Tuesday, January 31, 2012

first project from borrego springs: big paint

we arrived in borrego about 3 days ago and i have now got things unpacked. here is the first painting that i have started down here. i am not going to take he time to enumerate the steps this time around but will get back to that in the near future.

this horse i believe is named tanka...which in lakota means great. i am not sure if that is what the owner wanted or from which he derived the name but it seems to fit. he is a big paint and there is an equally big one i will probably paint next that is predominantly brown with a buff/speckled hind quarters. kind of the yin to this fellow's yang.

this is painted on 16"X20" fabriano artisitico cold press 140# paper. it seems a bit blue to me now but i will try to pick out areas to darken the values and tone the blue down. if i can't do that it will just have to be blue and i can try to paint another in a slightly different palette. i haven't painted in about 3-4 weeks and i think that it shows. hopefully i'll get my chops back quickly!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

down to the anza-borrego desert

well, we are packed up and heading down to southern california to the small town of borrego springs where we have spent some time over the last 4 winters. needless to say, i won't be doing much post-able in terms of painting while travelling. i may do a few sketches and will post those if they are interesting.

we will be staying on the mustang preserve of california so probably some horses once i get set up down there.
good place to do some landscape and western buildings, etc. this is one of the sites that the plein aire group uses for their timed competition each spring. so i will have no dirth of subject matter. i may do a floral based on this photo on the way down, experimenting with a pad of yupo that i got while in portland.

'til then, be well.

Monday, January 2, 2012

pineridge jim: finish

after taking stock this morning i realized that there really wasn't too much to do on this painting before i called it finished. i put in the rest of his hair and released the edge into the cerulean blue wash of the sky. for most of these steps  i used a #8 richeson squirrel round brush that i just acquired (the numbering of sizes is quite different from the kolinsky's that i have and this one despite its number is easily the largest round i own at about 5/8" in diameter at the ferrule.) it points very well and holds lots of water...so far i like using it. i extended the blue wash over to the right side of the top and softened the lower edge in places with spritzes of water and blotting. i felt that the *left* collar needed to curl in toward his neck more so i strengthened the color there and corrected the shadow under it so that it was larger and a bit darker. it seemed to me that the upper right top needed a bit more weight so i put in a bit of brooding sky with ultramarine blue and burnt sienna and gave the lower edge the spritz/blot treatment. i was pretty sure at this point that if i kept going i was more than capable or really having things go FUBAR, so stopped.

"pineridge jim"  (14"X20")
i like the fresh looseness of this painting and the likeness to jim which is probably the best portrait-type painting that i have done. until the next project, be well.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

pine ridge jim: continuing steps

i continued the painting today by finishing out the modelling on the lower part of his face. after putting in some of the hair on his *right* side i added some blue sky with pure cerulean blue above the clouds i decided to put in over the ridge. spritzing a blotting gave the varied bottom edge of the clouds. his mouth and teeth, i know are going to give me a problem so i want to think about them for a while longer. i knew that i wanted to get some more color into the painting so i made the collar of his fleece a combination of turquoise and cerulean blue. the top of his *right* shoulder was defined by a light gray wash in the background. since i couldn't put off the mouth forever i next turned to that, for me, most troublesome part of every portrait. for most of the mouth i used a #6 round brush and brown madder mixed
with cobalt blue and raw sienna. i put a dab in the center of the upper lip and at each corner. after washing a giving the brush a good shake i drew the color out over the rest of the lip and lost some edges at the corners. the bottom lip was done about the same way except no dab in the center as there is a highlight there. his teeth were just suggested with dabs of raw sienna and cobalt using more or less negative painting to bring out the irregular margins of his teeth. most people i have met on the reservation have problems with their teeth because of lack of fluoridation and decent dental care, so jim is not alone there. at this point i realized i had made a cardinal error in drawing his eyes and stylized them rather than recording what i actually saw. that slight gaff pretty much destroyed the likeness in my mind. i lifted the top center part of each upper lid and repainted some of the eye as necessary. much better likeness at this point. i finished putting some pigment on the collar and extended the ridge on the right side of the painting, spattering cerulean over the wash and softening the bottom edge with spritzes of water and blotting. i added his dark t-shirt collar and some modelling on the fleece adding the cast shadow of the collar wet-in-wet right after the turquoise was painted on. at this point i took stock of where i was. his lips are just a bit full and i need to add some stylized sky features. this will have to wait until tomorrow as we are off to get our grandson sollie his 4th birthday present for his party later today.