Sunday, November 24, 2013

wip: new painting....untitled

drawing on 300# hot press (22"X15")
i have just picked up two commissions that are intended to be christmas presents, so i will be busy with work that won't be posted here for want of spilling the beans, so to speak. i have also gotten about 2/3rds of the way through a current painting that will probably go either into slow motion or the backshelf until i finish the commissions. that being said i decided to post that which i have finished on the current painting as a series of steps that are about 30 minutes work time each. everything is done similarly to my usual and i have used a #16 round cosmotop brush for all. flesh tone either vermillion/aurelian/raw sienna or scarlet lake/brilliant orange/raw sienna or alizarin crimson permanent/quinacridone gold. the cool flesh color was cerulean blue. some of the light over- glazes in the shadows was occasionally either hooker's green, prussian blue, mineral violet, or ultramarine blue depending on my mood. these lent a spot of arbitrary color here and there, as well. so here are the steps thus far.

initial washes (blue is manganese)

haven't figured out what to do with that
nasty backrun across the second
figure's face (what a rookie)

maybe i won't have to do anything with it
(the blossom on the second figure's face)
the names are being with held to protect the innocent. title starting to emerge "swimming in the deep end" or "my friend...she is party girl". until later, be well.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"a lovin' spoonful sort of afternoon": the grand finale

"a lovin' spoonful sort of afternoon" (15"X22")
i really didn't do a lot more on this painting. i finished the folds and shadows on her shirt using a desaturated and darker value version of the shirt color. for this i made a loose mixture of scarlet lake, alizarin crimson permanent, and a touch of hooker's green on the palette and applied it with my #16 round davinci cosmotop brush. some work needed doing on her neck and upper chest which was just the same flesh colors that i had been using: vermillion and raw sienna. after about 2 days of looking at this painting on the wall of my studio, i decided it needed a little something at the top....not too startling but maybe unexpected. i felt it needed to be a color already used in the painting. so i chose red (scarlet lake). i rather like it even though it may have been unnecessary. the last thing i will say about the painting is that this is on cold press arches paper. it is strikingly different to paint on with the distinct tooth and the sizing almost seems to resist the paint at first application.  the result is......i don't know.....grainy........hmmmm, here's something new i am at a loss for words.

has anybody gotten the connection between the title and the painting??????

Friday, November 15, 2013

"a lovin' spoonful sort of afternoon" : next painting

initial washes and features
more face, neck, and hand
i got started on this one about a week ago. i liked the dreamy look on her face and the pose with her hand up by her head. it is a fairly large painting (15"X22") on 300# cold press arches paper. i haven't been too fond of painting on the cold press lately favoring the hot press surface. so, this will be interesting. here are the sequential steps in the process as of last evening. there are a couple of things that i noticed when painting this piece. the first is that i have to be careful of this kind of background to not go too dark too quickly. additionally i should add some arbitrary and varied colors first before settling on a dominant hue. the second is that i am continually amazed at the effect of a very thin glaze of ultramarine blue over the top of other colors. on warm colors it cools them down and makes them recede. that shouldn't be too surprising and isn't. but it also can brighten up an otherwise drab green or bluish gray, which is the case here at the top background. it seems to be able to do this without a huge value price. by this i mean it doesn't change the value much, if at all. not sure why but there you are!

decisions about shirt color and some background

hair modeling, chair and shirt wash

initial background washes (raw sienna/cobalt blue) too gray
i think-those are shadows from the window on the left

more hair and shirt, cooling facial shadows with
ultramarine blue

finishing her hand, begin wrinkles/folds on shirt,
brightening background on top with ultramarine wash

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

trying a landscape

its pretty obvious that i gravitate toward painting figures and portraits, but every once in a while i try something else. i sort of cut my teeth on the still life, but have only tried a handful of landscapes. i did one earlier this fall based on a photo i took of some weathered buildings outside ovando, montana. i was leafing through southwest art magazine after we got home from our trip and made the observation that most of the landscapes that i liked were oil (a few were acrylic). the infrequent exceptions were usually from such watercolor masters as dean mitchell. while out in the tetons in september we came upon a stretch of the snake river somewhere after the jackson lake dam and before the oxbow bend that was pretty still, given the low water, with brightly colored bushes along the far side and some rocks and debris sticking up through the surface. farther downstream closer to jackson were saw a moose chomping on vegetation in the river. this later area was not terribly picturesque. so i thought i might combine the two into a landscape with the moose chomping on stuff in the pretty part of the stream.

