Monday, October 31, 2011

"red boots splashing": continuing painting

close up of next steps
back for some more work on this painting. i couldn't really decide how to darken the yellow of the raincoat that is in shadow so i decided just to go with all of the methods discussed on the previous post and see what seemed better. i think they are fairly compatible with each other and it may be quite acceptable to mix them up in the same setting. so, i started today by applying the shadow under the *right* side of the hood with a bit of raw sienna, raw umber, and oxide of chromium. on the top of the hood i put in the shadows with raw umber pretty much exclusively. all of this was done with a #6 round and the colors were allowed to mingle on the paper rather than mixed on the palette. there is something wrong with her *right* neck that i will have to correct after i figure out what it is that is bugging me!  the shadows on top looked a little wimpy to me so i strengthened them with some oxide of chromium wet-in-wet. switching to a #8 round brush i started adding the shadow on the body of the raincoat.
further steps on the whole painting
these were effected by combinations of the colors aforementioned plus cobalt blue (added mainly to the raw umber to make a warm gray). these had a mixture of lost and found edges around their peripheries. her shirt underneath the coat was a combination of carmine and ultramarine blue. i extended the background dark down the *left* side of the figure with a very watery cerulean blue, burnt sienna, carmine and spritzing some water on the inferior edge as it ran down and "mopping" just a bit with a tissue to keep it under control. the hands are the usual flesh colors of cadmium red light and cadmium yellow pale. the apple olive green and cadmium red. the background wash between the apple and arm and the coat will need to be darkened and varied more than it turned out here. i can do this after when i have a better feel for the value it should be. the shadows on the trousers were a combination of cerulean blue, carmine and raw sienna put on in a rather neutral tint and then charged with one of the composite colors in places to add some variety. this too needed some lost edges which i did by touching a damp brush to the edge i wanted softened and drawing it away or just pressing down to the ferule.

last steps painted today
the trousers in the photo have some light blue stripes on them and i haven't yet decided to paint in a suggestion of them yet. if i do it will only be a suggestion leaving the whole thing quite understated. to finish things up today i worked on the *right* boot by painting it with cadmium red, carmine, and some ultramarine blue in places. to preserve the highlights i carefully painted around them and them softened the edges just when it started to dry with a barely damp, clean brush. as is my habit when putting in cast shadows, i put this in pretty loosely right after painting the boot in order to get a tie-in. a lot of this shadow was spattered on in a horizontal fashion as shown. the paint used was ultramarine blue and carmine. aside from the lone button, that is all i did today. hopefully i will get a chance to paint more tomorrow.

Friday, October 28, 2011

"red boots splashing": another painting

photo for next painting
i found these photographs done on actual film in the cupboard a week or so ago. they seemed to be fading and were at least 34 years old so i quickly scanned them and added them digitally to our collection. among them was this photo of our daughter amanda who is now a labor and delivery nurse in seattle. so, you can see that she interrupted her promising career as a professional apple filcher to go on to other, if not more noble, endeavors. this was a time in her life she loved yellow and if there was an apple in our apartment, one was being carried around while it was consumed. i thought that it would make a nice painting if only to help preserve the memories.

i had obtained some fabriano artistico hot press paper last month when i was experimenting with smooth surfaces. i have played around with this particular brand enough since it arrived to know that i like it so i will use it for this painting. i took a 16"X20" piece and drew the figure of amanda using pretty much the whole sheet and made it somewhat off to the right side to give her *right* arm and hand room to reach forward as shown. here is the drawing which was done with a modified contour approach using a 0.7mm mechanical pencil. here is the result:  i artificially darkened the drawing so that it appeared readable in this format. the actual is quite light.

drawing for "red boots splashing"
first washes (more violet than irl)
as i frequently do in figures like this i started with the nose by painting the shadow on the under plane with cadmium red light, cadmium yellow pale and cerulean blue with a #4 round brush. after cleaning and shaking i manipulated the paint form that step to paint the top part of the nose just a bit up onto the bridge. i connected the nose to the upper lip with a light stroke of cerulean blue in the midline which also served to define the center shadow. i then moved on to the eyes. beginning with the *left* eye, i painted the shadow under the upper lid with the same colors as the nose but with more cerulean blue. right after that i put in the iris with cerulean blue allowing a bit of a bleed with the shadow. i only painted the top half being careful to avoid the highlight and then painting the lower half with clear water drawing pigment down. i tied that in with the lower lid by drawing the pigment down into the area below the eye. the medial socket was done next with cerulean blue that was drawn out laterally over the upper lid surface with the cadmium red/yellow mix. the eyebrow was painted in burnt umber wet-in-wet. by this time the iris had dried enough to put in the pupil wet-in-wet using, this time, mineral violet (don't ask me why...i just wanted something dark...and my brush went there.) this allowed a slight bleed with the iris. the lateral extent of the socket was explained by a mixed splotch of cerulean and the flesh colors that was carried up onto the forehead and down to the upper cheek.

