Sunday, March 25, 2012

heading home to la crosse

we have packed up our stuff in  borrego springs and are heading in a generally northeasterly direction. currently in prescott, arizona, to check out the art scene and see about golfing, weather,etc.. very picturesque place with the mountains almost surrounding prescott and the high desert on one side. there is a small artist community jerome near here that we are going to visit after our round today.  tomorrow we are starting the longer more boring part of the rip as we trudge across into new mexico, the texas panhandle, oklahoma, kansas, and then north to la crosse. so no painting until we get home and settled.

Monday, March 19, 2012

chiricahua scout: continuing

continuing on with this current painting i picked up my #10 round kolinski sable brush and mixed up a puddle of fairly neutral gray using cerulean blue, yellow ocher, and carmine. my new strategy with the horse was going to be to put in the shadows and modelling first before i did any other color characteristics. working from front to rear i put in swatches of color where the shadows were on the reference material and then charged in one of the pigments that comprised the original mix just for variation. this at times yielded the cool blue you see or the warmer yellow or red tints. the strip of ground that gave the tie-in with the horse's head/snout bothered me as it seemed to be at odds with the stronger strip of distant hills. so, i lifted that out using a synthetic 3/4" flat brush and tissue blotting. since this was actually comprised of predominantly quinacridone gold rather than the burnt sienna as erroneously reported in the last posting, it stained somewhat. it will be able to be covered at least once i decide what i want to do with the background. some of the horses legs are rather dark black so i added them in using the same brush and a combination of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. i may have added in a bit of ivory black from time to time.

at this point i decided to stop painting for this session and take stock of where we were. i like the painting part at this stage but i am regretting that the horses legs/hooves are missing off the bottom edge. i am happy that i avoided trying to cram them in and maintained the overall scale of reference, but still..... i don't think this is fatal flaw (as the aforementioned "cramming" definitely would have been) but something to file away for future paintings of this type. better overall planning early in the drawing phase would correct this.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

chiricahua scout: next painting.

in keeping with the western theme and things equestrian, i decided to use a copy of an old photo from the late 19th century of a lone apache scout for the cavalry on his bay as the inspiration for this project. i started out by my usual modified contour drawing of the subject on his mount and then roughly sketched in some background landscape shapes along with a butte at the far horizon on the right  on a 16"X20" piece of 140# cold press fabriano artistico paper.

with the painting i started out on the face and head of the rider using a #4 round and the flesh colors of cadmium red light, yellow ochre, and cerulean blue. i tried to preserve the white highlights and for the most part succeeded. i usually also try to vary the colors of this shadow shape as i move along without paying much attention to the order of use but more to maintaining the correct value. a bit of negative shape using pure cerulean blue defines the hat shape and gives a bit of a tie-in along the hat band so it doesn't seem too isolated.

turning to his muffler and coat, this dark shape was painted using a #8 round kolinski and ultramarine blue grayed with burnt sienna and a little ivory black. after working the color out a bit on the palette, i mostly mixed these on the paper. i created a release into the background along his *right* shoulder using burnt sienna. in turning to the horse, i started at the nose using the same brush. i experimented with a variety of warm, cool, and neutral grays made up by varying the amounts of cerulean blue, yellow ochre, and carmine. i am not sure i have found just the best way to do this or the best colors yet. some more thought is in order before i proceed. some of the splotches of color are burnt sienna which now that i see it dried is a little too....sweet?...raw? something. the tie-in you see on the right side with the background was accomplished by pulling some of the burnt sienna out from the top of the horse's nose.

that's all for today. off to environs  north to pick up our daughter and her friend from the airport in ontario, ca, for a 5-day respite from the cold and rain of the pacific northwest. unfortunately she is bringing some of her wretched weather with her for a day or two. oh, well.

