Saturday, September 5, 2015

back to the basics

with the first watercolor class behind me and the show preparation just about over, i was able to put a few strokes on the demo that i started for the class during the 4th week. it is of the iconic photo of sitting bull with his single eagle feather. i will give you a bit of narrative to indicate what my process and thoughts were as i progressed. i am doing this in part to let the students know how i am finsihing up this work started in class.

it is on a piece of 300# hot press fabriano artistico paper measuring about13"X10". after drawing the face i proceeded with a fairly typical approach to painting it, at least for me.

choosing manganese blue nova, vermillion, and raw sienna as the basic palette, i entirely covered the figure  with about a 10% variegated wash and spilled out into the background to attach it to the sides of the painting in about 3 different places. i like to get some cool colors on the forehead and warm colors in the middle of the face (cheeks and nose). this painting across lines also lent a air of spontaneity. i used a largish squirrel quill brush for this wash.

tatanka iyotanka, redux (wip)
when this dried i started sculpting the features with a classic light to dark technique using the same colors. i switched to a #12 escoda perla round brush for this work and pretty much all subsequent washes. i usually start with the eyes as they are so important (the eyes have it)  that i want to know they are going well before i go on to the rest of the painting. if they are not working out i don't want to waste time with an already failed painting. from there i moved down the face to nose, mouth, chin. i put in a light wash representing the highlight of the hair with a fairly neutral gray mixed with french ultramarine blue (fub) and burnt sienna, my first departure from the basic palette described above.

with the feather, after putting a bit of light warm color on it, i described the body with negative and positive shapes of cerulean/raw sienna/alizarin crimson. the tip was the same fub/ burnt sienna mix. putting more pigment on the hair described not only the sides of the face, but also the braids. i softened the edges of hair/face juncture on the shadow side. the rest of the hair was a mixture of mineral violet, fub, burnt sienna, alizarin crimson, darker on the shadow side and pulled into the light with a damp clean brush (being careful to preserve the light of the binding thongs).

here is the wip of this painting at the time i finished working on it yesterday afternoon.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the narrative - It certainly is helpful in understanding your thought process in developing this painting. Please be encouraged to keep up your comments, I am sure there are many following your work but unfortunately do not enter comments.