Saturday, March 26, 2011

on the road again

"sargent in the alps"
i hardly seems possible that two months have elapsed since we left snow encumbered wisconsin for the sunny, warm desert southwest. alas, it has and its time for us to pack up and head back. we are taking a leisurely route and ride through the grand canyon area and santa fe so we won't be home until early April. so i bid adieu for a while and start posting new works and finish the old one's when we reach la crosse. thanks to all for following. here is a painting i did about 2 years ago working on lost and found edges. it is of john singer sargent painting in the alps. i hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

spotted elk (big foot) portrait: next painting

spotted elk was a lakota chief who was killed as the rapid-fire hotchkiss guns of the 7th cavalry spewed grapeshot down into the valley formed by the meandering wounded knee creek in december, 1890, killing not only hundreds of lakota but also 30-50 us soldiers. historians tell us that this was all acutely precipitated by the accidental discharge of a deaf lakotan's rifle when soldiers attempted to disarm him not understanding the order (because he couldn't hear it). spotted elk's, also known as big foot,  portrait photo shown here will be the inspiration piece for this painting.  the only other photos i could find of him were of him and his wife and of his frozen corpse lying on the ground at wounded knee. this photo is interesting in that a number of observers have thought that he must have had a deformed left hand. the truth is that his hand was perfectly fine but he moved half-way through the pose  making the hand only show up where it overlapped in the two poses filmed as one. it only looks like he has a misshapen hand. i tried to reconstruct the hand as best i could in my drawing.  whether this was a good idea or not, i'm not sure. anatomically if not historically correct.

drawing for spotted elk portrait
 i didn't really realize it until i transferred it to the watercolor paper (fabriano artisico 140# cp, 16"X20") that in typical fashion i had drawn the head too large to be able to easily get the hands in the painting. to try to mitigate this i placed the head high enough to actually cut off some of the top and raised the right (our left) arm up and forward by fore-shortening it and raising his left hand a bit as well. i think that this will work out but i still am missing some of his fingers on the lower of the two hands,

since it had worked out well on the sitting bull portrait i put down an initial wash of burnt sienna, cobalt blue and alizarin crimson permanent on the face and hair and burnt sienna with just a little of the crimson on the hands.
initial wash

after this had dried i started to put in the features exactly as i did on the previous painting of sitting bull and will not reiterate the steps in narrative form here but will show the net result in both a regular view and a close-up. the tie/scarf around his neck was painted using teal blue and some ultramarine. this was finished off with quinacridone gold for the clasp. his braids that fall across his right cheek cast shadows as well and these were painted in using burnt sienna/umber following the contour of his cheek.

features and hair for spotted elk portrait

close-up of spotted elk portrait

Saturday, March 19, 2011

finishing steps on "sitting bull"

"sitting bull"
well, i lifted out some highlights and added some shadow on the brow and right (our left) for the wrinkles and i think they neither made him look any older nor any better. i probably should have been content with the younger version. that being said i mainly did the clothing and hat.  i think that the steps are fairly obvious and i decided to make the hat brighter than it was. in this instance it needed a darker background to define the light side and  lose the shadow side so added a splash of color that i think was cerulean blue, burnt sienna, raw sienna, and alizarin crimson. after looking at the photo for more than a few minutes i decided that the decoration on his hat was monarch butterflies and made them so! adding some shadows to define his shirt collar and more of the fringe pretty much finished it off. lastly, i added a blush of some darker pigment near his shoulders and i can't honestly say why i did that. seems okay in retrospect but not sure it added anything.  that is a sure sign that i was done! finished!

