There is a lot of ‘scratching’ going on in this painting. Alla prima is to blame. It is practicably impossible to paint a fine line on top of a wet layer of paint. Short strokes are OK, but long unbroken lines, as in the Ash trees on the right in this painting, are a problem.
In a previous post (here), I was talking about brushes. Small brushes can force a painter into tedious details too early in the process at the expense of the overall picture. Using a knife will produce details quickly so the painter does not become bogged down. These ‘scratch’ lines also remove the under layer of wet paint into which the fine lines can be painted. In this painting, I also scratched off larger parts of the under-painting which allowed me to apply the dark colour of the evergreen trees without interference from the light coloured sky paint.
At the other end of the scale is the very large brush, as in house painter’s 2 or 3 inch brush. I don’t like the practise of using these types of brushes to ‘stamp’ a shape into the painting which can produce a monotony of ‘clichés’ which are the mark of the brush and not the ‘mark of the hand’ of the artist.
In painting the foliage of the evergreen trees I used a round brush (No. 4 or about 5mm diameter). Even with most of the wet under-painting removed the brush will still pick up some unwanted colour from the surface. If the brush is rotated as the paint is applied, several ‘dabs’ of clean colour can be applied before the brush needs to be wiped to pick up fresh paint. I’m not advocating painting every single leaf, but clumps of leaves to create a ‘profile’ of the particular tree type.
Here is the video of the painting process. There is more info. on this painting in the previous post. The video is 720 HD and can be watched at a large size by changing the Quality settings on the YouTube bottom panel (see here).