Thursday, December 19, 2013

A (Traditional) Painter's Approach

Sometimes you have an image in your head that seems so clear... until you try to actually capture it. This scribble may not look like much, but for me it did a pretty good job of getting the idea down... just something bouncing around in my head after reading The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Moving that scribble forward can be quite challenging...
Not quite right...

Finally a good drawing emerges - now to the canvas!

I started with a wash of burnt sienna, to establish the basic shapes and value structure (how many times have we heard that?!).  The white is blank canvas, where I've left it unpainted, or wiped the paint off with a rag. There are some tiny hints of raw umber in there too (the raven, shoes, and occluded areas in the rocks, as well as a bit in the coat). This is just to help me note the darkest darks, and cool areas.

I really want to get rid of those pencil lines so I can get to where I'm only seeing big shapes.  It's kind of  a reversion, but critical for me. For an oil like this I need a pretty good drawing, because it's too tough to move things around later, but at the same time I really want the thing to be born in paint!

Some artists meticulously lay down a detailed drawing first, then carefully paint according to that. Good for them!  I am impatient I guess. I'm also messy, so even if I did a tight drawing I'd likely lose it in the painting process.

A detail of the lay in.

The finished oil, about 24" x 36".  Boy those rocks could sure use some love, anyway...


 A detail of the finished painting
I sure love the look of oil paint

This sequence shows the four step process (three steps painting) on one of the squirrels:

Rough pencil

Single tone lay in

Rough paint to establish colors and shapes

Finished paint

And there you go!