Wednesday, December 28, 2011

continuing saga of "pine ridge jim" painting

"pine ridge jim" continuing steps
this morning for about 30 minutes i got back to the portrait of jim from pine ridge that i started in november before we headed out to portland for the holidays. after working up until i  needed to stop to take our granddaughter sophie to rock climbing class i finished the other eye and put in the large shadow shape on the *right* side of his face. notice please that it was carried down to his neck and more or less the collar line without a break at the jawline....this is important. the colors were cobalt or ultramarine blue depending on the value that i was looking for (cobalt lighter and ultra darker) mixed pretty much right on the paper with burnt sienna. i used a #8 round brush for the eye and a #10 round for the larger wash. looking at the dried result shows that i didn't anticipate as much lightening as it dried as i should have. i may have to re-state a portion of some of the darker areas but i will wait until more of the painting is finished to make the final assessment. i lost the *right* side of his head and hair into a stylized image of the ridges around the reservation as they are topped with dark pine trees (hence pine ridge). for this i also added some hooker's green to the mix of colors i have already used.  and that shape was encouraged to flow down the paper with some spritzes of water and some light brushing. i also added some cerulean blue wet-in-wet in places that are probably fairly obvious. i gently blotted the bottom edge where i wanted a softening rather than a harder edge. that's all for now. more either later today or tomorrow.

Monday, December 26, 2011

finally! " like a girl"......comes to a close

the day after christmas and i finally have had the time to get back to the painting started now probably a month ago of my wife fishing on the madison river in just north of yellowstone. as it turned out i only worked for about 25 minutes and i felt that the painting was finished. here is the result. looking back at the previous post one can see that i added the trees on the right of the picture using a 1" flat brush and the same colors as i have been using for the foliage in the rest of the painting. i finished the reflections in the water using the same brush and colors being careful to keep the strokes horizontal and the edges fairly crisp. the shadow (near) side of the foreground rocks were painted using cobalt blue and burnt sienna mixed ever so slightly on the palette but mostly on the paper after applying with a #8 round brush. the reflections in the water on the near side of the rocks were painted in right away using a darker (for the most part) version of the same pigments. lastly, i spattered the foreground with a dark value of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna using both a large and a small brush to get varied sizes of droplets. i did have to blot some errant ones off of the lighter areas. the water was treated to a graded cobalt blue wash applied lightly to the high value areas of the stream surface trying to get it lighter as i moved forward.

 i adjusted a few values here and there after viewing the painting at the stage of the first photo yielding the final result shown below. on to the next project tomorrow which i hope will be the rest of jim from pineridge.

"yes, she does fish like a girl (and that's a good thing)" 15"X22"

Monday, December 19, 2011

yes, she does fish like a girl (atagt): following stages

today i had about 30 minutes to paint and decided to start adding the trees and foliage to the right side of the painting. since all of this will be ahead of the distant trees i wanted it greener and darker in value. all of this was painted with a 3/4" flat or #8 round brush. it is always a challenge to come up with a variety of believable greens for landscapes and this was no exception. the standard sort of pine/fir green was ultramarine blue and quinacridone gold. a similar combination was hooker's green and burnt sienna. the somewhat more olive drab green in the center tree was ivory black and cadmium yellow medium as is the dark foliage in front of it that is in shadow near the ground. i put a shadow on the underside of the log and the nearside of the upright branches and the cast shadows of the branches all in one wash that i think was cobalt blue and burnt sienna. i strengthened the values on some of the foreground rocks with the same colors. that's about all i have time for at this sitting. i may get back to it later today. here is where we stand at the present:

yes, she does fish like a girl (and that's a good thing), 15"X22"

