Saturday, September 20, 2014

Plein air #2: on the eastern shore she looms

again this morning bright and early....around 0800 hours today. sun still fairly low as witnessed by the sparkle on the water. stood on the eastern shore of pettibone island in the park looking east at la crosse about at the level of the radisson hotel i took some liberties with the size of the cathedral. same general methods as yesterday. used roughish sandpaper to put the sparkle on the water but i didn't wait long enough for the paper to dry and it came out sort of and learn.

on the eastern shore she looms: (11"X15")

plein air #1 (pa#1): rabbit rail marsh

had my first foray into the real world of plein air painting this morning. i ventured down the rabbit trail  y UW-L about 200 yards and came across a great blue heron keeping watch over his part of the marsh with the bluffs reflected in the water. here it is......11"X15" on fabriano artistico rough 140# paper. worked pretty much light to dark, a lot of wet-in-wet, just a touch of white gouache on the heron-dic sentinel........

on first frog watch (11"X15")

Monday, September 8, 2014

carrying on and portraiture award at wisconsin state exhibition.

i have been very lazy with respect to this blog and for that i apologize. summer's too busy to do everything without feeling more hassled than one might feel necessary. so the blog loses out. i am far enough into a variety of painting projects that i can not really remember exactly what i did so i will not try to reprise a blow-by-blow of the process(es).

before i go into the current group of paintings i should tell about a recent award  received. at the state WRAP (wisconsin regional art program) exhibition in wausau i received the carol betts chaplain portrait award. it would be a gross understatement to say i was surprised and at the same time thrilled. my thanks to juror diane budde for this singular honor. the painting was "needing more than a tattered hat" which i have posted so many times in regard to this that i will refrain at this time.
stage of current abandonment

i decided on this one that i would play around with a brick wall behind her as there was one in the reference photo. however, i decided that this made the painting more about the wall than the girl....i think i can fix this but for now i ran out of good ideas and steam......not in the bin but the shelf next to it.

in my quest to improve my land/cityscape paintings i offer this for review. working title is "just after five". i like the atmospheric  and linear perspective, respectively, of the buildings and the march of the vehicles into the distance. the figures, however, are a bit sloppy. on to the next and hopefully better one later this week.

not quite....but close

and now the newest of the "people" paintings. i have done this girl before but i felt compelled to paint her again with a bit of a different composition and background. i do have a few "stages which i will post sequentially without any comments. i will note that i made extensive use of wet glazing in the background and in the neck shadow. for those not familiar with this techniques, it involves painting over wet washes with a different color(s). very interesting mingling occurs if one doesn't monkey around with the final version before its dry. the subtlety of color mingling is not altogether apparent in the photos, but i can be quite striking. the only place i have seen this described is in don andrews book on painting the nude in watercolor where he uses these glazes to paint beautiful and unique skin tones in stylized/abstract nudes.

"i once was you" (11"X15")

Thursday, August 7, 2014

"table for one, non-smoking, please": new painting

drawing, reference, and initial washes
when i saw this photo taken and sent to me from my almost lifelong friend dan darigan i know that i would have to paint this lovely inquiring african girl from the village of njala in sierra leone. the only questions were,"when?" and, "how?".  in the past the few portrait type paintings that i have done of folks that had darker than caucasian skin were usually done using the same colors only a bit lower value as i used for caucasian skin and made the anatomical differences speak to the ethnicity. in this one i not only wanted to capture her look, but also her unique features and her deeper colored skin tones. so here is the start.

detail from above photo of first wash
apparently she used to come into dan's abode frequently to watch him making dinner and this is one of those times he caught a photo of her. i will have to find out her name and possibly change the working title.

i decided to place her almost in the center of the long horizontal format...she is actually a bit more to the picture's right meaning the negative space is smaller on the right side of the figure. this just gives me a challenge for which to find a solution.

these colors are french ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, mineral violet, quinacridone gold, and alizarin crimson permanent. everything painted with a #14 escoda versatil round brush.

darker but cooler washes
i thought the *right* side of her face was getting a little cool and the *left needed a bit of pigment so i warmed things up with light glazes of vermillion and burnt sienna. the table top was the same colors but streaked in wet-in-wet to simulate wood grain.

adding a bit of warmth
the last close-up is where i left off work for yesterday. i put in a graded wash of manganese blue nova, mineral violet, and mixture of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna in sort of horizontal stripes as i sort of thought that i needed more horizontals with the strong vertical of the figure. this is the first thing i am starting to question. it is looking too boring and predictable to me. i may have to use this as a first wash and darken while adding some structure to it later. i also started working on her hands by adding some small washes of burnt sienna and alizarin crimson to the areas in shadow while staying away from the lighter nails.

so the final photo is the painting as it was at the end of painting yesterday. needed to get some golf in with joan as the day was just too nice not to partake. worked out well as it was the first sub-80 round (78 actually) since i "burned out" my hip last february.