sitting bull: narrative of previous step(s)

repeat of yesterday's work for reference
the first thing that i did was put a light wash over the upper lid of his left (our right) eye as i felt that it was just too much of a beacon shining out of an otherwise shadowy side. the side plane of his shadow side face was painted in one step from the upper cheek, blending in with the eye socket, down to the shirt line in the neck using a #10 brush and burnt umber and alizarin crimson permanent. i modeled what little needed doing on the other cheek using the same colors and brush. i thought that the shadow indicating the sunken feeling just below his zygomatic arch (cheek just above the lateral portion of the mouth) on his right was important and darkened this area with the same hues and losing the edge all around. i defined the nose a bit more with the same mixture/brush but with a little more alizarin in the combination. the mouth was painted with a #6 round and the same burnt umber and alizarin by putting a dab in his right corner, a dab in the middle just to his left of the midline, and in the far shadow side corner.  after a rinse and good shake i used the damp brush to draw this pigment out to the rest of the upper lip, blurring the mid portion on each side to break it up a bit and carrying it down to the edges of the lower lip.  the important shape under the lower lip was cooled a bit with cobalt blue and extended using the trusty umber/alizarin combo.  the hair was extended using combinations of ivory black, mineral violet, burnt sienna, and ultramarine blue. when this was losing its sheen i scraped in the highlights using a small palette knife. i usually overdo this and did here but it is so much fun i can't resist! with the face just about done except for some finishing touches i moved onto the clothing and the problem of portraying the fringe on his leather jacket. i put in a fairly dark overwash of pure burnt umber more or less right out of the tube to paint the area involved and sort of emulated the fringe, but the bulk of the work was done by palette knife and scraping as you can see. i think this will work and looks fairly convincing. after putting down a light wash to start to define the red bandanna i ran out of time and stopped for the day.

this portrait is starting to look more like sitting bull in the photo and i am pleased that i have been able to make some nuanced changes "on the fly" so to speak, but he still looks younger than his real age at the time of the photo. i think adding some of the wrinkles will help and i will experiment with that tomorrow or later today.

Friday, March 18, 2011

sitting bull portrait: nose, mouth, cheeks, and a bit more

sitting bull: more features added
i got to paint a little more this morning before going off to the farmers' market down at the town circle (called christmas circle for some reason). i don't have time right now to go over the steps that i pursued to paint this but i will up date this post later with some of the grisly details, but i wanted to get this posted so anyone following could see where i was before stopping today.  more later.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

sitting bull portrait: next steps

drawing for sitting bull portrait
here is the drawing that i did of sitting bull. it is not a real good likeness but the idea is there. i am trying to draw off of a computer screen in a b it of sunlight as i do not have the means to print out a hard copy here. it is proving to be a bit difficult. i may be able to amend it during the painting process but i have found that with me that is "hit and miss." so i am going with this at this time as i am sure that i will do a better one in  the near future and i want to get started on the painting part of the project.

first wash on sitting bull portrait
i decided to do an initial wash over most of the painting and then add features and shadows after it had dried. i used the largest round brush that i have (#12, kalish) and applied variations of burnt sienna, cobalt blue, permanent alizarin crimson on his face and raw umber and sienna with some cobalt blue for the shirt in his clothing.  i took a photo of this while it was still wet and then just before i started repainting after it had dried. i was attempting to show that it dried quite a bit lighter in value, but the photo of the dried version didn't work out well so you will have to judge by the steps where i am putting in the features. there is one glaring error here and one minor one that i am aware of.  you may see more! the worst is that i shouldn't have stopped the wash at the line where the hat meets his forehead. i should have continued it up through at least the underside of the brim and perhaps on to the crown.  the second more minor point is that i know that the left (his, our right) side of his face will be in shadow and i could have made that i little cooler and or darker at this stage and started the feeling of shadow at this step.

putting in the features
after this first wash was dry (no longer cool to the touch is a good parameter) i started putting in the features. you can see that this is a lighter value than the last when it was wet. using a #4 round i put in the shadow under the upper lid in burnt sienna with a little alizarin crimson.  while this was still wet i put on the top of the iris with burnt umber being careful to preserve the highlight and then drew the pigment down over the rest of the iris with a damp, clean brush.  this i tied in with the lower lid.  the important dark shape in the medial aspect of each eye socket was put in with cobalt blue and burnt sienna (?umber) and carried over the brow with ivory black and burnt sienna. the lateral plane of the socket was painted with the burnt sienna and faded as i went laterally toward the hairline. switching to a #10 brush i made a mistake by not putting the shadow under the hat brim and its cast shadow on this forehead dark enough and all at the same time. i did blend all this in with the hair which was ivory black with some burnt sienna and scraped with the palette knife when it had lost its sheen.

