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.

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