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Tutorial no. 4 of Prof's PSP 9 Art Media Tutorials  >
Art Media Brushes & Techniques – A Landscape and Foliage
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Art Media Brushes & Techniques – A Landscape and Foliage
Created by: Prof


In this series of tutorials I will explore the new Art Media tools and features of PSP 9. We will explore both the palettes and tools and some techniques for painting pictures.

In the first tutorial, we explored the new Art Media Background when creating new images, the Mixer Palette and the Art Media Layer in the Layer palette. In the second tutorial, we explored the Art Media tools or brushes and set the stage for painting a sky scape. In the third tutorial we continued to explore the brush tool options and painted the mountains and water.

In the final tutorial of this series we will create the landscape with foliage and explore more about the Oil Brush and other tools that will be used to finish up the painting. We use many of the same techniques as in the first three series plus another technique that will create interesting effects.



Special Tip

The Landscape

As with other parts of this painting, we do not overly worry about how we paint because we can either delete and begin again or paint over the painting. And, as with the mountains, we begin with a new Art Media Layer so we do not 'mess up' our current painting.

Also, as with other parts of the painting, it is helpful to have an idea of the scene one wants to create. My landscape will primarily be brown land with some definition and a path. I also want some green foliage to include some grass and a fir tree.

Thus for the landscape I wanted mixed browns, so I chose three different shades and then mixed them together.

Tip: Set your brush to a size of about 50. Then after mixing your colors you can run your cursor over the mixture and find a selection you want to start with. Remember you can always change the colors during the painting of the landscape.


New Art Media Layer (PSP 9)

Art-Media Oil Brush Tool (PSP 9)

The Basic Landscape

After creating a new top Art Media Layer, just paint a section at the bottom of the canvas that shows the brown colors. At this point it will not really matter much how this part looks. In my initial steps I know I want to have a path showing from the top right to the bottom left with some land both above and below the path. I also know that I will be modifying the initial painting.

In this instance I used the mouse to create the broad strokes for the land in order to get a bit more texture. The settings I used for the Oil Brush were:
– Shape = Square
– Size = 50
– Head tracking = Track path
– Head loading, Viscosity, Firmness = all 100
– Bristle Size = 1

I began with Auto Clean = unchecked so that I could get mostly a dark brown on the canvas. I then checked the Auto Clean option so that I could get more of the lighter brown to create the path. The other technique I used was to make the image larger than the canvas by grabbing a corner and enlarging the image window, so I could see transparency on all sides. This allows me to then draw from outside the canvas in order to cover the edges.


Art-Media Smear Tool (PSP 9)     Art-Media Palette Knife Tool (PSP 9)

Smear Brush

Palette Knife

Sharpening the Basic Land Scape

Another technique I used at this point was to first duplicate the land layer. This duplication allowed me to go forth with a trial and error method of creating other looks and refinements to the landscape.

One might try smudging a bit with the Smear Brush to smooth out some of the rough spots. Also, one might very lightly use the Art Eraser to soften (lighten) some of the areas.

For the Smear Brush, I would often use a fairly large size, though that is picture dependent, with Head Tracking = Fixed Angle, so I could set the Thickness = 1. For this screenshot I also set the Rotation = 327 for an angled brush. Note also, one could use the Palette Knife with similar settings. The important setting with the Palette Knife is setting the Head Loading = 0 (zero) in order to only smudge the paint rather than paint over the existing painting on the canvas.

For the top illustration I used the Smear Brush and for the bottom illustration the Palette Knife. One has to look closely to see the differences. To create the effect one may want some exploring of painting the land and then smudging it. Also, one may need to finish the landscape and then decide to redo parts dependent upon the final outcome.

Art-Media Oil Brush Tool (PSP 9)

Art-Media Smear Tool (PSP 9)     Art-Media Art Eraser Tool (PSP 9)

Creating Definition

Before I added the foliage, I also wanted to create more definition of the landscape, in particular the path. I wanted it to look somewhat rough rather than smooth as if it has ridges in it. I also wanted to give the darker part of the land some definition as well, almost as if there were some rocks or bolders in it.

To create this effect I used another technique for painting. In this case I used my pen, though one can use the mouse as well. The technique is to set the Oil Brush settings so that the Head Loading = 1, and most importantly Viscosity set to a very low value and Firmness at a middle-level value.

Experimentation will be required to get the settings that produce the effect wanted. The Brush Shape is Round, Size about 20 and Head Tracking set to Track Path. I also used a very light Smear Brush stroke at times or a light Art Eraser stroke to soften parts of the painting.

The effect is created by clicking very quickly, lightly to create a spattering of the paint. Again, experimentation is required at this point until the desired effect is achieved.

I often changed the oil colors to either a lighter brown or a darker brown for variation of coloring. I also used the Smear Brush and often went back and forth between the Oil Brush and the Smear Brush. The Smear Brush settings, particularly the Size, are low values as higher values tend to smear too much at one time.

Just let your imagination run and where it feels right to spatter the paint, just let it happen. And, again, I duplicated the layer so that if I really messed up I could go back to the previous layer that I liked.


Creating the Foliage

In a similar fashion as creating the path of dabbing quickly to spatter the paint, one can create foliage. I mixed various greens together.

One will need to again experiment with the values, particularly the Viscosity along with the Size. A bush is basically dabbing around in a circle. The fir tree is basically creating the branches with the longest ones at the bottom and going upward in a triangular fashion. The grass is very light short stroking more than dabbing.

In creating the basic shapes, one can change colors to get the variations in the foliage. Keep in mind that darker colors usually go first with lighter colors on top of them so they can blend a bit into the darker colors.

There are times one will quickly dab and times when one uses a slow and deliberate stroke for dabbing. There is no one technique or stroke that produces the foliage. Just let yourself do what you feel. If you drag the brush, you will create larger streaks. Use the Undo feature to just undo that stroke or a set of strokes.

Take a break also from your work now and then as this will allow you to better evaluate your work when you return to the painting. You might create various plant types as well as bushes and fir trees. The important point is to just have fun.


Final Comments

We have now completed this series of tutorials and the mountain landscape scene. We have primarily used the Oil Brush with various settings to create the various objects in the painting. As stated many times, when learning to use the Art Media tools one will need to be patient, explore, experiment and work toward an idea of the end result one has in mind.

Upon finishing the painting if you find as I did that the water effect was much too dark, by having the various parts of the painting in layers, one can fix any layer for itself. I used the Art Eraser with small values to erase much of the mountain reflections. I also used the Smear Brush to smooth things out.

Once you begin to get a good feel for the brush, and the effects from various values the different paintings possible are just the limit of ones imagination.


– Prof–