Thursday, April 25, 2013

"the betrothal of miss victoria": continuing on with modeling and background

first 30-minutes of work
i sort of am trying to keep everything moving forward. in the first 30 minutes or so i refined the woman's features and hair a little with the same triad as last time and using the #16 cosmotop round brush. her beau was looking a bit anemic so i started working mainly on carving out his facial structure using a slightly darker value of the same triad. when this had dried almost completely i put in his *right* eye....yep, same triad except iris was mainly burnt sienna and cobalt blue, and pupil a dark value of ultramarine blue and burnt umber to make a black. i lost the lower outside edge of the pupil as the final stroke on the eye using a clean, damp, thirsty brush. the trickiest part of the eyes is leaving the highlight alone.

last and second 30 minutes

during the final 1/2 hour or so i decided to get rid of the bulk of the rest of the white by applying a light value yellowish wash over the bulk of it. the combination used was raw sienna and cadmium yellow pale, mixed mostly on the paper. i used a #26 round brush for this application. i let this wash go over the lower *right* sides of the figures, hair, and clothing as that side is in shadow and i am ultimately going to try to lose much of that edge to help it recede. the last thing i did was add the shadow on her dress under and to the *right* of her chin. i put some raw sienna at the far *right* edge to represent reflected light and a blue gray wash to represent the reminder of the shadow as it moved to her *left*.

time for launch. more later.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

suka: the end is just the beginning

i think i have finished the painting of the young border collie suka and joan on the porch of our humble abode in borrego springs. last time i pondered whether the painting was getting too cool. so, i added a warm geometric shape at the top. it warmed it up! maybe a little too much. i also thought that the lone reddish/magenta triangle representing joan's t-shirt peeking out the bottom of her flannel shirt looked a little lonely. i added some other notes of the same color in front of suka and to the left of joan's head to balance things out. that really warmed things up even more. it may have been better not to have added the hint of the t-shirt in the first place, but "no guts, no glory" (no discretion, either, it seems). i'll stay with it even though it isn't expected, just because it .....well, isn't expected.

"what's shakin', suka": 21"X15"
i finished off joan's legs, feet, and sandals. to seat them down i added some hints of shadows beneath them and suka's paws. i also added some boards from the porch slanting out and to our left as they came forward. to help with the feeling of the boards moving out toward the observer, i darkened the wash(es) a little as they moved toward us. i am starting to get nit-picky so i had better stop, at least for a while. however, i think that this done.

in the best tradition of "commencement" i started the next painting yesterday as well. i have several of the old photos of folks in the victorian era from the antique store downtown. there recently has been some interest in the first painting that i did of these ("a proper young lady"; thanks, dan). this next one is a shot of a young couple either at their wedding or perhaps a photo commemorating their betrothal. i pretty unabashedly stole the composition from ted nuttall's play book by making the woman the star and placing her beau in a subordinate role and even leaving some of his face out of the frame. here is the inspiration photo:

i started, after deciding on the composition, by drawing the figures on a piece of drawing paper roughly the size of the painting. when i was satisfied with that i transferred it to a piece of fabriano artistico #300 hot press paper measuring 15"X22". to start the painting process i applied a loose wash of scarlet lake, cadmium yellow-orange (holbein), and cerulean blue over most of the faces and figures using a #26 round cosmotop f brush. when this was almost dry i applied a darker wash of various amounts of burnt umber, burnt sienna, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, and even a little hooker's green dark to the hair areas. all of this i deliberately let spill out of the boundaries of the figures and over to the edges of the paper. when all this was completely dry i started in painting her *right* eye using the same pigment as for the light wash but a little darker. i shook out the brush after rinsing and lost some of the edges here and there in a more or less random manner. the iris was painted with cobalt blue and burnt sienna being careful to avoid the highlight. as the bottom of the iris usually is lighter than the top which is in shade, i only painted the top half and pulled the pigment down to complete the bottom half with  clean damp brush. when tis was dry enough to allow only a little bit of "bleed" i put in the pupil around the highlight with a rich mix of ultramarine blue and burnt umber to make a black. i then lost the lower inner edge of the pupil with a damp brush just "kissing" the edge of the pupil and drawing it down and medially. all of this was done with a #16 cosmotop b round brush. the rest of the modeling of the nose and mouth and cheeks was performed using the same brush but with mixtures of scarlet lake and cadmium orange and, at  times, a touch of cerulean blue. i started separating the lower face and collar of her dress from the background with an application of raw sienna on either side of her neck. the shadows in the collar were painted with a neutral gray composed of cerulean blue, alizarin crimson, and raw sienna and then modified by charging in on of the colors afterwards for interest.
beginnings of "just  gal and her beau"

