Saturday, June 27, 2015

idle hands and all that...........

very little down time with me and painting. i usually am about 2-3 ideas ahead of where i actually am at any one time. along with the ".....bluegrass" painting i have been working on a commission for my golfing buddy jim. he has a little dog that he has wanted a portrait of for some time that has been languishing on the corner table collecting dust since the initial wishes about 2 months ago. as i waited for paint to dry on the fiddler portrait i worked on this.

i think it came out pretty well. he let me have a free hand with it and that made what i usually don't like about commissions not only distasteful but actually fun. it is a small painting (11"X10") on a piece of 300# arches cold press paper (which is also a bit different; a departure from my usual hot press preference). it was painted pretty much exclusively with a #12 escoda versatil round brush using ultramarine blue and burnt sienna  for the various grays and browns. there is an occasional mineral violet, alizarin crimson permanent, and neutral tint. the background is entirely oxide of chromium and quinacridone gold.....a combo i like for a lot of greens in the landscape.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"lost in the bluegrass": as done as it's gonna get

after noodling around for about 30 minutes earlier this afternoon doing nothing that could be seen from about 6 feet away i decided that i should put this painting to bed. all in all i am happy with the result. it has taken me a bit longer to finish than some others and, at least with me, familiarity breeds some contempt.....perhaps some absence to encourage a heart growing stronger is indicated? here is the final product. it's about 13"X16", on arches hot press watercolor board.

"lost in the bluegrass"

Sunday, June 21, 2015

and just a bit more....."lost in the bluegrass"

pretty sure it will be finished in time to submit to the watercolor west jury on june i'm not so sure that it will good enough. its starting to look a little rough around the edges. i guess i'll just keep plugging long and see where we are when its all said and done.

main efforts over the last two days have been getting his shirt and shadows behind the backdrop curtain painted. i wanted the shirt to say "plaid" but not be too dominant so as to detract from the figure. the dark recesses on the top took a while to get to the value that seemed about where i had envisioned them. i am using almost exclusively a wet glazing technique that i have described previous, but mainly involves floating one color over another (and another) while the former is still at least damp, stopping where the value and color is predicted to be about "correct". the last color applied is always the dominant one with subtle undertones of all of the previous hues. another area done like this is the shadow on his shirt and sleeve under the right side of the violin.
wip, "lost in the bluegrass"

always room for second guessing. i didn't like them when they were high key, but the darker they got they grew on me. you know what comes next???????? too dark! i'm going to leave them and see what tincture of time will do for my aesthetic.

i think his hand is okay as is and probably won't do anything else on it. more work is needed to give his violin its patina.

here is where things stand at the present.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

lots and lots and lots of stuff going on but nothing coming together.....yet.

i really have too many irons in the fire right now and literally am taking too much time just deciding which painting to work on at any one time. i'm sort of bouncing around like a ping pong ball from one to another and accomplishing but small amounts toward the finished goal. the most important one is the "lost in the bluegrass" of tim jenkins that i want to send in to watercolor west....deadline is 12 days and counting. i'm starting to wonder if i'll make it.

the bottom line is that one must follow one's muse(s). these other two have been speaking to me for a couple of months and during a rainy day over the weekend i got started on them.

i'll just post where i am (at...for you midwesterners) right now on each project and spare you the explanatory rhetoric.

untitled as of yet...suggestions? (about 13"X14")

"lost in the bluegrass" (about 14"X16")

"mona's watch" (14"X11")

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

working toward watercolor west exhibition: second iteration of old painting

original sketch from february
during the winter out in borrego springs i did a small "sketch" of a fellow named tim jenkins who posed while playing his fiddle for us at the viroqua life painting sessions. i like the effect but there were several things i learned while painting it that made me want to re-do it on better paper and in a larger format when i returned. i feel i need another painting to send for consideration to the watercolor west show. they have specific criteria one of which is that the painting must be on paper and in transparent watercolor ( opaque). this is the time, i feel, to have another go at it.

drawing and first washes
i started by deciding on the size and proportions of the paper (13"X16"; landscape format) and the amount and orientation of the figure in that space. i decided on head shoulders, most of fiddle and some of his hand in the lower right. this gave me a nice diagonal composition that avoided the corners and even proportions, as well as a nice light passage through the center (face and beard).
background:"masking" of face/violin

after drawing it out on the paper which is arches hot press watercolor board (90# paper attached to a stiff mat-like board.....i have used this before and found it a great surface and just a little less expensive than 300# arches...but without being able to create "deckle" edges), i flooded the figure and background with a variegated, high value wash using manganese blue nova, quinacridone gold, scarlet lake and brilliant orange.
a bit more on the features and violin
after that dried completely i worked a bit on the facial features using the same colors but lower value washes. for this work i used a #14 round escoda versatil brush. i wanted a free hand with the background and a crisp edge at the right side of the face and top of the violin. in usually would just try to paint around these but i know i wanted a wet background which might become unmanageable as i rolled down the surface. so, i masked out those structures with masking tape and then carefully scribed around the edge with an ex-acto knife and peeled away the excess. this in place i liberally worked a juicy background vertically using ultramarine blue, brilliant orange, quinacridone gold and alizarin crimson permanent, with a #20 round escoda versatil brush. as it dried it was a little to "stripey". after pondering this dilemma and knowing the danger of going back in with a brush i remembered a blending trick i saw bob ross do in skies with his oil paints (remember bob? happy little trees? squirrel perched on his shoulder?). i got out a 2 inch hake brush and lightly whisked it over the wash as the sheen started to come off.......voila.....this is what it looked like and i was a happy camper.

this done, i turned to the shadow side wash on the face. i used a wet glaze technique putting down ultramarine blue over the shadow areas first and then charged in the flesh color of scarlet lake and brilliant orange. i let this do its thing with out manipulation.....okay, still happy (it looked a little dark at this point but true to watercolor's habits it dried a couple of values lighter). a little more on the features, starting to model his beard and put a na initial tone of quinacridone gold on the top of the violin rounded out the painting at this point. i have decided to painting around the strings on the violin.........a smart move might be to mask them too, but i like a challenge........wish me luck.
state of painting "lost in the blue grass" at present

Thursday, June 4, 2015

"waitin' for the mississippi queen": some more great news

"waitin' for the mississippi queen" (watercolor on paper, 11"X17")
yesterday morning i received a call from nancy neale, coordinator for the pikes peak international watermedia exhibition in colorado springs. she told me that juror ted nuttall had awarded my painting "waitin' for the mississippi queen" the silver level blick award. i felt extremely lucky to have been invited to the exhibition in the first place and and now to receive one of the awards........i am beside myself. thanks goes to all the members of the ppws and nancy neale for putting on such a great show and to ted nuttall for deeming my painting worthy of this honor.