the truth is that i have been thinking about this painting for quite a while. the issue was that i knew i wanted it somewhat larger than i usually paint and that i wanted a somewhat different shape than customary. the point being that i thought it could make a nice center piece for my show at the pumphouse coming up in january (through february). the size thing was just a matter of getting up enough courage and confidence that i could carry it off. the larger brushes that i recently got (cosmotop round #16 and #26) will definitely help technique-wise. the compositional ideas i needed to bounce off someone with more experience and savvy than i. this was afforded at the recent ted nuttall workshop where he presented his ideas of cropping photos to make interesting compositional statements. after that lecture i fooled around with my image on photoshop and came up with what was to be the actual composition. ted agreed with that and so here we go.
these series of photos show from top to bottom the first and subsequent steps in the process i am using to paint this piece. i started out by drawing the figures and rough placement of the bench on a piece of 300# cold press arches paper that measured 18"X30". this is different than the hot press i have been using the last month or so. i wanted to see if the techniques i had been using recently would work on this surface.
i started the painting with a light value wash on the faces of the figures using scarlet lake, cadmium yellow-orange and cerulean blue for the flesh colors and my #16 round cosmotop brush. this light wash was also placed over the arms and hands. as this dried i did the same thing s for the hair using mainly the burnt earth colors with a touch of cobalt blue to darken it here and there. some of the features came next with cobalt blue for the irises of their blue eyes, but the rest of the colors remaining the same as well as the largish brush. of note, this would have been impossible if the brush did not point and was not stiff enough to hold its point well.
i know that the background will be a challenge for me both to get it dark enough and still have a transparency that makes watercolor so appealing. to this end i decided to make several layers of alternating cool and warm colors until i was getting to the general greenish tint and value that i wanted and then add some texture on the top of that to suggest the foliage that made up most most of the background. you can see this in subsequent serial photos along with the start of some work on the shadows and patterns on their clothing. the last thing i did at this stage was put down a initial wash of mainly burnt sienna on the bench. you will note a reddish blush on the woman's shirt and that is the remnants of a rusty red color i started putting on her shoulder and then thought better of it. i finally decided to stay true to the reference photo and make her shirt a dark blue-black stripe (as seen at the very top of her *right* shoulder.) i hope that the scrub-out with the "magic eraser will be enough. so far the paper surface and its sizing remains intact!.