i put in the shadow under the *left* side of the hood to blend in with the shape lateral to the socket. i also started to experiment with how i was going to do the rain coat. the tough part won't be the yellow, but deciding how to paint the shadows on the coat/hood. yellow is notoriously difficult to darken. my option will be a grayer yellow (like raw sienna/umber) quinacridone gold right out of the tube full strength, or a green. we'll see what seems to work best in a slightly later step. right now i am leaning toward the green.

i painted the *right* eye the same way as the other. the mouth was done with the flesh colors tending toward the red by dabbing paint in the two corners and middle of the upper lip and after cleaning the brush working that pigment out into the cheek, other parts of the lip and lateral portions of the lower lip. the shadow under the lower lip defines the lower aspect of the lip and was painted with cerulean blue and blended inferiorly with the flesh mixture. the cheeks were painted mainly in the cadmium reds/yellows. as i  moved into the neck i added some cerulean. the hair was streaks of quinacridone gold and burnt umber with strands scratched in as the sheen came off the paper. i knew that i wanted some violet in the background to contrast with the yellow of the rain coat and hood so i started with a varied wash just above the hood using ultramarine blue, mineral violet, burnt sienna, and cerulean blue as you see. i didn't want to do any more at this time so i tapered the edges so that i could start back up again later without a hard edge. that's all for now. more tomorrow. be well.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

trempealeau overlook #2: finishing up

there really isn't very much left to do on this painting, but at least the water is pretty important to get right. last time i did this scene , albeit in a smaller format, the water seemed to be on the same level as the figures. in reality it is about 500 feet lower down at he base of the bluff they have arduously climbed to gain this spectacular view. i am going to try to get all the breaks in the shadows as horizontal as i can, try to make sure the reflections are just a bit darker than the hills doing the reflecting, and keep my fingers crossed.

adding the "cliff"edge and reflections in the water
i started with putting a darker value wash along the cliff edge using burnt sienna, quinacridone gold, ultramarine blue, and some burnt umber and a 1" flat brush, which i used for almost all the painting in this and subsequent steps (except where i note otherwise). i flicked in some grass leaves of the same colors and also scraped in some of the same at the appropriate time. for the reflections i used either a combination of quinacridone gold and ultramarine blue or hooker's green and burnt umber/sienna carrying the thin stripes across the paper and adding some watery mix to help the blending. the distant hill reflection that is blueish i put in using cobalt blue and a touch of burnt sienna.

final steps on painting the foreground
the final steps were to give the foreground a bit of interest and texture by putting down horizontal washes of the same colors used for the water reflections, losing some of the edges, especially the bottom one, putting in some small blades of grass using a #4 round, and, of course, the ubiquitous scraping that i just can't give up. i toyed with the idea if putting a small island just in front of the center figure's head along with some trees, mostly to give the whole thing some scale, but in the end i decided against it. i think it would have had way too high a probability of looking amateurish, the value would have to be "perfect", and i didn't think it was worth the risk.

so here is the end result. overall, i think it is a better painting than the original, leaves some areas that could be improved upon, but accomplishes much of what i wanted and in the larger, full sheet format.

life drawing/painting session: week #6

20-minute pose
after skipping a week because of prior commitments, i returned to the vitamin studio for another 2-hour session of life drawing/painting. it was the usual format of 3 poses each just a little longer than the preceding after a warm of 3-2 minute poses. i discovered that i had become somewhat rusty and not to where i was two weeks ago. nevertheless, by the end i was feeling pretty good again about the output, although you will note i made horrible use of the time on the last pose and came no where close to finishing it. in my defense it was about 10 minutes shorter than the usual last pose (35 vs. 45 minutes), but still....

so here are the offerings for this week:

30-minute pose
as seems typical of me, the first of the longer poses which ironically was the shortest, came out the best. i compared notes with the other artists at the session and they have noticed the same thing in their work. i am not sure if it is fatigue, or trying to do too much, or what. it seems rather common however.