on this next step i realized my mistake and tried to darken the shadows and tie them into the hair a better. i wanted more of a reflected light feeling under the center portion of the brim but i lost that with the over wash to some extent. i started to model the nose with a mid value of alizarin crimson and burnt sienna. i did this in the typical way that i have been doing it by painting the under plane shadow and drawing the paint up and over the top of the nose with a damp, clean brush. lastly at this step i tied this shadow on the nose in with the medial eye socket shadow. i released the under plane wash into the upper lip midline with some cerulean blue.  i have made a number of mistakes so far in this painting but each one is an opportunity to learn (or in some of these, re-learn) something. i don't think any of this has been a fatal mistake, however!. i'm going to let this dry and go out to the plein air festival to watch "real" painters do some landscape work. more later.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

tatanka iyotanka: first portrait attempt

tatanka iyotanka, sitting bull
for this next painting i have chosen to start my work on painting native americans. the iconic hunkpapa sioux medicine man and eventual leader of the larger sioux nation tatanka iyotanka, sitting bull, seemed a fitting subject for my first attempt. he was about 60 years old when he was killed during a arrest attempt just outside his home in december, 1890, a scant two weeks before the wounded knee massacre on pine ridge reservation of the oglala sioux. this well known photo of sitting bull in a beaver skin hat will be used as the inspiration for the painting.

i will work on the drawing and perhaps start on the painting today. i haven't yet decided to start with a wash first and add shadows and features afterwards or to start in on the mid tone shadows and features right from the get go. i guess i have all day to decide. see you later for more.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

jimi hendrix portrait: finishing steps

jimi hendrix portrait
i started out this painting session fixing the nose a bit with some lifts and re-application of the darker pigments so that it was a little more in the perspective of the piece as a whole.  after that i painted the near eye and its associated socket pretty much the same as i did its mate on the other side.  the side plane of the face painted with alizarin crimson permanent and burnt umber was the next step and then i put in the hair with mixtures of ivory black, mineral violet, burnt sienna and ultramarine blue. i tried to put in the edges with a bit of dry brush but not doing this very often i didn't succeed entirely. i also added a medium wash of raw umber, alizarin crimson and quinacridone gold on top and behind his head attempting to lose some of the edges of the hair...some of which succeeded.  to start the hand i put a light application of alizarin crimson and burnt sienna over the ends and faded it out as it went more proximal up each finger. when this dried, i could paint each finger leaving the nail part untouched with burnt umber and sienna. i darkened the areas around the knuckles. then i put in the shadow on the back of the hand with cobalt blue.

i thought that it would be impossible to make his clothing more flamboyant than his real clothes but right now i think i may have done just that. i may feel differently in the morning.  the green on the cuff which seemed like a good idea at the time was a mistake in retrospect.  some minor shadows on the cigarette and his shirt finished things on the figure itself.  the right side looked a little bare so i splashed on a bit of dilute cerulean blue, alizarin crimson, and raw sienna and pushed it around a bit with the brush allowing some to drip down unimpeded.

all in all, i thinking that the likeness is good. i may have overdone things with the coat and clothing. looking back 10 days or so ago i think that i have a much better idea how to paint the portrait of a person with darker skin and look forward to trying a few more. i need to move on to painting some native americans now and have a number of photos for reference and inspiration material. we'll start tomorrow if all goes according to schedule. until then, be well.

