Bill Alexander Painting Tips: To The Summit pt 1

Each Saturday we will have tips and instructions from Bill himself as he walks you through “To The Summit.”

Bill had always been fascinated with nature’s wonders: trees stretching up high into the sky; rushing rivers carrying life-giving water throughout civilization; meadows full of wildflowers you could only find in those beautiful mountainous places where people seemed content just sitting still looking out over this magnificent world we all share together.

Points to Consider:

• Bill paints the entire painting in his mind first.

• Bill coats the paint with a thin coat of Magic White.

• He uses very little blue paint. He does this by touching the edge of the dollop of paint and pulling away.

• He adds Alizarin Crimson to change the color to create an evening sky.

• He is adding very little paint to the edge of the bristles so he can create a thin layer in the sky. Really he is just staining the canvas. If he added too much paint, he wouldn’t be able to add the thick layer for the mountains.

• As he paints his sky, the brush picks up the Magic White that is on the canvas. This changes the value and that creates atmosphere as he moves down toward the horizon. Everything appears further away at the horizon and the way Bill accomplishes this look is by changing the color to a lighter value. He also applies less pressure to the canvas.

• He picks up more dark paint to create the water. Notice he starts at the bottom of the canvas with the darkest value and will lighten it as he goes to the horizon.

• He also wants the water to lay down so he creates longer horizontal strokes.

• Bill leaves the area white where he plans to add the dark mountain color. The paint will go on easier if there isn’t too much paint already on the canvas.

• Bill doesn’t worry if he doesn’t get the right color the first time. He knows he can always change it by adding more color.

• It is easier to darken the colors than it is to lighten it. (We now know we can remove anything with BabyWipes.)

• Bill makes a flat surface appear to have depth by adjusting color. Keep in mind the top of the canvas is the part that will appear closest to the viewer. That is why it is the darkest.

• Bill preferred a very thick, firm white paint. If you can’t find thick paint, place your white paint on a paper towel and let it absorb the oil. Leave it over night for best results. The longer you leave it out the thicker the paint will be.

• Bill makes sure doesn’t place his highest peak in the center of the canvas. Think about dividing your canvas in thirds both horizontally and vertically. You will have a more pleasing composition if you don’t place your focal point in the center.

• Bill decided that the light is coming from the left. made his base color for his mountain is his middle value. He then darkens the color for the shadow side.

• Notice as Bill creates the mountains on the right the color is closer to his base color. That is because the paint he is applying with the palette knife is mixing with the Magic White and turning lighter.

• We all have creative power. Bill encourages us to use it to make the world a better place

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