35-minute pose

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

trempealeau overlook: continuing steps

trempealeau overlook: continuing progress
i continued to work slowly on this painting. having finished the figures a couple of days ago i painted the foreground today. it a large area and i wanted to get it to gain value and color as it moved forward in the picture plane. i used the 1" flat brush for all of this step. the far edge was painted using quinacridone gold and ultra marine blue and hooker's green. working quickly, i added some burnt sienna in areas and cobalt blue with quinacridone gold in stronger concentrations as i moved down the painting. i wanted to carve out the bench top which was pretty shiny from all those seats and reflected a lot of light thus appearing almost white. when i reached the bottom, i went back to the far edge with dark version of burnt umber/ultramarine over quinacridone gold leaves and twigs that went up above the edge and hung over the edge to some degree. when this was starting to dry just a bit i scratched in more grasses with the palette knife. i will have to add some texture to this and try to carve out a relatively "flat" place around the figures and bench while allowing the brush near the precipice to rise up some. this will probably need to happen by subtle value and color changes. i'll  think about it until tomorrow. here is where we are when i left off today.

Monday, October 24, 2011

more landscapes...bigger....better?

reference photo
in keeping with recent themes i have decided to redo a painting that i did several months to a year ago and a landscape with figures. as an added challenge i will paint it in a much larger format than i have in the past, namely, a full sheet of fabriano artistico rough 140# paper (22"X30"). no good reason other than i wanted to try it  and felt up to the task (perhaps a foolish decision...we'll see).

trempealeau overlook
the photo that i will use is this one from our kids after they had hiked about 2 miles uphill to the top of the bluffs just north of here in trempealeau, wi. they are viewing the distant minnesota bluffs on the west side of the mississippi from a vantage point of 500-600 feet above the river. in the previous rendition  (which was in about a half-sheet format) i didn't like the way that the water was painted as i seemed to be almost on the level with the kids. i wanted to see if i could get it to descend to its real level in this next iteration.

 i started this painting by drawing in the figures in the foreground on the paper previously mentioned and then the position of the river and more distant land masses. in keeping with my dictum of painting those things that i figure will give me the hardest time, i started with the sky and some of the distant bluffs. i wanted to get as much aerial perspective into this as possible so i tried to put the most distant bluff in while the sky ( a wash of mineral violet/cobalt blue/raw sienna) was still damp so that the edges would be somewhat blurred. i also made them blue to make then recede. the blue came out a little too "sweet" for my taste but i may be able to tame it a bit later with a light wash of raw sienna or umber. i will wait to do this to make the judgement when the painting is more finished.

first steps
next steps
so, the washes up until this point have all been painted using a 1" flat brush. i started with a wash of raw sienna to wet the paper and followed with a graded wash of cobalt blue wet-on-wet and finished with a graded wash of mineral violet just at the very top wet-on-wet. before this completely dried (cool and damp to the touch) i added the distant hillside/bluff with cobalt blue (which i should have grayed a bit with one of the earth colors, but didn't). just before this dried i did the same with the slightly nearer bluff, all with the same 1" brush. i started to experiment with both the value and color of the nearest left side bluff using ultramarine blue and quinacridone gold (same brush) but decided after about 5 minutes that i was getting ahead of myself and blended it in and went on to the figures. switching to a #10 round i painted the middle figure's hair with cobalt blue, burnt sienna and burnt umber. her shirt was started at the waist with a gray wash formed by cerulean blue, raw sienna, and carmine. by the time i reached her hair it had dried enough that i got just a little bleed which was what i was going for. flesh on her arms was painted with cadmium red light, raw sienna and a bit of cerulean. shorts ultramarine blue and raw umber. moving on to the right most figure, his hair was painted with burnt umber and quinacridone gold. although i did paint his face with the aforementioned flesh color too much of the hair bled into it and that will have to be remedied later. his shirt was a mixture of cobalt blue, raw sienna, and mineral violet and his shorts a light wash of raw umber and just a touch of cobalt blue. you can see that i tried to get some tie-ins with the surroundings right away  but they were too dark in value so i lifted them out for the most part. i think in the future i will just pull some pigment into the background with a damp brush and/or clear water to avoid this issue. the last stages that i painted today finished the figures in more or less the same fashion as the rest had been done. in addition i darkened the right most near bluff with a dense wash of ultramarine blue, quinacridone gold, hooker's green, and burnt sienna. it is way too dark but i will see how far it lightens as it dries and make a final judgement tomorrow. while i was at it i did put in some of the reflections in the far water and some of the brush down near the far shore with the same colors. the posts of the bench were the last thing i did today and they were painted with the #10 round and mixtures of ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, mineral violet, and a bit of ivory black. i carried it down to the bottom edge of the painting for the cast shadow and scraped in some grass leaves when it was losing its sheen with a palette knife. more tomorrow. be well.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

