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A Painting of Puebla, Mexico (Popocatepetl)

Popocatepetl is an active volcano in Puebla, Mexico that overlooks one of the great cities of the world, Mexico City .  It is associated with many myths and folktales and there is also a romantic legend from the Aztec period that attempts to explain its origin.  Today, we are going to paint it here on the Painter’s Forum.

Step 1:  I start by spraying out the sky and mapping out the shape of the volcano.  A nice sky blue airbrush color will work best here.
Step 2:  Using a white in my airbrush, I can add the clouds and smoke from the volcano.  This is a very loose technique relying on freehand airbrushing.  Have fun and add the clouds where ever you’d like them to be.
Step 3:  Grabbing a palette knife, scratch in some blue rocks and boulders along the face of the volcano.  I like these types of paintings where there are very different textures to play with. There are soft and hard textures, rough and smooth and natural and man-made elements in the painting. Note: I also add my custom airbrush stencil of the Cathedral to give me placement of where it will go, as this is the next step.
Step 4:  Using the stencil I’ve cut of the Cathedral, I can now spray a dark blue around it for the base of the volcano face.  Although it is an active volcano, there is still snow on it, so I want to make it appear cold by using the blue.
Step 5:  We can even add some snow on the volcano using a palette knife and white acrylic paint.  Painting with a knife is so fun so enjoy this step and create snow wherever you like it to exist.
Step 6:  Now that the background is complete, replace the negative layer of the stencil over the Cathedral in order to airbrush it Yellow.  The color yellow is often used to represent the sun and  is often associated with warmth.
Step 7:  Once the yellow is sprayed down, I re-apply the stencil in preparation of spraying the church windows and shadow details with transparent black.
Step 8:  Now you can remove all the stencils and see what we have done so far.  I am liking the contrast between the yellow and blue, the man-made structure with the earthen volcano.  Using a paint brush, I can now add some line work and details to the Cathedral.
Step 9:  Now I can grab my white paint pen and begin to add the white details and highlights on the Cathedral.  This is a very famous Cathedral in the city of Puebla, Mexico so I want to make sure it is painted correctly.
Step 10:  Here comes the fun part!  Now that the Cathedral layer is complete, the earth layers can be added.  The trees and bushes also come in layers.  First I paint in the ground using a light green and yellow mixture. Have fun in this step.
Step 11:  Next comes the trees and bushes which I paint larger as they come closer to me.  This gives the appearance of depth.  Here I am applying a deep green, hunters green and Phthalo green mixture with a paint brush.  Note: I am using a paint brush that I have mashed over time and find perfect to paint trees and such.
Step 12:  Now comes the highlights on the bushes and trees.  Using a mixture of white and light greens, I can really have fun adding details of where the sun should hit them in the same direction the sun hits the Cathedral.  Everything really pops out in this step.
The vivid contrasts between the colors, the textures and the symbols of two different religions (Catholic and Aztec) really make me excited to paint this piece. Thank you for joining in and leave your comments or thoughts below.  Happy painting !

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