Monday, March 14, 2011

first washes on hendrix portrait

i did check the proportions of jimi's hands compared to his face and found that the fingers were about a 1/4" too long, so i corrected the drawing. the other thing that struck me was that the picture dimensions were not going to work with this figure so i redefined the painting area by drawing a rectangle around the area i thought would be appropriate.

redrawn hand and first washes: jimi hendrix

using a #8 round brush with a good point i painted the shadow on the the under plane of the nose using burnt sienna and cobalt blue. i gave it a good shake after rinsing and used the slightly wet brush to draw the paint up and over to the top planes of the nose.  this washed out the form on the under plane so i strengthened it by charging in some pure burnt umber wet-in-wet. i released the form into the upper lip using a dab of cerulean blue in the mid line drawing it up into the wet wash. i carried the wash with a little sliver of cobalt blue into the medial eye socket where it expanded into the upper lid using burnt sienna. the shadow under the upper lid was painted using burnt sienna and then i added the iris with burnt umber being careful to reserve the highlight. i released the iris into the lower lid using this small amount of paint to define the lower lid. watching the iris carefully i added the pupil wet-in-wet when the wash was just about dry using ultramarine blue.  the lateral aspect of the eye socket blended into the hair which was painted with ivory black and mineral violet.
close-up of first washes of jimi hendrix portrait
since i wanted a bit of a tie in with the far cheek i painted this with a combination of alizarin crimson permanent and burnt sienna.  the value was a little weak when it dried but i can restate it later.  it would have been a mistake to redo an area this large while it was still wet.....mud making move....remember? to finish this step i added a dab of pure cadmium red light right in the medial corner of the eye.  in the close-up you can see the way that the wash(es) all work together. connect, connect, connect....i keep saying to myself.  that's all for today.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

jimi hendrix........portrait

drawing for hendrix portrait
i have decided to try to do a more finished portrait this time and after browsing a bit decided on jimi hendrix. the challenge was to pick out the source material as there are hundreds of photos of this rock icon on the web. i chose the one i will be painting because of the pose and the fact that his hand is in the picture. i like portraits that include at least the hand(s) as well as the face. additionally, his hands brought him in contact with his right-handed strat that he played left-handed and helped produce the groundbreaking guitar work for which he was so famous. so much for the philosophical long-winded reasoning behind my choice. the short reason.......i liked it.

i'm not sure how much, if any, i will get to paint today so i will at least post the drawing. as per the charles reid drawing i worked out the details and nuances on a sketch book page and then transferred it to a sheet of 16"X20" 140# fabriano artistico cold press paper using my cheap and dirty light box....a picture window with the sketch and paper taped on. here is the drawing. his hand might be a little large but i am going to leave it as is for the time being. i do know that his hands were much larger than usual so maybe these are in correct proportion. i'll check the photo before next time. spot you later. be well.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

next project: " smokin' bluesman"

drawing for smokin' bluesman
this next photo of a cigarette-smoking acoustic guitar-playing, bluesman came from an ad for dean markely acoustic guitar pickups and strings and is probably someone i should recognize, but don't. this served as the inspiration for this sketch and is being used only for educational purposes. it probably seems as though i am producing these at breakneck speed and it is true that i am not taking very much time with them.  maybe about 90 minutes each including the modified contour drawing.  my main goal, as i said at the beginning, was to get an idea of how i wanted to approach this kind of painting and not produce a polished product. i have definitely succeeded in the latter, the former.......... maybe.
smokin' bluesman

i painted this more or less the same as the other two. in looking at this now i can see that his head is a bit askew and, again, there is something wrong with the mouth. i thought i had it figured out on the muddy waters sketch, but here again i have a slightly agape mouth due to the cigarette. i'm going to have to look over some more masterful painters' pieces to find a solution to this apparently ongoing problem. like most things in painting (and drawing for that matter) it will probably come down to really seeing what is going on and observing better. the glasses were fun and eliminated having to paint the eyes which makes the painting move along a bit faster.