at this point i decided i needed a change. i turned on my amp, grabbed the telecaster and began shredding some wicked blues (as if). see you tomorrow.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

suka: keepin' on keepin' on

suka 2.0
just a little more effort on the painting of suka our young border collie out at the mustang reserve. i added some more of the background above and to the right of the figures, worked on the clothing of the woman, and modeled a bit of her face (what little shows) with a mixture of scarlet lake and raw sienna. this is turning out to be a rather cool painting. i may need to add a few warmer notes as it moves along....more than just the small areas of skin. so here are two photos of the progress: the first is about 45 minutes before the last.

suka 2.1

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

the not so bitter end and beginning of another masterpiece

"dazzled by the light" (14"X11")
i finished up what i am going to do on both of these paintings. on "the tao of dreadlock maintenance" i did a little work on defining her hands and fingers. on "dazzled by the light" i softened some of the edges. this latter is so subtle that i wonder why i bothered, except that, "hey they bothered me!" 'd be surprised if an observer could tell the difference if viewing before and after versions side-by-side. so, here they are:

"the tao of dreadlocks maintenance" (19"X15")

having noodled around with these way more than i should have, i went casting about for another project to start. at the mustang reserve where we recently left were 3 border collies who came across the yard to see us whenever we came out our door. one of them was quite young (about a year?) and full name it.  in the photo i chose for the model for this painting he was trying to convince joan that what she really wanted to do was play with him. he was quite the charmer with his one brown and one blue eye. i will have to do a portrait of him face on to show his two eyes.  his name is "suka" (pronounced shoon-kha, the lakhota word for dog). i haven't really painted a dog before so i am eagerly looking forward to the challenge.

beginnings of "what's happening, suka?
so i drew the figures on hot press paper (the back of a 300# piece the back of which contained a failed painting) and started in on suka. the darks were combinations of ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, burnt sienna and umber, and mineral violet all applied with a #16 round. i pulled some of this washes out to form some of the shadow modeling with a damp clean brush. i am still really trying to find my style with the backgrounds and nothing seems to be telling me "this is it". in the background is a screen door to our abode that forms a rectangle behind the figures. so, i thought i would try to put that in as an abstract shape, leave it alone, and let the figures "poke" out of the sides of it where ever. the colors were my basic trio for light value gray, cerulean blue, alizarin crimson, and raw sienna. i actually put down some blue painter's tape  along the left side and bottom of the initial hale to get a straight edge to contrast with the more organic shapes of the figures. this looked a little rigid so i just "kissed" the tip of a damp brush up against the edges of this shape to draw some pigment out and away to try to loosen it up  a little. so far i am pleased with this. lets see if i can leave it alone long enough to forget to monkey with it!
"what's happening, suka" at the end of the day
 here is where i am at the end of painting for the day and about 30 minutes before calling it a day.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

getting on with two paintings and nearing completion

"the tao of dreadlock maintenance" (19"X15")
i spent about 30 minutes yesterday looking at the painting of the girl in dreadlocks. i decided that aside from tweaking the background and adding a few darks to her clothing that i could little more for this. it is still on the cusp for me in terms of acceptability, but because i like the pose, i will keep it and perhaps (probably) redo the scene shortly in the studio and on hot press paper. on second thought i felt that the white vinyl chair on which she was sitting was too "white" so i toned it down with an over glaze of purplish gray. lastly, i think a little more modeling of the hand would help some. i will tackle this today and re-post tomorrow. here 'tis:

dthe portrait of sophie out in the sun si coming along. i felt that the second attempt without the initial wash was going to be more what i was looking for and abandoned the initial attempt at this time.
"dazzled by the light" (14"X11")

so, the background was way behind the figure. so, i painted some clear water over the top of the painting and let some of it run down the sheet. i then put out some cerulean blue, hooker's green dark, and burnt sienna on the palette. starting at the top left and with a #26 round cosmotop brush i laid in the colors next to each other in no particular order and let them mingle as they ran down the page. as they started to run out of momentum i encouraged the downward flow with gentle brush "touches" and spritzes of water from a small spray bottle. i was always on the ready to blot anything that seemed to be heading in the wrong direction as the whole wash ran down the painting.

switching to a #16 round i added a few glazes to the shadows on her face as some of them were too light in value. the last glaze mainly over a predominantly warm reddish hue was ultramarine blue which pushed back some of the shadow areas with out changing the value very much if at all. some areas of her hair needed darkening and that was accomplished with dashes of burnt sienna, burnt umber, mineral violet, raw sienna, and some alizarin crimson permanent put on the paper and allowed to mix on the paper. of course, for better or worse i couldn't keep myself from scraping out a few strands of lighter hair. lastly, i put in a few darker stragglers over her forehead and in some of the lighter areas in the background around her hair. i felt they needed some accompanying shadows so put them in with a narrow streak of the flesh colors in areas adjacent to the strands. this is getting close, if not actually finished. so, i am going to stop at this point and let it sit a few days. one thing that is bothering me a little is the hard edge to the background a shape above her head and i may soften that some.

