Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fence post...

I'm sorry that this photo seems a little washed out but it's just a 
quick snapshot.

I've started the fence post and the texture is in on the top part. 
Next I'll be adjusting the tone of the fence post so it won't 
"take over the painting". Right now the tones are a little too
close to the ones in the antler so I'll darken it up some and add some
color to it. Probably some ultramarine to cool down the shaded 
side and some burnt umber or burnt sienna to the sunny side.

More Progress

All the leaves are in now. I am enjoying seeing all the stages line
up in my blog. It's interesting to watch the image develop.

While I'm working through a painting it seems to move so slowly
that I don't even know how it happens.  I get in the zone and 
work along listening to the tv or radio in the background and the 
time floats by.  I'm sorry I couldn't find a good way to make a 
video of the process but I'm sure it would be like watching grass 
grow anyway. 

Maybe I can try it next time. 

I'm not really fond of being in front of a camera but I think it would
be interesting to make a video of a painting in progress .  I'll have to 
work on that with my son Kabe who would probably do something 
terrific with the production of it.  Even though his specialty is audio,
he has a good eye for video as well. 

Friday, February 27, 2009

Moving along...

After another day of painting...

It looks like the berries, stems and leaves were less intimidating
than the fence post.  It all seems to depend on my mood when 
I sit down to paint. I really prefer to work from "life" meaning 
from the actual item rather than from a photo.  

In this case, I had to work from other references because I
couldn't very well bring the fencepost and wire home with 
me and the berries that I picked from a shrub on our property 
when I was doing the drawing had all disappeared when I was 
ready to start painting.

This means that I'm working from a photo, from memory and from 
"Berry Red", a painting that I did last year.  This is a pretty good 
photograph from my little point and shoot camera but the red berries are 
a bit more saturated in the actual painting.

I think that it's coming along pretty well now... what do you think?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Commission progress...

Today I was able to put in some time on the painting so I decided to work on the antler. These seemingly simple items are sometimes pretty tricky. It's like trying to draw grass!

I think I'm pretty happy with the results even though I'm sure I'll have to go back into it and bump up the contrast a little once the rest of the elements are painted in. This would be a very monochromatic piece if it weren't for the leaves and berries!

It's anyone's guess which part I will do next. I'm never sure myself until I start painting.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"Ball Moss on Red"

This is an acrylic painting that I started as a demo for the New Braunfels Art League meeting a few months ago.

I've put a little more work into it and finished the sides of the panel (about 10" x 10" and about 2" deep)  I'd like to do a few more pieces like this as a series.  

I wish I could get the photo to show the deep cherry red of the background but it just doesn't seem to translate very well. Why is it so hard to get the reds and oranges to show up right in photos?

I'll have to keep trying.

Moving forward...

Here is the painting at the masking and background stage...

The masking is still in place and the background is mostly there.  I always add small touches to the background as the painting progresses but this gives me a pretty good base.

I've now begun painting in the barbed wire just because it seemed like a pretty safe place to get started.  I normally will work through one element at a time until the entire work is completed.

What's next?

I'll probably start working on the fence post so I can judge how light/dark the leaves should be to stand out sufficiently. But then, you never know!   

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Setback!

I was making some progress on the commissioned painting.  I had the image drawn on the watercolor paper and I'd masked out the subject areas and painted the background. I was pretty happy with the background as a matter of fact.


When I removed the masking noticed that the masking fluid had left a stain.  Since I've had a painting ruined by just such a stain which darkened over time, I've decided to start over.  

Today I finished making a tracing of the final image and made 2 copies on tracing of the entire image and one of just the areas that need to be masked out.  I've thrown out the bottle of masking fluid (obviously it doesn't have a great shelf life) and bought a new bottle.

Tomorrow I'll start again!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Moving forward...

I've now finished the pencil overlay for the painting and it's been transferred to the paper.

I apologize for the (poor) scan of the pencil drawing on the painting.  It's very difficult to get a really good image of the drawing since it has to be done very lightly on the paper. I had to enhance the scans and piece the sections together to get the whole image into one file.  As the painting progresses, I will be able to get better images (less white paper and more tone for the camera to record) and it will, hopefully, give you a better idea of the progress.

I'm using Arches Cold Press 300 lb paper so that I can put in a nice wash background on it without any buckling.  The surface of Arches watercolor paper works well when I have to mask out the "whitest" areas of the painting, in this case the antler and the fence post.  I may mask out all of the subject since I'm planning to do some "spatter and smear" texture on the background... similar to the background on "Antler", the large painting that the client originally cited as their favorite.

I think I'll handle the background more as a vignette on this painting though...more like the background on the sketch, instead of a full background.  It should give the painting a slightly lighter feel.

I'm now looking forward to starting to paint!

A new commission...

This is the beginning stage of a newly commission that I am working on.

The client was interested in purchasing a painting but the images that they were initially drawn to were a bit larger than they wanted. They gave me a list of their favorite pieces from my website and we began a discussion about the possibility of a commissioned piece.

They'd never been through the process before so I sent them a pdf file explaining commissions, what the process was and how they would be kept "in the loop"  We discussed size, budget and a number of preferences to be considered and a few days later they told me to go ahead and work up some sketches.

These were the first three sketches that I did.  

They requested a combination of some of the elements from the original sketches and a bit of barbed wire (from "Barbs & barbed wire") and I did a new sketch.  

I took the antler out with me and photographed it hanging on a barbed wire fence.  I actually took several photos, using an assortment of antlers that I have collected but this one had the best light and shadows to work with as well as just a better shape overall. 

I added the branches with the red berries to the image later by combining the original sketch and the photo in Photoshop.  (I really love that program for working out the little details.)

I'll go back to the original photo as a reference when I'm painting the final watercolor.  The contrast will have to be toned down on the post just a bit and I'll work from an actual clipping from the Pyrocanthus bush in our yard.

The client requested only one change to this sketch...they wanted the branches to have a more natural position on the far left. They felt that it appeared that the branch was clipped off and floating in the air (which it was!) so I changed it slightly to join it into the other branch.  The change was simple & the clients are happy.