Jan Vermilya has recently moved to Ocala from Homosassa, and we eagerly welcome her to our Art community. After our August 12, 2019 meeting at “The Brick”, Jan was our featured demonstrator. She shared her wealth of experience and her techniques of painting realistic fog in landscapes: morning fog, evening fog, fog reflecting so delicately the colors of a rosy sunrise or the oranges of sunset; coastal fog, mountain fog, the ground fog we see so often in Florida hovering over pastures. Fog swept by winds or teased by breezes. Jan finds great pleasure in painting miniature landscapes with atmospheric effects, and her small works in pastel are incredible!
Jan described her art process, how she gathers ideas, selects materials, achieves desired effects with pastels, and frames her work for the gallery. Her camera is always with her! Jan recommends a substrate of sandpaper and she prefers UArt. Beginners may want to use 400-500 (medium) grit as it will hold several layers of pastel. Colored paper for pastels can be used or any surface with a sanding ground applied in two light coats, first across, dried, then down. Choose an appropriate foundation color or black for a high contrast painting.
Jan uses soft pastels. When a sketch is needed, she draws or paints the general features and then fixes that layer with 90% rubbing alcohol. As layers of pastel are added an old brush can be used to lift out excess pastel and a blender can soften edges. Found tools such as packing “peanuts” or “noodles” can be dragged over a patch of fog to spread the pastel for a wispy and ethereal look.
In the photos below Jan shows on one “canvas” several methods that can be used to represent different kinds of fog.
When finished, Jan turns the piece over a waste basket and taps it to release excess pastel that hasn’t bonded to the substrate. The art is ready to frame, without a mat, pressed directly against the glass.
Thank you, Jan, for opening our eyes to observe the many nuances of atmospheric effects and for giving us the inspiration and a little courage to try to capture those effects in our paintings.