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Experimenting with Spatter painting: Lake Michigan Shoreline

Okay, since I’m mainly self-taught (well, I did minor in art in college, but they didn’t teach much painting technique, mostly drawing and design) I like to check out art books from the library, learn about techniques and…experiment. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they are disasters.

I went to Lake Michigan a couple of weeks ago, and was fascinated by some old broken down pier posts on the beach. So, I decided to try spatter technique for the first time to create the sand, and paint the rest traditionally. Below is the result:


Sorry about the glare; the oils were still a bit shiny. The real thing is a bit sharper.

How I did it: I sacrificed an old toothbrush, washed it out in hot water, then after painting the underpainting in a mixture of burnt umber, raw umber, yellow ochre and a touch of white, which I let dry, I dipped the toothbrush into turpentine, then mixed up yellow ochre and white for the lights, in varying shades.

I found out that I needed to keep the paint mix very thin, and not hold the toothbrush too close (or I got big blobs which I had to wipe up). For the darks, I mixed raw umber and ultramarine blue. I also used a bit of yellow ochre and burnt sienna for mid-shades. It took a LOT of spattering to get the right amount of texture.

My roommates love it. I’m experimenting with spatter painting in another painting that I’m doing. I confess: I love water and shorelines. I can’t wait to visit the shore again. Lake Michigan is AMAZING. It is huge, just like being at the ocean (okay, I’m from Texas, I had no idea the great lakes were so big). Or beautiful.



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