Winds of Change

I spent the majority of this week working on finishing my painting of the buffalo rock, which I decided to start a few weeks ago. I decided I wanted to focus my efforts on this painting, rather than starting a new one, as there were several different things I had to learn to move forward on this one. I had said in this post that I would make my grass in this painting more like Chuck Black’s, however, when I tried to go this detailed in a portion of my painting, it just didn’t look quite right. To fix this, I decided to go in between his example and “painting masses, not grasses,” and instead painted lots of img_20200605_103819338individual small masses. I used small, short strokes further in the back, then made them longer the closer they got to the foreground. I made them slant slightly to the right to indicate the wind that is blowing in the storm, and then went back over with a super tiny brush to add in the flowers and prairie sage. I think this achieved the overall look I was going for, though it was very time-consuming. I ended up using a similar technique for painting the closer bison in order to get the texture of his fur, following this explanation:

“Painting texture is really about mark-making. The illusion of texture is created through a frequent alternation between light and dark marks.”

I loved how many different ways he described to paint different textures, and the idea of using different tools, such as styrofoam and aluminum foil rather than only brushes. It would be fun to explore some of these techniques in the coming weeks.

I also used this site to help me paint the rocks. I wanted the majority of the rocks to fade into the landscape so that the buffalo rub rock would be the focus. I’m very pleased with how they turned out, but I would make one or two of them stand out a little more if I were to do it again. I could do this by making their colours more stand-outish, by making their shape more angular and eye-drawing, by changing their size, or all of the above. However, I think that they worked for the overall feel of the painting.

Trying to branch out in where I get my sources, I found some people on Twitter who post painting tutorials regularly and even do live demonstrations. I shouldn’t have been surprised after seeing how large the Twitter education community is, but I still was when I saw how big the art, specifically painting community was! There are a lot of useful resources and contacts to make if you want to join that community. I started following @angelafineart and @Artsherpa though, if you’re looking for a place to get started.

I wanted to find another new way to document my learning this week, and found the idea of making a gif using  Gif-Maker on Annissa’s blog. It was super simple to use. All I had to do was select the files I wanted, make any changes (such as frame duration, adding text, etc.), hit “create GIF,” and then download. It would be a fun, simple way for students to document their progress on larger projects.


It’s also great because you don’t have to upload it to YouTube before you can post it in your blog, which makes things a lot easier. Here’s my progress for this week:


As you can see, I used initial paper drawings of the buffalo before adding them in to my painting. This was to make sure that their placing and size worked, and allowed me to make some changes prior to painting them, making it much easier to fix.

As always, if you have any questions, tips, or suggestions, feel free to let me know in the comments. I hope to hear from you!

6 thoughts on “Winds of Change

  1. Hey Raylin,
    Wow your painting looks amazing!! The texture and depth of your work is seriously impressive! I also really liked your gif that you created to show your progress as it was a nice, clean, and quick way to see your work along the way! You shared a lot of great resources and valuable information. Great post and keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Raylin, I love your painting. I like how you took the time to add in more details like the grass. Your hard work has paid off!! Do you find art come naturally to you? Or have you painted before?


    • Hi Carmel! Thank you so much!
      And no, I wouldn’t say it comes naturally to me. I’ve taught myself to use watercolors over the years (and still have so much to learn), and decided I wanted to try with acrylics, since you can achieve very different effects.


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