Monday, July 9, 2012

new painting: "scouting the badlands"

first washes
for this next project i have chosen a photo of the badlands i took while going out to pine ridge reservation of the oglala sioux and an archival photo of a pony-riding scout (from which tribe i am not sure) as inspiration. i combined the two into one drawing on a piece of 15"X22", 140# fabriano artistico rough paper. i started right in on the painting part before i got a shot of the drawing only but i think you get the idea from the first photo after a few initial washes.

second steps
i started the painting on the background forms of the background weathered badlands rock formations. this is a counter to what i usually do which is start with mid- to dark values. in this case i wasn't sure how to paint the badlands so i wanted to see if i could get them right before spending any time on the rest of the painting. i used a gray mixture of cerulean blue, raw sienna, and carmine and painting with a #6 round sable i tried some horizontal stripes of various sizes and hues to emulate the sedimentary rock of which the rock structures are formed. this wasn't quite doing it so i then tried just painting a high value mixed gray wash over the entirety of the structures with the same brush and then lifted off horizontal stripes of varying sizes with a thirsty 3/4" synthetic flat brush. this latter seemed to produce a better result. i then went back to the original hills and did some more lifting. aside from the fact that the value is a bit too dark overall i am satisfied with this lifting technique. i painted in the greenish gassy areas in front of the badlands with hooker's green, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, and quinacridone gold to "settle" the hills into the distant landscape.

third step
having solved that potential sticking point, i turned to the pony riding warrior/scout and his mount. his face was likely to give me the most trouble so i started there. the colors were cobalt blue, cadmium red light, and raw umber. i used a #4 round brush. and put some daubs of color in the darkest areas and worked them together just as they started to dry. i finished out the head with the hair which was mainly ivory black and lost some of the back of his head into the back ground with a damp brush pulled in the wash. i painted his upper chest with pure burnt sienna with just a touch of cobalt blue in darker areas. the pony was painted in burnt umber, burnt sienna, and cobalt blue using a #10 round brush. the biggest test here was to avoid the white splotches on the appaloosa pony.
fourth step

the sky was painted with the #10 round and cerulean blue over most of the area and with a touch of raw umber for the grayed areas where the clouds were looking just a bit ominous in the far northwest. i generally lay a pretty wet patch down near the top of a white section of cloud with cerulean and blend that in moving upward with the gray of a cloud bottom tapered into the puffy whiteness of the cumulus. then i spritz water at the lower edge of the cerulean allowing rivulets of paint to run down the paper more or less haphazardly and then blot lightly where i think it is getting entirely away from me. i then move to the next higher bank of clouds and repeat the process but on a little larger scale as it is supposedly moving toward me and therefore would look larger. so far so good. i'm sure i'll figure out some major gaff before it is all said and done but for now.........ok.

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