landscape redux

timber coulee fishing: before
timber coulee fishing: after
there were some technical issues that i had with the last two landscapes. i wanted them to have a lot of depth but to varying degrees they were a bit shallow. that would have been fine if i had intentionally tried to flatten the picture frame of reference....but i hadn't. i got some good advice on the first one "timber coulee fishing" when i posted it on the brush with water forum. the first was to make sure the things one wants to recede take on a decidedly blueish cast. one way to do this would be to lightly paint over the distant hills and sky with a blue wash. the other piece of technical advice was to make the water lay down flatter by painting it a bit darker in value than the sky it is reflecting. again, i think this could be accomplished by a light wash of a transparent blue like cobalt blue. i tried both both these techniques on the "rabbit trail marsh" painting and they accomplished what i had been striving for artistically, namely a greater depth of field and the water seemed to be obeying newtonian principles. so, i decided that i would apply these two techniques to the "timber coulee fishing" painting. i figured nothing ventured nothing gained. once more, i think both accomplished what i had wanted in the first place but didn't have the requisite tools in my toolbox. now, hopefully, i do. so here are the "post" results along with the "pre" images previously posted.
rabbit trail marsh: before

rabbit trail marsh: after

Saturday, October 15, 2011

next project: "mississippi backwaters"

mississippi backwaters from the rabbit trails
in keeping with the landscape theme, which i am going to stick with until i am satisfied i see improvement, i am going to paint the mississippi backwaters as seen from the rabbit trails near the university. for those not familiar with these, we are blessed by the powers that be with not channelizing the river in our immediate area. this not only gives a huge reservoir to soak up flood waters (we flood much less frequently than our surrounding communities because of this) but also are an incredible refuge for any number of species of flora/fauna who find their homes in the marsh, and they are beautiful. this is the photo that i took earlier this week that will serve as the inspiration for this painting.  i will say right from the get-go that i am going to make the sky more dramatic, give more than a hint of fall colors to the distant foliage, and strengthen the foreground with some reed, cattails, etc. some of this is more for practice than compositional "correctness." i think that the painting will be okay with these and i need to work on my skies. if i painted it like in the photo it would be pretty much a plain grayed blue graded wash.....i know how to do that......and not very exciting!

initial washes
so i started by lightly drawing in a horizon line and the basic placement of distant hills (i made them more prominent, duh), the midground trees on the far bank, and some of the placement of the reflections. i then, using a 1" flat brush wet some of the sky/hill/tree area with clear water, blotted it a bit, and put in a slightly graded, broken wash of cobalt blue grayed with raw sienna. just before this dried so that i got a blurring of the edge i put in the distant hills/bluffs (they are the minnesota-side bluffs as this is looking west about noon) using the same brush. i'm not sure if i should have put in its reflection in the water now or save it for later. i chose the latter in this instance.
when this had dried thoroughly i painted the trees on the far shore with a variety of colors that you can probably figure out by observing allowing the colors to mingle on the paper much more than mixed on the palette. as the sheen came off of this wash i scraped out the trunks of the aspen/birch.

next washes 
i decided that the sky needed a little "punching up." i mixed a puddle of mineral violet and ultramarine blue and darkened the top of the painting and drew the color down into the clouds using a 3/4" flat. i then spritzed clear water at places along the bottom edge of that wash while it was still quite juicy and blotted it to further soften some of the edges. i am meaning to leave about 50% hard vs 50% soft edges. i think this gives the sky a bit more depth. i experimented with the left-most reflections suing the same colors as the trees but in a little lighter value. i think the water in the last painting (timber coulee....) was not quite flat????what ever i mean by least not quite right. so i thought that i would try messing with the values. i have found that in painting, if something doesn't look right it is probably the value rather than color, structure, etc. i am sure that there are exceptions to this "rule" but you have some strategy for this painting.

