Monday, August 29, 2011

"sophie loves lola"

for this next painting i am going to use a photo of sophie, our granddaughter, and her cat lola taken by our daughter-in-law heidi and shown on her blog under the humble moon. sophie spent about a month with us wisconsinites visiting from her home in portland, oregon. when she got home lola was awaiting her and this is a depiction of their joyful reunion. i changed it to gray scale as i find it is easier to read values that way and i am also not such a slave to the colors. i can sort of make it up as i go along....within reason of course. in fact, i almost always do this or use a black and white photo if it is to be the inspiration for painting.

i started out drawing directly on a 16"X20" 140# cold press fabriano artisitico extra white sheet of paper. the technique was about 50% modified contour and 50% gestural type of drawing. here is the result before adding any paint....yes, i was able to restrain myself from splashing some paint on at my earliest convenience and before i had taken any photos of the drawing.....this time. no future promises. i purposely made the drawing darker in the photo than it is in real life so that it would show up here better. before starting painting i corrected a few things with sophie's hand and lightly erased some of the lines so that they would not be so intrusive in the finished painting. i do this by drawing the kneaded eraser down and across the paper from upper right to lower left in one direction.

to start the painting i took my #8 round with a good point and using cadmium red light, cadmium yellow pale , and cerulean blue painted in the shadow line under the upper lid of the far eye. i immediately put in the shadow in the socket above the previous line and drew it out over laterally with a damp, clean brush. the eyebrow was put in wet-in-wet with burnt umber and quinacridone gold. i wanted this to blend in with the hair so i put that in with the same colors as the brow and worked it down over lola's ear. i scraped in a few strands of hair when the wash was losing its sheen. i put in the iris with cobalt blue which grayed a bit with a blend from the shadow put in previously. i painted around the highlight and about half way down to the lower lid and then worked it all the way down with a brush cleaned and shaken of excess water. i watched this carefully and put in the pupil wet-in-wet with ultramarine blue and a touch of mineral violet. the under plane of the nose was put in with the same flesh colors and worked up and over the top and *right* side of the nose. a single upward stroke of a damp clean brush released the shadow shape into the upper lip. i kept working northward into the medial aspect of the mostly covered near eye socket with adding more cerulean blue as you can see. i then worked on lola's nose. i start there frequently with people, so why not with our feline friends? i will offer the caveat that i have never painted a cat before so we are plowing new ground here. it should be interesting. so, the tip on the nose was burnt sienna and a bit of ultramarine blue and the whole thing worked up toward the eyes and released it into the *left* "cheek." i defined the lower limit of lola's cheek? lip? whatever, with some of the same colors but strong on the blue and added more burnt sienna as i moved leftward on the picture surface. that's as far as i got and i had been painting for 20 minutes at that point...i set a timer as i found i (again) have been falling into the trap of painting until i was too tired and the water was as filthy as the palette. bad habits die hard. i'll start in again tomorrow. cheers.

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