i have a couple of other photos to choose from but i don't like them as well so i may look for some other source material before moving on to the next effort. also, i am feeling much more confident than i was a couple of days ago and may attempt a more completed, painting-like, piece rather than a sketch.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

next step on muddy waters portrait

"muddy waters"
the first thing that i did this morning was lift out some areas that were really dark on the underside of the nose and added a bit of definition to the top with some overwashes. the same paint colors were used for the mouth and chin. alizarin crimson permanent was added to the mix for the cheeks and lips. the oval shadow under the lower lip was cerulean blue. after adding some washes for the clothes and ultramarine shadows around the neck his pencil-thin moustache was painted in with pretty much pure ivory black and softened a bit with a damp brush.

the first thing i am going to say bout this painting is that after using the lanaquarelle paper twice now that i don't really care for it. it is strangely resistant to the paint which seems to sit on the top more than i would like and the surface is, oddly enough, very soft. i think i will go through this block using it for sketches and not get anymore. the second thing i will mention is that i like this portrait better than the last although i have to admit that it is not a very good likeness. this latter would be corrected by spending a bit more time on the drawing. i definitely am getting closer to the fresh feeling that i am looking for and it is much less overworked than the last of the calypso drummer.

Monday, March 7, 2011

muddy waters portrait

drawing for muddy waters watercolor sketch
i had a photo of the legendary bluesman muddy waters that i thought would work for the next project as i tried to learn how to paint darker skinned people. the angle is a little difficult on the drawing skills but i think that it will work out okay. i drew the image on the same 10"X14" 140# cold press lanaquarelle paper placing it a bit off to side to avoid too much symmetry. i really don't know why i bothered to be so precise about this since it will just be a sketch, but old habits die hard, i guess.

first washes in the muddy waters sketch
i was determined to keep this painting a bit more lively and fresh than the last one and in pursuit of this goal mixed almost nothing on the palette. all the mixing was done by the paint on the paper.  this meant that the amount of water in the brush was critical so i made sure that i gave it a good shake or two after each rinse. i started at the nose and used ultramarine blue and burnt umber. i think that it is a little too dark and flat looking now at the completed step. i will refrain from trying to fix it now and try to do a little lifting tomorrow after everything had dried. i continued to paint the eyes and surrounding sockets using the same hues plus burnt sienna. for the larger highlights i used cerulean blue rather than leaving the paper altogether bare. i reserved specks of bare paper for the smaller highlights. adding permanent alizarin crimson around the cheek area to warm them up allowed me to get to a spot where i could stop for the night as i need to start dinner preparation. before doing that though i daubed in the hair with ivory black, alizarin crimson, and mineral violet for the darker areas and cerulean for the highlighted areas. lastly, with the management calling, i splashed something or other on the back ground to tie the figure in a little better. tune in tomorrow for the dramatic finish!

"old '49...." on hiatus. starting portrait series

drawing for calypso drummer sketch
well, i kind of got a bit bored with the old '49 project and decided to put it on the back shelf.  if anybody was following along and feels jilted i will return to it eventually.  what turned my head was some burgeoning interest in painting people of color....non-caucasians. over the last several years i have worked with the lakota people of the oglala sioux tribe on pine ridge reservation in southwestern south dakota. some dedicated colleagues and friends and i helped to establish an additional medical presence in the little town of porcupine not far from the infamous wounded knee site. during this work we met and grew to be friends with a number of the members of the tribe and i thought that i would like to paint several of them if the opportunity ever arose.  i am going back to see how the whole thing is going with some other friends (cogbill's of "cogbill's find" from a few posts ago, among others) in may of this year. so i have just enough time to get a wee bit more proficient at painting people of color before i go back out. i thought that i would start with trying to paint a black man with a huge white beard and here is the drawing to get us started. it was done on 10"X14" cold press lanaquarelle 140# paper in a block. at the beginning i will say that i tried to do too many "new things" for the first time in this sketch, so it may seem like a chapter from the story "caveat painter." the first caveat is that i rarely if ever use lana paper and so was unfamiliar with exactly how the paint would behave on its surface. this was a mistake when trying to do a different sort of painting for the first time simultaneously. so this was struggle #1. the second caveat was that i have to paint outside where we are living at the present time due to the mess i usually make when painting. outside here, however, we are in the middle of a horrendous wind storm with continual 35 mph wind and gusts over 55mph. my easel was stable enough, but the wind combined with the dry conditions  made the paint dry almost as soon as it hit the paper. this made tie-ins and blending a serious challenge.  there were even times when the paint on a smallish brush dried before i even got it to the paper! the last caveat which is more for the viewer is that these are going to be sketches or at best vignettes as i try to learn and  develop the correct technique for me to paint these.  so don't look for anything even remotely finished.