Monday, December 12, 2011

yes, she does fish like a girl!: continuing

to start things out today i lifted some of the darker pigment from the far grassy area and over painted with a brighter blend of cerulean blue and cadmium yellow pale. this was the same group of colors that i painted the large mid distance shrub on the right side. all this with a #12 round sable brush. the near bank on the right : ditto. the reflections in the water were painted with a 1" flat sable using ultramarine blue, quinacridone gold, burnt sienna, and hooker's green. i left white areas of reflection from the sky being careful to keep these horizontal. i also painted around the rod and its attached line. i scratched in a few blades of grass and vegetation when the wash was just starting to lose its sheen. that's about all i have time for today as our grand kids are coming over for us to watch while their parents go off for a much needed over night break down the coast a bit to return tomorrow. more then. i will spend the time during the 3 year old's nap sending out my 2012 calendars to friends and relatives for christmas presents rather than painting as time is running short.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

yes, she does fish like a girl! (and that's a good thing): next steps

i tried tackling the large wash in the upper left above the far bank that represents dark fir trees yesterday.  i realized, having slept on the debacle, that the wash was really poorly done. it was too light, uninteresting texture-wise, and had wildly inaccurate outlines. in my defense i was somewhat distracted while doing it as there was pandemonium going on around me with the kids and grand kids. the truth is that i never should have even started under such conditions. the real question now was whether i could salvage it or not.

the predominant change was in value. i don't like to go over large areas of previous washes with darker values if i can avoid it, but i really couldn't avoid it here. the colors were ultramarine blue, quinacridone gold, hooker's green, and burnt sienna. i tried to vaguely emulate the shape of the individual trees in the wash application using a 1" flat sable brush. as i often do with this brush i put one color on a corner and then another on the other corner and then applied to the paper allowing the pigment to mix in situ. i was more careful in getting a believable edge along the clearing that more accurately read "fir trees." i created a few trunks along the bottom by negative painting and then scratched in some branches, trunks, texture with my small palette knife. just to finish this off i sprayed the whole thing with medium to small droplets of water from a small spray bottle.

all in all i am satisfied, if not thrilled, with the overall work. it is dark enough now and reads "trees" better than before. the texture is also more interesting. i am getting some visitors now so i will show that i learned my lesson two days ago and i shall knock off work for now to return on the morrow.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

yes, she does fish like a girl!: landscape with figure

joan fishing in the madison river, montana
for this next painting i am going to do a landscape with a figure of a woman fly fishing in a montana stream. i took this picture of my spouse while trying to get her out of the stream for the evening on one of our trips out near yellowstone country. she is an ardent fisher(wo)man when she has the chance. i think this is the madison river near bozeman, but it might be the gallatin. what drew me to this was the rich dark reflections in the water. all the green will be challenge as that particular color is the bane of many watercolorists. here is the photo:

first washes and drawing
to start out i drew the figure on a half-sheet (15"X22") of 140# fabriano artistico rough paper using my trusty mechanical pencil (0.7 mm, hb lead) followed by a rough-in of the rest of the elements of the landscape. to start the painting process on one of these type of paintings i usually begin in the figure. i used a #8 round kolinsky sable brush for all of these first steps. the shadows on her vest and t-shirt were cerulean blue and raw sienna. i painted the waders with a combination of raw umber and olive green. and the minimal areas where there is flesh i used my usual combination of cadmium red light and cadmium yellow pale. at this juncture i put in some of the dark reflections in the water adjacent to the figure. i did this for two reasons. the first was because it is easiest for me to get the figure to "sit" in the landscape and not appear like a cut and pasted afterthought if i get some tie-ins with the surroundings. this is easiest to effect when the paint is at least still damp if not wet. the second is that i wanted to establish the darkest of darks that i will use in the painting to act as a gauge against which to judge the rest of the values, which should be no darker. the colors used here were ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow medium, raw sienna, and hooker's green. there may have been a bit of burnt sienna here which i frequently use to tone down the tube greens and darken them. it is really a sparkly day and the rough texture of the paper lends itself to portraying this by using an almost dry brush technique with the dark paint. this really means, in this instance, to drag the brush along sideways leaving the "valleys" of the tooth white. i established the most distant extent of the stream as it rounded a bend  with a grayish wash of cobalt blue and burnt sienna and then added a bit of green undercut bank just to the right of it. i also experimented a little with painting the rocks in the foreground. the tops were defined by the dark reflections in the water. the shadows were painted in cadmium orange and cobalt blue. the shadow/reflection on the near side of the rocks is just a reiteration of the other reflections.