"mustang sentinel": finishing up

i must apologize for the lengthy hiatus. we lost our cable tv and internet connection in a big windstorm about ten days ago and just now have managed to get connectivity restored. that being said there really isn't mush left to do on this painting. working almost exclusively with a #12 round sable i further defined the shrubbery behind the fence with the same paint colors as before. the ;larger bush on the far right helped balance out the composition. i used mainly hooker's green dulled with burnt sienna and waited patiently for the shine to disappear before scraping in the texture of the branches, etc. with a small palette knife. i sort of spattered, slung, scumbled, and at times actually brushed in the texture you see as you work forward into the extreme foreground. all the same colors with the addition of some ultramarine blue and quinacridone gold. as one moves forward the colors should get darker in value, the colors a bit more saturated, and the shapes larger. i think the only thing i could accomplish by continuing would be to make it look fussy and over worked so i will declare it finished at this point.

just in time for my brother in law's 69th birthday. so it is off to his house to prepare his (and his spouse's) repast of pan roasted asparagus, grilled salmon, and rice pilaf and to present him with his birthday painting "mustang sentinel." bon appetit.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

continuing with "mustang sentinel" and good news

before i get into the current painting let start with the "good news" segment. i received notification about a week ago that i had been juried into a solo exhibition at la crosse's pumphouse regional art center.  the show will run from just after the first of the year (2013) until the end of february and will feature my portraits, figure and figure in landscape paintings. i am quite thrilled with this as there were a lot of really good artists who applied and to be chosen from this large and august group is a huge honor.

next steps on "mustang sentinel"
now on with our mustang. i corrected some small anatomical things that were bothering me on the horse by lifting, blotting, and repainting. i suspect that one would have trouble seeing the changes which only serves to accentuate that i was fussing and not really doing anything substantive for the painting. at least, i feel better! i worked some on the background and mid ground. using a #12 round kolinski brush i painted in some midground sage brush with earth colors and brown madder darkened and dulled with a bit of cobalt blue. the dark green bushes just to the right of and behind the mustang are painted with a combination of hooker's green, quinacridone gold, and burnt sienna. i scraped some texture into them with the palette knife. these were also used as a negative shape to define the yellow orange shrubs along the fence line which came off a little more insipid than i had intended so i darkened them with brown madder, quinacridone gold, and burnt umber. the fence posts were painted with cobalt blue and burnt sienna allowed to mix on the paper after applying with a #6 round sable. again, the texture was scraped in with the palette knife after a few minutes to allow the sheen to disappear from the wash. lastly for today i decided to push the mustang back into the scene a little by painting the dark green bush on the left in front of her rear quarters.this was done with the #12 round and the same colors as the other green flora. there really isn't much more needed at this point save a corresponding dark bush on the right side and maybe some scraggly remains of some barbed wire. since i have run out of time today i will have to finish this tomorrow. that being the case i will think about what is next in terms of projects, but i think it will be either a figure- or portrait-type painting.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

mustang sentinel: next few steps

actual has more contrast
i started the day's painting by evaluating the horse's anatomy and scrubbed out some more width to her upper right leg. the neck still needs fixing but i will wait and reclaim some of it with a background dark negative shape.  the next thing was to paint a series of washes representing, from farthest to nearest, the sky, distant mountains, nearer mountains, distant low hills, and the nearer but still distant tree line. all of these were painted with a #16 round squirrel quill brush. cobalt blue with just a touch of yellow ocher to dull it with a graded wash from top to the horizon. cobalt blue and brown madder for the distant mountains and the same but darker value wash for the overlying nearer mountains. still with sort of a graded wash. distant hills were mainly brown madder with cobalt blue and i lost some of the top and bottom edges in places by touching a damp brush just to the edge allowing it to release. the overlying tree line was hooker's green with quinacridone gold again with losing some edges as before. a yellow ochre and brown madder wash darkened with cobalt blue as it worked forward was put in just below the distant structures mentioned above. next i started working on the fence posts using burnt sienna with vaying amounts of cobalt blue using a #6 round sable and scraping some texture in when the sheen had just come off the paint. note the cast shadow painted at the same time to make sure it connected. a few of the most forward bushes were mainly quinacridone gold and brown madder. that's it for today. be well.