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.

No comments:

Post a Comment