Using Raw Umber to achieve rivulets and granulation, pt. 1- Bjorn Bernstrom and Susan Murphy

Last summer, as I went over in three earlier blog posts (pt. 1, pt. 2, and pt. 3), I took a class with Bjorn Bernstrom.  Amongst many techniques he employs, he uses Raw Umber to get these wonderful passages in his work, full of rivulets and granulation--



I began to experiment with this technique, only to discover that (gasp! surprise!) it's not as easy as it seems.  Yes... yes, I know.  Anyways.... :P

Fortunately, the internet came to the rescue, and I discovered another person who uses a similar technique.  For those who are interested, you should check out Susan Murphy.  Here's a link to her website.  Susan Murphy seems to have had a long career as a painter doing many different things, but she currently uses Raw Umber to similar effect, and then uses a stencil brush to pull back out highlights.

It's pretty interesting stuff.  This video is available online, so I thought I'd share it.  It's of a workshop of hers, and explains a lot of what I also do when I apply Raw Umber myself.  She actually has more than one video up, so its worth exploring her site. She has generously provided them free to stream, and there's lots to learn for those who are interested.


Having seen that, I've been experimenting, failing, and learning a lot.  Of course, this is the technique I used in the owl paintings (here's a link to the post) I shared back in November/ December of last year, but I've been playing with other applications too.  Here's an example of my production using the technique in a localized fashion (on the wing)-



In the next post, I'll be sharing examples of what happens when you combine Raw Umber with different colors, either with a different background wash (into which you apply the Raw Umber as "Butter" into the Wet wash, or by actually gently mixing a different color into the Raw Umber, and then applying them as one.