"table for one, non-smoking, please" interval step

Thursday, July 31, 2014

"school's out in njala": finishing up

penultimate photo
getting back to the african landscape i started a few weeks ago, i added some narrow graded, ever-darkening washes to the fields to add some depth. the faces of the near boys needed some work and i had to clean up their legs a bit as i must have been painting with my glasses off when i did them!

"school's out in  njala" (13.5"X15.5")
i fussed a bit with the very small distant figures making sure they read okay.....this was primarily seeing that the dark legs were sort of below the blue shorts which were below white shirts which were below darker "dots" for the kids heads. although i don't think there is a tree in the foreground of dan's photo, i decided to add it to push everything else back a bit. so, i added the dark overhanging leaves/branches in
the upper right hand of the picture frame. i felt they would probably cast a dark shadow on the road on the near right so i darkened that area right of the boys.  little more fussing here and getting the figures under the mid-distance tree on the left in shadow by a light grayish blue glaze, darkening the corresponding tree so it was the same value as the rest of the nearby vegetation, etc. the last thing(s) i painted were the telephone/power poles making sure they lightened in value as they receded and got smaller.

at the time i reached this point, i felt i wasn't adding anything substantive so i decided to declare it finished.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

"the wranglers just call him doc": finish

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"the wranglers just call him doc" (15"X15")
at the last sitting i had the basic shapes of the background and features in place on the face. all that remained was bringing the values in the background up to snuff and refining some subtleties on the face and hat. i used at least five different colors in differing ratios for the background and applied with a #14 round escoda verstil brush. colors included ultramarine blue, burnt sienna to make the basic dark and added manganese blue nova, quinacridone gold, alizarin crimson permanent, mineral violet, when the muse told me to. it was fairly thick so i kept the whole thing moist and rolling down the sheet with a mister applied frequently. this also separated out the loosely mixed colors a bit so that lent some variety to the wash. when this was brought up to the value i wished i put splotches of color around the edges....manganese blue nova, vermillion/alizarin crimson and some splashes. the former for interest and the latter to loosen it up a bit.

i think that's it.....i'll let it sit a day or two and then re-evaluate.

Friday, July 18, 2014

continuing efforts on latest painting

i have been working a little bit on the landscape of the kids in njala, sierra leone, getting out of school. mainly getting the background to recede a bit with a light cobalt blue wash from top to about the tree on the left in the mid-distance. i also added just a little detail to the fields from back to mid-ground, added some detail to the kids in the foreground, and added a little to the far foreground in terms of near branches and leaves from a tree. i hope that this gives even more depth to the painting. unfortunately i neglected to take photo of the painting at the end of the last session. hopefully today and i will post it later or amend  this post.

the major effort was on the painting of the wrangler that the folks call "doc"who wears a non-regulation hat. i obtained this photo from our ex-landlady, proprietor of the mustang sanctuary in borrego springs, photographer extraordinaire, and lovely lady kay levie. many thanks to kay for snapping this and a few others for me as we had to leave before the ride.

"the wranglers all call him doc": getting close to finish
 most of the work has been on the facial and features with dilute subtle washes of scarlet lake, brilliant orange, manganese blue nova, and sparingly, ultramarine blue in deeper shadow areas. i also decided on the abstract background shape and started adding a bit of color around the edges that will sort of poke out from the main mass.....manganese blue nova, vermillion, and burnt sienna. now that i have made this critical decision i will add the next wash in using the above colors along with alizarin crimson permanent, quinacridone gold, scarlet lake in a fairly , and perhaps, final dark value. if i don't mix this much on the palette and add some wet-in-wet i will probably get it to separate into small bits of color by hitting it with a fine mist of water periodically. this will also serve to keep the wash alive so a semblance of a bead maintains itself at the bottom of the wash as i move down the page. so here are the steps so far. i must say it will be getting close to completion once the background is in.