sketch of calypso drummer
with all that in mind here is the first effort. i started as usual with the nose putting dabs of ultramarine blue and burnt umber on the under plane of the nose and drew it out up and over the top and side of his nose using a damp #8 sable round brush. from there i went into the far side of the face with a darker version of the same paint and then worked on the far eye, eyelid, and brow. i didn't like the monochromatic effect i was getting with more mixing on the palette than the paper so tried to change at this step in the forehead under the brim of the hat by putting pure colors on the paper and allowing them to mix there. starting with pure ultramarine and then moving to burnt sienna and finally burnt umber i was starting to get the effect that i was looking for. i quickly learned that those little patches of white highlights were important for the form and in trying to preserve them may have left them too prominent. something to think about next time. i then worked down the near cheek and ended painting the face with the near eye structures. the only new paint i added to the fore mentioned mixtures on the top of the cheek and lips was permanent alizarin crimson. the hat was defined a bit by loose splashes of color(cerulean and cadmium orange-red) and the beard the same but with the red of his shirt. i put in a few dark hair remnants around the edges of the beard, but i am not sure this was either necessary or a good idea. additionally i am willing to stipulate that i am not happy with mouth.  this starting to be a recurrent theme! all in all despite the various caveats i am relatively pleased with this first attempt.  i have several more photos to use as inspiration and will probably try another later today or tomorrow. until then i will try not to blow away!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"old '49 headin' west": penultimate steps

penultimate steps in "old '49 headin' west"
using a #8 kolinski sable round and combinations of ultramarine blue, quinacridone gold, cadmium yellow medium, burnt and raw sienna, hookers green and even some permanent alizarin crimson i put in the mid ground trees and hedges.  the barn was painted using the same brush but with cobalt blue and burnt sienna (same as the truck, if you will remember). i know that the sign is too big but if i made it smaller i think that the overall design would suffer as i would have too many things at the same level. so, i decided to leave it alone. i used cadmium yellow medium and ivory black and added a dash of yellow to the drivers shirt just for the fun of it. i will let this dry and come back later today and finish this painting. while i am out and about this morning i will think about the next project that will definitely be more of a portrait/figure deal than this turned out to be. 'til then, have fun.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

next steps:"old '49 headin' west"

next steps: "old '49 headin' west"
i got this new color, prussian blue, and have been looking for a place to try it out.  i decided to use it in the sky of this painting which was the next thing that i would do here. it proved, as i suspected, to be a little much but, what the heck, its only paper. in the shadows of the clouds i stuck with the more traditional, for me, cobalt blue and burnt sienna.  the distant hillside was painted in prussian blue, permanent alizarin crimson, and a bit of raw sienna just barely mingled on the palette and then applied to the paper and allowed to mix there. i used the same colors for the nearer, larger mountainside but in a darker value. i softened the bottom edge on both of these so that when i painted the more foreground/midground structures i could avoid a sharp line underneath them. i may have left the barn at the right a little too isolated. i think if i do something like this again i might do the barn or a structure like it right after the truck and get my tie-ins right away rather than worrying about them after the fact. i have said it before, i find that softening a hard edge is difficult after it has dried but restating a lost edge is fairly easy. i think that is it for now as the desert beckons. more tomorrow.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

new project: "old '49 headin' west"

i saw an old gray-blue short box pickup starting to go to rust with out of state plates going through town the other day.  when i was going through some of my photos from a road trip up in montana a couple of years ago i thought that i could incorporate these two things into one painting (figure, truck, in landscape).
barn on montana by-way
here is a copy of the inspiration photo.