Monday, April 15, 2013

carrying on with dreadlock girl and "dazzled by the light."

"the tao of dreadlock maintenance": nearing completion
i put a few more glazes on the piece that i think i am going to entitle, "the tao of dreadlock maintenance." they were mainly on the background but also on her kilt. before we left borrego springs i really didn't like where this piece was going, but now that i have worked on it in a "proper" studio out of the grit, wind, etc., it is starting to grow on me. i think that the main thing is that i like the pose. it won't be my best effort but i think it will be worth keeping. i also will say that i will probably attempt another in the neat future on hot press paper and see what the out come is.

"dazzled by the light 1.0" (14"X11")
"dazzled by the light 2.0" (15"X11")
there have been a lot of decisions and work on the little girl squinting out in the sun. i worked a bit more on this painting and it started looking a little "chalky" to me. some of what i am talking about isn't that obvious in the photo, but in real life it is a bit.......?dull? after quite a bit of thought i began wondering if somehow the initial wash and the subsequent "correction" i put in after some work to change the tint from pinkish to more orangish was partly to blame. so, i embarked on a bit of an experiment by starting another painting of the same subject . this time, however, i will just start in on the features and modeling and eschew the initial light wash. the colors that i used were the same for the modeling and features as i the last piece and i used the same #16 round brush. here are the two versions where i left off work on them yesterday. please feel free to comment regarding which you prefer, if either! just part of the process that i really like. someone once said ( i can't remember who was the original speaker, but ted nuttall was who relayed it to me) that the biggest detriment to producing good art was a slavish concern with the end product. i'm not sure if this quandary i am in right now is in accordance with this as i am more into the process, or against this tenet as i worry about what it will look like in the end. probably a bit of both.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

dreadlock girl still in limbo and start of a new effort.

after rose and raw sienna glazes and some of the clothing
when we got home i took out the partially finished painting, "the tao of dreadlock maintenance." i decided it wasn't as bad as i feared, but it was somewhat dirty from the flying dust and in places over worked due to the difficulty i had with the rapidly drying paint. i think i will try to bring out the figure by darkening the background with some glazes, paint her clothing,  and then see where we are. here are the steps as they stand after a glaze of rose, ultramarine blue and raw sienna. the clothing was combinations of cerulean blue,ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, mineral violet. i also scrubbed out some of the hard edges around her sunglasses and lifted out some lighter dreads from in front of her face.

after a glaze of ultramarine blue

i decided to start another painting and chose a photo. that i had of our granddaughter sophie as she wandered out into the bright sunshine after her afternoon nap. i liked the shadow pattern, the colors, the facial expression, and the memories.
 started by drawing the face on a sketch pad and then transferring it to a piece of 15"X11", 300#, hot press, arches paper. i did this as lately i had been getting a lot of smudges on the paper with direct drawing and hoped this would avoid did.

so knew that this was going to have to be high key in order to have the feeling that i wanted to convey.
before over all oranger glaze
i also know this would be a challenge for me. i put a light wash of scarlet lake, cadmium orange, cerulean blue over he face and figure along with her clothing.  when this dried i put in a light wash over the area that would be her hair using raw sienna. all this so far with my trusty #16 round cosmotop brush. when this was dry i started modeling her features with a darker version of the light wash colors. when i woke up this morning and looked at the result so far i decided that the color was too "pinkish." i put a light glaze over her face, neck, and arms that was scarlet lake and cadmium orange but more cadmium orange than i usually use. this came closer to the hue i was looking for in her skin that was not in shadow. it looked way too dark before drying but it lightened enough with drying to be about right. i don't think the difference shows up in the photos due to the different lighting between the two.
after oranger glaze

i then did some more features with a desaturated version of this same color using cerulean blue to "brown" it down. the background was painted in a variety of single color glazes, starting from the right, including prussian blue, alizarin crimson, cobalt blue, and mineral violet.

that's it for now.