Friday, May 6, 2011

new project: urban ranch

i apologize for the gap in postings. not really sure what happened. time just got away from me. i decided to do another landscape as i seem to be having some trouble with them and i know that i need to do some more work before i will be at all happy with the result. i think the main problems have been in the value area and getting a little too dark too soon and not leaving myself enough "room" to tho speak. so as i do this i think i will do a near "darkest dark" first to gauge everything else and try for lighter values in the rest of the painting. we'll see.

the inspiration photo was posted in the southwestern/western art forum of wet canvas as a challenge for may. here it is:

there isn't quite enough going on in the foreground, i don't think, so i will probably put something in the try to lead one's eye upward into the painting.

i first lightly drew in the major elements onto a 14"X20" piece of 140# fabriano artistico rough paper. next step was painting the shed/barn with mixtures of cobalt blue/burnt sienna mixed mostly on

 the paper. i used a 3/4" flat brush and when mostly
 dry put in the overlying suggestion of vertical boards with a darker version of the same colors. the cast shadow was painted right after that to get a tie-in using hooker's green and quinacridone gold. since i have decided to leave the roof more or less white i was careful to keep that untouched white paper for now as i then put in the gray background with the same colors but switching to a 1" kolinski flat. this brush is big enough and holds enough water/paint that i often load one corner with one color and the other with another color and then apply both at the same time with broad sweeping strokes swishing the brush around without lifting until i think that the paint is starting to be diminished. i brought this down to the far tree line and then left it with a relatively soft edge as i hadn't decided what i was going to do back there yet and wanted to leave my options open (hard edge/soft edge?). the firs were painted with a 3/4" flat using ultramarine blue, quinacridone gold and hooker's green with a little mineral violet in a few places for color interest. switching to a #6 round i painted the deciduous tree behind the building with ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. i tried to emulate the budding leaves with some water spritzes. i'm not sure that worked, but i'll leave 'em. i started painting the cattle using a #2 and #4 round and black/cobalt combinations on one and browns on the other.

at this point i put in a further background layer with the same colors in a darker value and brought it down in the middle of the painting and about half-way to the juncture of the woods and the pasture using a 1" flat. the pasture hillside was painted in quinacridone gold and cobalt blue and a little hooker's green. i should say most of these last few steps were done mixing on the paper or wet-in-wet. i brought it down to the fence line.

in this step i painted the midground deciduous tree with the trusty combination of cobalt blue and burnt sienna using a #6 round that pointed really well so i could get the tapering effect on the branches that i was looking for. i tried to dry brush on some budding leaves using the side of a 3/4" flat, but i don't think it was too successful.  to put in the foreground wash using more or less the same colors that i have been using for the ground/grass with a large brush (i think it was the 1" flat) i was more interested in making sure that i darkened the value so that it seemed to come forward the closer to the eye it came. this will have to be over glazed as i  didn't vary the value enough to accomplish this the way that i wanted.

putting this darker wash over the front bottom helped but then i felt that i had created a barrier to a viewer's eye moving into the painting from the bottom. so.....

i lifted out a path for the eye and darkened the wash around it on either side and scratched in some texture for grass,etc. with a palette knife. i think this worked at the risk of appearing a bit naive. at some point i put in the last remaining steer on the left and the barbed wire fence. much of the barbed wire was "painted" with a palette knife loaded with a dark value paint and used like a quill pen. i lifted some of the branches in the tree on the left and also dry brushed in some more emerging leaves. a last spritz with water and i decided i had inflicted enough abuse on this piece and declared it done

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