i started right off with a problem because for the truck i would have preferred to use cold pressed paper and for a landscape i usually like rough. to work my way out of this vexing conundrum i decided that the painting would probably be more landscape than figure so rough won in the end. i lightly drew the the elements of the landscape on a piece of 14"X20" fabriano artistico rough paper and then a bit more meticulously drew the truck coming from the left foreground.  i didn't like the ratio of length to width of this paper (or the standard 30"X22"/15"X22"/11"X15") for that matter.  so i trimmed about three inches off the left side of the paper to make it about 14"X17" ( or a ratio of about 1.2:1) which appealed to me more. the truck is a bit sloppily drawn, but i think this is going to be a bit of a "practice" painting so i left it as is.

first steps: "old '49 headin' west"
after the drawing i started painting the truck using a #8 round that pointed well.  i used cobalt blue and burnt sienna for the colors and mixed them only slightly on the palette leaving most of the mixing up to the watercolor on the paper. the highlights more or less painted themselves.  to do this i rinse the brush, shake it out, dip the tip in the fresh wet paint on the palette, work out just a little on the palette and then apply it. the application is done by pointing the tip loaded with paint where i want the most intense color and value, then pressing the brush almost to the ferrule, stroking it for the distance needed and then lifting it.  because the belly of the brush has way more water than paint it makes a nice graded brush stroke.  charles reid describes this much better than i and i would encourage you to peruse his latest book on painting flowers in watercolor to get the gist of this in more detail. as usual i was concerned with making the truck seem part of the scene so i was constantly looking for places to lose edges and tie it into the background. the mostly hooker's green/quinacridone gold wash was used for this purpose along with the cast shadow of the truck on the roadway. i think i may have him on the wrong side of the road.......wait, is this jolly old england?..........i'm being told it is not. then please allow me a bit of artistic license! until the morrow, be well.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

next and last steps in the anza-borrego desertscape

anza-borrego: palm canyon to font's point (next step)
from a distance of twenty feet or so the distant mountains and the near hillside on the left blended together due to being very close in value.  so the first thing that i did was strengthen the edge of the near hillside and created some separation.  that being done i turned my attention to the foreground rocks.  i put some yellowish pigment near the bottoms of them to suggest some reflected light and painted the darker portions with combinations of both prussian and ultramarine blue, raw umber, raw sienna, quinacridone gold, burnt sienna, and even some permanent alizarin crimson mixed almost entirely on the paper. i mostly painted the top of the rocks toward the light (upper right) with the siennas. when each of these was starting to lose its sheen i scraped off the highlighted edges with a palette knife.  the timing of this is a bit critical so you might have to experiment if you are trying this and haven't done it before. some mid-distance plants with their respective shadows were added as the last thing in this step. i got some fresh, clean water and stretched at this point.

"anza-borrego: palm canyon to font's point" (finished painting) 
when i got back 10-15 minutes later i started on the ocotillos. on my trip the other day i did find out that the flowers were more toward the orange-red than i remembered so i will have to remedy that. i described the way i decided to paint these last time by painting the stems over droplets of water. i thought that looked okay and finished them off that way using ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, quinacridone gold, and oxide of chromium for the stems and combinations of rose, cadmium yellow medium, and cadmium red light for the blossoms. i got a little carried away with the whole "spritzing" thing but in the end i think leaving that way was okay. i put in some finishing touches by spattering different sizes of spatters in the middle and foreground to simulate rocks and debris. that's it for this project.  i think that i did like both of the new techniques that i tried in this painting and would utilize them again in other landscapes should the opportunity arise. thanks for watching along.

the next painting i haven't decided on yet, but am thinking pretty seriously of another portrait or figure. i will probably start the drawing this evening and start painting in the morning.  'til then, be well.