Friday, January 14, 2011

listen my children .2

"listen my children" second step (wash)
after the first washes dried i decided that the initial wash, especially on the far side of the man's face was a bit anemic.  i should have expected this because watercolor dries a value or two lighter than it appears when wet. so the first order of business was to add some pigment with a light brush over the areas of that wash that were more definitely on shadow.  i also fought the urge to put the eyes in the shadow and i am glad that i resisted because i can't really see the eyes in the reference picture (even if i know they are there) and i am rather sure i would have made a bit of a mess.  they just aren't necessary because you as an observer know they are there, too!  for this i used the the standard cerulean, cadmium yellow pale (or raw sienna), and cadmium red light. while i was at it, i put in some of the initial washes on, in, and around the children in the foreground. i will predict at this point that the "scrunching in" these figures will come back to haunt me as i struggle in later stages to salvage what i am beginning to fear will be an insipid mid-value mishmash.........we'll see.

"listen my children" step (washes) 3
in this next step i knew that i wanted to get a larger, somewhat darker shape in the right and upper portion of the picture frame to denote the buildings along the sidewalk and to provide some balance to the large figure of the man. i was pretty sure that i wanted to make it more abstract than representational. what i ended up with was a bit more exciting (not necessarily in a good way!) and abstract than i anticipated. hopefully, i have not dug a hole for myself that i will be able to climb out from. since i have used mostly non-staining colors (except for the alizarin crimson) i know that i could scrub this out with one of those "mr. clean" erasing-type sponges (yes, they do work and quite well), but where's the fun in that? just another challenge to undertake.  i also take some solace in what charles reid has told us (me) over and over, "its only paper/a painting. its not a big deal in the large scheme of things!" for the building/background shapes i am still mostly using a blue/red/yellow combination to make various values and temperatures of gray only i have sustituted the cadmium red and yellow with permanent alizarin crimson and raw sienna, respectively. 

 you will also notice that i have started to tackle the figures of the children by explaining their forms with over washes using the basic flesh combo for faces, arms, legs; and mostly color right out of the tube for the various parts of clothing. i have also used a bit of black right out of the tube for the telephone post and the hair on the children and added some other pigments wet-in-wet right on the paper and let them mingle.  i'm starting to feel a bit better about the mess in the foreground now, but i don't think i am out of the woods yet by a long shot.

i will end these thoughts for the day by observing that frequently right after i have finished a passage in a painting or even an entirely finished painting, i frequently feel that the work i have just done is lousy.  now, of course, sometimes it is, but usually by the next day i can see that it wasn't quite as bad as i initially thought and can see some redeeming value in it. this is the case with this last step in this painting. i still don't know if i can pull it off........stay tuned, film at 6:00 o'clock.

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