Friday, February 20, 2009

Old Iron begins

So far, not much progress to report. With my "real job" schedule, it's hard to find an undisturbed period in which to paint. But I finished the drawing, prepared and stretched the paper, and have begun working on the barn..though using a technique very new to me.

I taped off the geometric shape of the barn (which is in the background) and mixed Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue for a very wet wash over the area. I wanted to get some texture into the color to create the look of weathered wood, and in this version, unlike the last, I'm using cold press paper. So I can't use the tooth of the paper to help create the effect. While still wet, I splattered clear water, then followed that with a darker mix of the complement.

After letting that dry, I trimmed out thin strips of drafting tape (which is what you see in the photo above). I'll paint successively darker washes over the taped area to created the shadows between the vertical slats.

I don't usually use those sorts of techniques because they are very time-intensive, but I wanted to try some different effects in this painting.

Friday, February 13, 2009

New project started

I've finally cleared all the lingering cobwebs from the Kadie portrait from my head (and the paint from my palette).

I've been asked to reprise a painting I did this fall as part of an exhibit at the Lost River Artisans Cooperative. Several member artists created paintings of the cooperative (which is housed in a 150-year-old bank barn) for a small show that highlighted how each artist can interpret a scene.

Several of the works, including mine, were donated as part of a silent auction to benefit programs at the cooperative.

Some friends bid on my painting, but were unsuccessful. So they have asked me to paint the scene again.

This request poses some challenges for me, in that they want a painting that is similar to the other in size, dimensions, and subject matter, but I don't want to create the same painting twice.

So, I've changed some elements of the composition and the viewing angle, plus I will also change the color temperature. Drawing is now done, and I've finished stapling the paper to my board for stretching.

Here are some images of the first version of the painting.

Overall color temperature is cool with splashes of warmth.

Some details of the antique McCormick-Deering tractor on display in front of the cooperative's barn. The barn also hosts the Lost River Museum, and agricultural displays are an important part of the museum's collection.

The finished painting: 7"x10" on Arches 140# rough paper.

The challenge is to make the second version very different. I'll post updates as I make progress.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cleaning up

The tape's off; the staples attaching the paper to the board have been removed, and I've trimmed the excess edges.

This is my first watercolor portrait. I've had a few figures in other paintings, but this is the first dedicated attempt I've made in this genre.

A word on the flesh tones. I heavily depended on MaimeriBlu's Dragon's Blood (Semitransparent, using a mixture of PBr7 andPR209). In my previous figure attempts, I had great difficulty working with flesh tones, particularly those tending toward the fair and rosy. Using W&N Permanent Rose (PV19) and Permanent Alizarin Crimson (PR206) in mixtures with Yellow Ochre (PY43), Raw Sienna (PY 42, PR 101), and a host of other yellows, never produced the look I wanted. The reds were always too strident.

By chance I had a trial 6-tube box of MaimeriBlu paints which included Dragon's Blood. It's perfect. It's bright, but not garish. It rewets beautifully (which can be said for nearly all MaimeriBlu paints), and plays well with others. The flesh tones in Kadie are a mixture of Dragon's blood, W&N Raw Sienna, and W&N Cobalt Blue (PB28).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Kadie finished

I think she's done. I'm going to pull off the tape and remove the paper from the board. If I get industrious, I'll post a picture of her with clean edges, etc.

Generally, I'm pleased. I've never done a watercolor portrait before (not many pencil portraits in my past, either). I think it pops with color and is not wishy-washy. I wanted to avoid a soft, midvalue painting that wouldn't stand up to perusal from across a room.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Kadie nearly finished

Almost there. I'm still fussing with the foreground hand, and trying to pick out additional enhancements in her hair, etc.