As Outlander fans, you can imagine the lengths we go through to keep ourselves busy until the next season, Voyager. Pastimes like rereading the series for the 5th time, listening to Bear McCreary’s Outlander CDs for the 10th time, and rewatching the series – oh, lets say the gazillionth time – is not new to any Outlander devotee! It’s a regular occurrence, to say the least. However, one of the most rewarding Outlander hobbies is assembling with other like-minded fans; this, we absolutely look forward to. We gather and can genuinely be ourselves – not worrying about (as we do with our friends who haven’t found the glory of “Diana Gabaldon’s word”) whether or not we sound strange with our constant Outlandish talk. We are always right at home with our clan!
So, when Stephanie, a SoCal sister, sent out an invitation for an Outlander meet-up, Sass3 immediately accepted. The gathering was to take place at the Paint and Vineyard to create a Voyager themed painting.
Painting to those who appreciate and love to explore the various artistic mediums, like our verra own Jae, say that it is an extremely relaxing and soothing form of expression. To others, like me who color within the lines, it may cause a bit of anxiety. However, the lure of wine and, of course, the clan is all I needed to get that brush in my hand.
To soothe anyone’s worries about painting the beautiful piece above, the artist pre-stenciled the ship on the canvas. To me, and the other novices and beginners, it was a huge blessing! The idea of reproducing the artwork did not seem so far fetched – anyone can definitely create the Voyager masterpiece, especially me!
$35 covered the cost of the painting lesson, the work of art, and the use of the art supplies below:
- A pre-stenciled canvas
- A cup of water for cleaning and rinsing
- 3 paint brushes of different sizes
- A couple of paper towels to dry paint brushes
- Blue, purple, sienna, yellow, and white acrylic paints
- An apron
- Of course, wine! (Provided by the guests.)
The Steps to Painting a Work of Art!
We loved the instructor, Jeff, because he had a sense of humor. That allowed my nerves to soften as he continuously reminded us to relax and that “less than perfect” is best. Jeff knew many of us were new to painting so he would encourage us throughout the event. “The artwork today,” he said, “is best completed relaxed and without expectations.” I sat at the front with Lady K and was put at ease with his advice – and, needless to say, a glass of wine certainly helped!
- Step 1: Painting the Sky
We began by using our pallet mixing yellow and white paint to create a soft yellow hue. Then we applied the paint, using the medium sized brush with a flat edge, onto the canvas. We painted from the bottom of the canvas, at the pre-drawn line, to about the top of the lower sail.
Next, some white paint was combined with blue to create the sky blue tone pictured above. We applied the sky blue color just above the yellow, using haphazard and staccato brush strokes. The technique created a “textured” look rather than a “flat” one. Afterwards, we were then instructed to “blend” the blue and yellow, which I found extremely difficult, onto the canvas rather than creating a definite line that separated the two colors. We were told to be generous with the acrylic – making sure the paint was shiny so they would merge. He used the term, “feathering,” to describe the method. Jeff made sure he assisted those who were struggling with the technique – I was one of them.
The violet clouds were formed next. We brushed the purple shade at the upper left hand corner, next to the top right mast, and a small section near the right sail. We used the same haphazard and staccato brush strokes Jeff demonstrated earlier. By this time, I felt I had the technique down.
- Step 2: Painting the hull, stern, and masts
When we painted the hull, stern, and masts, the color sienna was used. Variations of brown created dimension – allowing the eye to see shadow and light – so several shades were made. We were also taught how to angle the flat edge of the brush in order to create a sharp line. This sharp line at the front of the ship was produced so that the right side of the hull appeared to be in the light and portions of the left side was in shadow.
Afterwards, we were guided to add blue to sienna, on the palette, in order to produce darker shades of brown. The dark brown was then brushed onto the masts, bowsprit, left side of the the bow, and a thin area of the stern. The stern of the ship used the darkest shade. I found painting these parts of the vessel were fairly easy because the brush strokes were simple.
Step 3: Painting the ocean
Illustrating the ocean took 3 phases: painting the white wash, painting the light and dark layers of the sea, and blending. To begin, we applied white paint below the ship to form a white splash of water. Next, using the large paint brush, the ocean, beneath the ship, was painted with a dark shade of blue. We were told to use small and large strokes throughout to create the illusion of movement.
A darker blue hue was then applied to cover the rest of the canvas. And then the darkest tone was painted at the bottom left of the canvas, creating waves. Above, you can see the ocean before we started blending – ugh, my favorite part!
- Painting techniques to create movement
To blend the white wash below the ship, Jeff instructed us to use what he called the “dry brush technique.” We applied very light blue paint right below the previously painted white wave and then dried the brush with a paper towel. Next, we swished the bush up spreading the color. Because the brush had little water, portions of the blue paint smeared onto the white, and portions of the white smeared onto the blue. The white and the light blue paint merged creating the white splash pictured above. This blending method was extremely difficult for me. In fact, Jeff had to show me the correct way on my canvas because my white wash looked flat and two-dimensional.
To illustrate the splash against the hull, we took the medium sized bush and applied white paint onto the bristles. Then we placed the brush about 2 inches from the canvas. With our index finger, we pulled the bristles back and allowed them to fling forward so that the white paint would splatter speckles of white onto the hull of the ship. We did this several times. I found that too much paint on the bristles didn’t work well, and that applying paint at the very edge of the brush worked best. Something that seem so simple as this, took a bit of practice. I did, however, manage to be proficient with it.
The final piece to our ship were the sails. They were painted a cream color by combining some yellow to white paint. Then, to add dimension, we added a tan color to the left edge of each sail and at the bottom of the front sail. The tan and cream were then blended together with the “dry brush” method. I also added some small details to complete my art work – like the parts of the masts and the riggings. In the end, my blending technique improved, but it was still a challenge.
When we finally completed our Voyager themed painting, the first thing that popped into my mind was, “I am done!” For something that took so much time to finish and lots of concentration, I felt as if I completed some huge feat. It was definitely a journey to get to this place, but, in the end, I became an artist! I have always had the feeling of uneasiness with any artistic medium like drawing and painting; however, today, I would have to say that I internalized the accomplishment of something big. Everyone’s artwork turned out fabulous, and we all left with pride in our final product. “Amen!” to a job well done, and for the next endeavor, “Je suis prêt!”
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