Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"horse, lakota artist": intermediary and finishing steps

next steps
while looking at this painting and its status to date i realized that there wasn't too much more to do; perhaps an hour or so. since i had decided that this would be a flat wash background in large part very early on i knew that i couldn't avoid doing something about it very much longer. taking the "bull by the horns" i mixed up a small puddle of raw sienna/raw umber/yellow ocher ( not sure how much of each as i have them all in the same well on my palette) and taking my 1" flat sable brush i started in the upper left. i painted a flat wash using the usual technique of working across the paper leaving a bead of paint at the bottom and then picking it up on the next swipe. as i moved down the sheet i varied the ratio of the three colors and even added another yellow (quinacridone gold) down near and over onto the jacket. when this was done i had covered all the background and jacket with more of less the same color(s).  while that dried i worked on the tuft of hair in his pony tail at the back of his head using ultramarine blue and burnt umber. you are familiar with my ubiquitous scraping by now. the hat was next using ultramarine blue, brown madder, and mineral violet and a #10 round sable. by this time the background/jacket wash had dried and i put in the rest of the colors (ultramarine blue/burnt umber) and the cast show from the *left* collar with burnt umber/quinacridone gold and a touch of blue. the t-shirt was the same mixture and put down as a flat wash. i thought that the *left* cheek needed a bit more shadow so i strengthened and enlarged that with the same flesh colors as before. now that i see it here i think i was a bit exuberant, but will leave it as i think only a mess would result if i stated fooling with it.

"horse, lakota artist" 20"X16"
i defined the upper back with a negative shape of some dark value of neutral grayish color and blended it into his hair and collar. some texturing, folds, and collar seam on the t-shirt was next with just darker values of the same colors. likewise for the folds and shadows on his jacket but with the burnt umber/quinacridone gold/blue paint. he has rather severe acne scarring which i tried to represent by the spatters on his face and although i like them i don't know if they really do look like scars or freckles.a few more touches on the face that were really fussing to the max and were only serving to make it look more rigid rather than better so i forced myself to stop that nonsense. lastly, i thought that the composition needed something along the left edge so i painted a long rectangle (stripe) of the face colors from top to bottom . i wish i had softened some of the edges  but all in all i think it did what i wanted.

 i am beginning to like working on this hot press finish and the resultant wet, watery, raw look that  it produces. indeed it is harder to get blending, but unless someone has a technique special to this paper i think that is the nature of the beast. love it of leave it!  here is the finished version of a talented lakota artist thurman horse (website with some of his work). when i next journey to pine ridge i will take a print out for him.


  1. This is so great. I really like the sensitive handling of the paint on Horse's face and your comments make very good reading. Hazel

  2. Great job on my fathers portrait! He was surprised you painted him.

    1. Hello, Joseph. What a pleasant surprise to see your note this morning. While that portrait of you father's was painted a long time ago, I see it everyday as i have it hanging at the top of our stairs. I have tied to get in touch with your father a few times since we met, had a cup of coffee and talked about things in general at the clinic in Porcupine. I think i got his phone number once but couldn't get through to him. I mainly wanted to get his permission for the portrait and to hang it in my show back then. Now that you have contacted me, i would like to gift him the painting if he would like it. I gave a print of the paintings i did of Annabel and Jim, but didn't see your father on subsequent trips to Pineridge. I was with the Gundersen group doing some supplemental medical care in Porcupine at the time. Enough blathering. I am glad you left a note, Joseph. If you can send me you father's address or have him contact me so I can offer him the painting, i would appreciate it. My email is witte5730@aol.com. Be well. Cheers, Bob Witte

  3. Hi Bob. I'm sorry I've not responded to your reply sooner. I never received any notifications from gmail or Google+. But yeah, here's his phone number . . . (605) 407-0350

  4. Hi Bob. I'm sorry I've not responded to your reply sooner. I never received any notifications from gmail or Google+. But yeah, here's his phone number . . . (605) 407-0350

  5. Not a problem, Joseph. I may be lusted among the worst for electronic communication. Thanks for your Dad's phone number.mhope you are well. Cheers.