initial washes (the shape in upper left is a shadow
 from the sun shining in an adjacent window)
in the september 2013 issue of southwest magazine i came across a painting of a lake in autumn by david mayer that portrayed the stream almost exactly and it was painted in oil. i thought it might be a good exercise to try to emulate this in watercolor. so i combined my photos and thought a bit on how i might do this. since this is only an exercise and for educational purposes, this is for my (and your) edification only. here is a link to the actual painting "autumn at hessie lake" by david mayer (link) that served as a technique model.

background darks representing trees
 and modeling on the moose
more moose modeling and some refinement
of stream side bushes

the main difference between what i did here and my figure/people painting is that except for the figure of the moose (which was done in several thin layers of paint) much of this was done in one take trying to get both the color and value right with the first pass. this is more like what charles reid preaches. the brush i used was a #16 round cosmotop from da vinci. the colors for the greens were ultramarine blue/quinacridone gold, hooker's green/burnt sienna, raw sienna/manganese blue. the bushes were combinations of vermillion,  raw sienna, quinacridone gold, brilliant orange and carmine. the moose was cobalt blue and burnt sienna with the shadows having the addition of carmine and ultramarine blue. the biggest challenge for me was the reflections in the water. i had 5to think "upside down" and get the values about the same as the objects (or perhaps a little darker) and the colors a little less saturated. streaks of ripples were lifted out with a 1" synthetic flat that was damp and formed to a thin profile and painted in with a #2 round in darker colors. this was done on a piece of 300# arches cold press paper that measured 11"X15".

so here are the sequential photos of work completed in about 20-30 minute increments.

start of the reflections  (sky reflection a
graded wash at the bottom)

almost finished (just modeling of his *right*
antlers and toning down the bush reflections on the far right
remaining to do)

i think you can see how derivative this is of the original so this is just for learning. i do like the overall effect though and will try an original soon. we saw a lot of moose and have lots of photo shots of them and the teton area from which to draw inspiration. 

if you reference any of this blog please give credit to david mayer for his original oil painting that served as a model for this exercise.

Monday, November 4, 2013

"…mule man…." finish and start of "just a girl and her bowler"

"behold! the mule man cometh" (17"X15")
i've been getting ready for a holiday show at the studio gallery 1311 here in la crosse and have neglected the blog. i will try to catch things up here today. i finished the painting that i entitled "behold! the mule man cometh" and saw not that much difference between the finish and the last post image. i know that i darkened some values in the shadows to bring them into congruity and added some texture to the background mountains and desert. i believe some washes were added to his cap and the railing from which is hanging the canvas and on which he is leaning. other than that i think that was all that i painted. here it is.

i also started a painting using an image that was shot at the modeling session with "anna". i have photos of pretty much all the stages in about 30-45 minute increments of work. i think most of the steps are self-explanatory to those following this blog and i have described how i go about getting myself in the trouble i often do many, many times…..just you can avoid them! old habits die hard.

i started this painting with the idea that i wanted to use different colors in the background than i usually do (away from the dark grey/black/blue) and a little warmer. i also wanted another of my challenging compositions and depicting the figure in unusual light as if she were illuminated by a spot light low and in front of her. other than that, it was free-wheeling all the way. i will just post the sequential photos. if anyone has any questions, please post them in comments and i will get back to you posthaste.

drawing…darkened over real life so details show

initial wash of manganese blue, vermillion, raw sienna

starting to model her features (same colors)
ditto…adding burnt sienna and ultramarine blue for derby

letters lifted and then painted with vermillion

"just a girl and her bowler" (12"X22")
darks balanced and shirt shadows cerulean blue, carmine, raw sienna

so there we are. there is a lot that i like about this…unusual composition that i think, arguably, works, the unique background colors for me, the multi-colored shadows on the wall, and the lighting. i enjoyed doing the letters but i am still in a bit of flux whether just a dark shape would have sufficed. well, as i am heard to say on occasion……it ain't horrible.