"mississippi backwaters" 14"X20"
i then finished the reflection of the trees and added the reflection of the distant hill/bluff. i decided not to put in the reflection of the sky as i felt this may have been too dark and i would have had trouble putting in the plant life i was planning for the foreground. i might have been better served by putting in the sky reflection and leaving out the cattails, etc.. the floating islands of algae were done in a combination of oxide of chromium, quinacridone gold, and burnt sienna with a touch of ultramarine blue in places painted in  broadening streaks as they came closer to the front. i put in the large mass of algae/ground, whatever in the extreme foreground and then the cattails and some sort of "berry" bushes. a few splatters for floating debris finished it off. i wish i hadn't put in the hard trunks and branches of the bare trees along the far bank....they add little (other than accuracy of scene) and are a distraction. i may be able to lighten then considerably but since they are mostly sepia, not completely.

Friday, October 14, 2011

timber coulee fishing: finishing up

 i started by getting rid of the reflection to the right of the figure as it didn't recapitulate the background immediately behind it. i put in the fields on either side of the pool/stream with a graded wash of cadmium yellow medium/burnt umber, quinacridone gold/olive green, and hooker's green/quinacridone gold with a bit of ultramarine for the very front most bit on the right foreground. i darkened the banks with a combination of hookers green, ultramarine blue, and burnt sienna, and scratched in some grasses, etc., before it dried completely. over this graded wash i put in horizontal patches/streaks of a darker value paint (sepia/hooker's ?????), lost some of the lateral and inferior edges, added some leaves, and then scratched in some more. i tried to make these be unevenly spaced as they came forward and also tried to get them larger and darker as well. not sure that was done as well as i would have liked. i then finished the reflection just basically putting in colors and swatches that corresponded to the background structures being careful to make sure they were right below their respective reflectors (?, apologies to english majors). from then on it really was what i call an, "ld/ld" approach....little of dis/little of dat.......putting in the ripples on the water by lifting out light value and putting down dark value narrow bands that should get larger the closer to the front they are located. pen-ultimately,  i put a few cracks, breaks, etc. in the barn with sepia applied with a #2 round. and finally, i painted the rod/line with sepia/olive green/titanium white where you see it with the same small brush. at this point i am sure that i could find more to do but it wouldn't add anything so i will call it finished.
timber coulee fishing, 14"X20"

there are several areas that i am not terribly happy about but i will not rry to correct them on this painting but file them away for future attempts at landscape...the weakest of my genres. that is one reason why i have decided to paint several improve of course.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

timber coulee fishing: next steps

after doing a little research on reflections and observing some down at the marsh i decided that the one's i had prematurely put in on this painting were not quite right. i scrubbed them out with my trusty (and i might say much maligned) mr. cleaner eraser. while many have had bad luck with this i have had nothing but success in remove unwanted (non-staining) color on the fabriano artistico paper i use. enough seizing remains to paint a crisp edge once the paper has thoroughly dried.

next steps: timber coulee fishing
the first thing i did was put a touch of fall color in the bottom of the distant hillside with quinacridone gold, alizarin crimson, and cadmium orange with a 3/4" flat brush. next i strengthened the far bank of the stream/pond with an application of hooker's green and burnt sienna using the same brush. i put the narrow reflection in right after that leaving a bit of white paper separating the two at some points.i painted the reflection in the center of the pond/stream with the same colors as the structures reflected. when this had just about dried i lifted a few lighter ripples with a thirsty flat brush that was rinsed and dried between "slurps". i put some minimal detailing on the buildings with burnt sienna and cobalt blue with the same flat brush. i may ahve over done this, but i will leave it for now and see what i think when more of the painting is finished. that is all i will do today. i'm pretty sure that the reflection to the right of the figure are going to be wrong so i will probably erase those as well and start anew tomorrow.

life drawing/painting sessions:week #5

20-minute pose
well, one would think that these would be getting better with time, but i am not so sure. the one thing that i will say is that i am managing the time better. this may be because i am having less trouble with the drawing part so there are fewer corrections. this allows more time to apply the paint. i still think that i am over defining the figures during the painting phase and will have to work on that. this is the first time that we have had a male model and he was really superb in striking a good pose and holding it. it didn't seem to me that he moved a muscle for the whole pose. the major goal i had in attending these was not necessarily to paint better but to become more comfortable with my drawing skills and i definitely think that has happened. so here are the offerings for this week (i didn't have time to finish the last one for some unknown reason):

