Step 1. Placing the subject

First, prime a canvas or hard board with gesso or a smooth oil under paint. Try to eliminate as much of the surface texture as possible as any roughness will allow later glaze colors to pool. These pools cause dark spots on the final painting. When glazing, if your surface is not smooth, use a soft dry brush and blend out any spots you see. This requires a bit of monitoring but the final result is worth the effort. 

Next, once the surface prepared, establish the position and shape of the most major rocks using white, raw umber, ultramarine blue and yellow ochre. 

Draw light lines using a tiny bit of thinner with the paint. This allows the paint to flow from the brush and make clean lines.

(I use straight thinner with paint for drawing purposes only, never for thinning the paint while painting. It washes away the bonding agents and oils leaving dull spots on the work. Use a good painting medium or stand oil thinned a bit with thinner.)

Next, Mix white and raw umber for a soft gray. Add a spec of ultramarine blue to cool and make a bluish gray. Add a spec of burnt sienna to warm and white to lighten. Paint in the base color of the rocks as shown here.

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©1994 William F. Powell