is dry, I rewet my entire canvas, and prepare a very dark olive mix, made from Green, Ochre, and Sepia, splotching it around the edges with a size 12 mixed synthetic/sable brush. I splash some water into the wet paint too, to produce natural-feeling textures. The paint up there is still wet; it will lighten during drying.


On to the figures! I use the same olive mix as above, applying it with a size 4 sable brush.


Then I prepare a lighter green mix, of Green and Yellow, and use it in the head for some more colour variation.


The paint dries very fast, and I can add detail with my darker olive mix immediately. For this, I use a size 0/5 synthetic brush.


First figure finished.


The second figure will have more colour variation throughout. For this, I prepare three mixes: Pure Sepia, Green+Yellow, and Ochre+Yellow.


I dip my brush into these mixes in turn as I paint, and allow the colours to mix on the paper.


I add some variation to the ground level, too, using mainly by olive mix, but also dipping in any of the others from time to time.


The front figure will have more detail than the back one. I use my tiny forte brush and use all my colour mixes freely for variation, painting around some of the leaf detail to make it stand out lighter.


In the end, I bring out some details again with gouache (white and yellow, mixed with a tiny bit if green watercolour).


Next, the berries are painted in a Sienna/Sepia/Ochre mix and highlighted with my very light yellow-green gouache mix too.


Finally, I go in with Sepia and darken some bits to the right and bottom of the figures.