30-minute pose

40-minute pose (not finished in allotted time????)

next week i have a schedule conflict so i will just attend the thursday, longer-pose session.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

timber coulee fishing: next project

i am pretty sure that i am going to be going back to some landscapes (or figure in landscape) for a while as the weather is just incredible around here right now and the color is amazing with the leaves being just past their peak. additionally the marshes around the mississippi and their surrounding bluffs are majestic with reflections and soaring heights, respectively. i was out on the marsh late morning today and wished that i had brought some painting materials as i certainly would have started my plein aire career right on the spot!

this first painting is based on a photo that it took out in timber coulee trout fishing a couple of years ago and have been wanting to try my hand at painting ever since. it appears today is the day. here is the photo. it is very blurry as it was actual film that i tried to digitize by taking a digital photo of the projected image off a projection screen. needless to say that is less than ideal. but you get the idea of the scene, none the less.

i started by finding a photo of a fly fisherman and drawing in the figure at the size i estimated to be about right at one of the "sweet points" of the rectangle. the paper was fabriano artistico rough, 140#, 14"X22". then i lightly drew in the rest of the major structures and moved the barn and house around for balance. in these types of figure in landscape paintings i always start with the figure as i think if i am going to screw something up it probably will be there. the second thing i paint is the sky....same reason. if i get through these two exercises to my satisfaction i go on with the darks. after the first two stages and taking the reflections in the stream/pond a bit earlier than probably advisable, i nearly tossed this in the recycle bin. after resting on it over night i added the dark mid-ground trees and buildings and felt it probably could be salvaged.

so, i did the sky with cobalt blue and raw sienna with a 1" flat. the figure with a # 8 round with pretty much the same colors only more densely applied. tried to get a few tie-ins right away with the surroundings by blending the shadow side of his hat with the background and his feet with the reflection/shadow on the water. the band of mid-ground darks was painted with a 3/4" flat starting at the left side and working right. mixing up the colors, shapes, etc to keep it interesting. at time with these flat brushes i will put a dab of one color on one corner and a dab of another color on the other corner and after working the paint into the brush a bit on the palette go ahead and apply it to the paper while twisting the brush  and pushing a round to get a random kind of mixing on the paper. after this had dried i darkened the tops of the hillside with the darker version of the cobalt and burnt sienna i used before and using the same trick i described in the previous sentence. all scraping was done just as the sheen came off the paper and with a small palette knife. here is where things were when i stopped for the afternoon.

the next life drawing/painting session is tonight and i will post the results tomorrow.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"awaiting her muse": next painting

i haven't been very good lately in giving a step-by-step accounting of the process i am going through. i have been so engrossed in the process that i forget to chronicle it. i do think, however, that it is getting a bit redundant as i tend to do the things in more or less the same order and way. the only difference being the emphasis and design which is usually pretty obvious. be that as it may, i will try to be better about this as i have received some comments that there are those who like and look forward to that aspect of this blog.

"awaiting her muse"
for this next project i decided to do a portrait-type of painting of our granddaughter sophie from a photo taken by her mother heidi a couple of years ago while on a train trip that was taking sophie away from things she may have rather been doing. i only have the finished product and not the steps. i will say that there are aspects of this that i like, but there are those that i don't as well. the placement of her head is too far to the left and the painting could have been strengthened by moving it a bit more to the right giving it a bit more space to the left of the figure. the head and features are pretty well drawn and painted. while there is a bit of a bloom on her cheek it really doesn't bother me. i might be able to get rid of it with a moist q-tip, but i figure "why bother?" as usual i overdid it with "all the scaping and the hair and things of that manner!" to use an arnold s. quip. i will either have to just stop doing it or stop commenting on it. i am sort of fond of the loose watery background with its splotches of carmine and cerulean. it is done on 140# fabriano uno cold press paper. i am not really sure where it got all these odd brands of paper but there you have it, none the less. it has a bit less tooth than the artistico and a bit less surface seizing. altogether it worked pretty well and i didn't have the problems i experienced with the hot press.

on to something else tomorrow. enjoy the weekend.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