the last 20 minutes or so were spent correcting the figure and adding some distant shore and the far distant trees. the grassy area beyond the figure is a combination of quinacridone gold and cobalt blue. for these steps i switched to a #10 round brush. the undercut bank was ultramarine blue and burnt umber. i put in its reflection right away just under the bank. while i wouldn't ordinarily do this i was curious to see how i might get the tree trunks and deep woods shadows above the bank so i monkeyed around some over on the left side of the painting. this was the same colors as the cut bank. it looks to me like this will work with some appropriate overwashes of the tree trunks. i am going to do the large darker green wash of the trees first however, which would be considered more "proper." the far distant firs were mainly cerulean blue, cadmium yellow pale, raw sienna, and perhaps some touches of the cut bank colors. i made these pale and further lightened and loosened them up with spritzes of water and light blotting. this will undoubtedly make them recede when i put in the darker more well defined nearer trees. i forgot to mention that i also painted the sky with a graded wash of cobalt blue grayed with a touch of raw sienna in the areas where it would show through the trees. at this point i let the painting dry, rest overnight, and ready to have a go at the large dark washes tomorrow.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

keeley and her roadie: finishing steps

i think this painting is suffering from my lack of painting for the last three weeks or so. at the final stages of this i found myself dabbing here and daubing there, not really adding much of any import but certainly running the very real risk of messing it up. also, i got a bit sloppy in the background and i should have planned it out a little better. i usually don't do a lot of planning of a formal nature as i like to experiment and have each painting be a  bit of adventure, but this, i fear, is a bit too adventuresome. i don't think it is a fatal flaw and will leave it as is. i will, however,  file the thought away for future use. so here are the final two steps in this painting each representing about 20-25 minutes work.
keeley and her roadie (16"X20")

Thursday, December 1, 2011

finally, something from oregon

i actually had the studio set up a few days ago, but i got busy right away with a christmas present for my sister pat. i hope she doesn't follow this blog as then the cat will be out of the bag. i'm pretty sure she doesn't. follow along. she has a beloved older springer named keeley(sp?). keeley is epileptic so they rarely leave her alone for any length of time. i had a photo of her (keeley) and pat so i decided to paint a portrait of the two of them. i intentionally made killy larger than in the photo and pulled pat into the background a bit. i won't go over every detail of how things progressed but i will post each step as i finished it and make some comments as deemed appropriate.

i started with a piece of 16"X20" 140# cold press paper (fabriano artistico) and drew the sujects with a modified contour drawing.

i followed the same sequence i usually do with faces:
 nose, right eye, left eye, hair lateral to the eyes, cheeks,
mouth. the same colors were used in almost every instance (cadmium red light, cadmium yellow pale, and cerulean blue.) the only exceptions were the hair area which were burnt umber and ultramarine blue.

i painted killy with varying colors from pure burnt umber, pure burnt sienna, and pure ultramarine blue to mixtures of any two of them combined slightly on the palette but mostly on the paper.

i used a #10 round brush throughout this painting.

i'm not sure what i am going to do with the background at this point. you an see that i have started to experiment just to the right of killy's head with a light, loose wash of cobalt blue and a little burnt sienna. i think this sort of thing might work with a shape that descends from right to left ending just below pat's *left* ear and ending on the right side of the painting somewhere between her chin and shoulder, but in a light value. this would be more or less the opposite of the head orientation. we'll see.

more tomorrow.