"victor is a vet": finishing up

victor is a vet (18"X14.5")
to finish up this painting i further explained the structures at the bottom of the painting with light washes and splotches of color. when i had enough of this to define but not overdo, i moved on to the left folding chair. the colors i chose were cerulean blue, turquoise blue, and carmine. the left most dark window in the background was finished off with the same colors i did for the right one and the casing the same. i used a large round brush, i think a #12, to do most of this. some of the smaller slivers of color were painted using a #8 round. here is the end result:

in looking at this now, i think that i accomplished what i set out to do, namely, keep the lower portion a higher value and less defined. i am less happy with the face but with this hot press paper i am afraid to fool around with it too much so i think i will have to leave well enough alone. furthermore, it seems to me at least that it conveys what i wanted which is that there is a feeling of isolation (and a little despair?) in the figure. i will leave you the viewer to be the ultimate judge. and, no, i don't know what this fellow's name really is and i seriously doubt it is victor. having already decided he was a veteran, the alliteration seemed just to clever to avoid.

honor received

hey, that's jim's duck! (16"X20")
i was pleased last week and more than a little surprised to learn the my painting, "hey, that's jim's duck!", won painting of the month on the site "brush with water." this is a site with a goodly number of very accomplished artists who work, if not exclusively, for the most part, in watercolor. so you can see that to be honored among such a group is quite astounding to me. it is more so as this is the first time that a painting of mine has been singled out for anything. so, my thanks again to all on "brush with water" and i will re-duplicate my efforts to be worthy of such designation. here is the painting for those that don't remember it:

tatanka iyotanka (16"X20")
additionally, i donated the painting of a young sitting bull entitled "tatanka iyotanka" to the global partners an organization within gundersen lutheran sponsoring medical care to underserved peoples. i was pleased to find out that it sold during their silent auction for $325. so, i guess technically i sold my first painting as well in the last few weeks.

i am done with all this self-aggrandizement.........for now! it is like so in my character as those who know me understand.

Friday, October 7, 2011

"victor is a vet": continuing progress

this week i also got a little further on the figure painting that i started last week. i worked on his clothing from the inside out, putting the shadow on his t-shirt with cerulean blue, raw sienna, and a bit of carmine applied with a #8 round that pointed well. his flannel shirt was painted with almost a dry(ish) brush technique putting stripes of cerulean vertically and raw sienna horizontally using the side of a #6 round. as i painted his hoodie, mainly with its shadows after a very pale wash of cobalt blue i quickly followed along with the background to work on both found and lost edges. the lost being mainly at the areas where fold shadows abutted the edges. i put in the rest of the background window around his head and started the right-most window with the same colors which if memory serves were ivory black, mineral violet, brown madder, quinacridone gold, and ultramarine blue.

i then started sketching in some of the shapes in the bottom half of the painting. i am moving pretty slowly here as i just want enough so that the objects are described somewhat but not overly defined. i also want the lower part of the painting to be higher in key (lighter in value) than the top.

that is all the time i had for the day. i hope to get a bit more done (or even finished) this weekend. until then, be well and enjoy the beautiful fall weather and colors. this is the time of year i wish i was more of a landscape painter and comfortable getting out en plein aire! but alas, i am not......yet.

life drawing/painting sessions: week #4

20-minute pose

this week's session was 3 hours long which i found at about the 2 hour and 15 minutes was too long for me. the sad part was that the more challenging poses that night were at the end so i wasn't nearly as sharp (relative term!) as earlier and didn't really do the figure the justice that it deserved.  be that as it may, here are the offerings this week. i do most of them the same way. i start with a line drawing that is more or less contour but with some gesture lines thrown in to get the general direction and angles of the limbs, etc. this usually takes me about 10-20 minutes depending on the pose and leaves me roughly half of the time allotted for the painting part. i learned my lesson last week not to try to do an initial wash over the whole figure as it doesn't have time to dry, so i have abandoned that strategy. i then do the face...which may have too much detail than is necessary, but i like the practice doing them. after finishing the face i put in the major shadows on the figure and try to do some cast shadows at the same time to get some tie-ins. this is usually with some sort of blue to get the warm-cool interplay. i am starting to understand some of the basic proportions and how they relate to each other so that i can anticipate the way a line should go and then with some quick observation corroborate positon and length, say, of a limb. i will share these once i am a little more sure of them.

30-minute pose

40-minute pose

there is an extra session tomorrow that will be one pose for roughly 2-3 hours. my understanding is that it is usually a draped session but we will see.
45-minute pose