Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Metro Meteor in Snow

Acrylics frustrate me sometimes. Well more then sometimes. I can't really seem to get a painting that I like.
I bought a whole bunch of Fredrix watercolor canvases, hoping to be able to do some watercolors that I can just varnish and frame without glass and matboard. Well I couldn't get the hang of those either. It is so easy to lift paint off the surface that I couldn't get the hang of layering over color without making a mess of things. So I thought I would try out my Golden Fluid Acrylics using watercolor techniques, and be able to layer color after it had dried and the undercolor wouldn't lift up.
So I am working from a photo of my favorite subject, my horse Metro. The photo is a little overexposed, but I can correct the color in the painting.
So I started out with the original plan of working transparently and stuck with it for awhile, but then changed plans mid-painting. I liked the way the background was looking, but end up working more opaque on Metro, using oil painting techniques.
I didn't like the way that Metro looked like he was cut out and pasted on to the background, so I switched plans again mid-painting. I pulled out the Golden Open Acrylics, and decided to work opaquely to finish the painting. I repainted the background and worked some more on Metro but there were still too many hard edges, and Metro still looked pasted on. So I decided to make it snow, and started to splatter paint to tie the background in with the figure.
Can you see why acrylics frustrate me. I can't stick to a plan when I paint with them.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rush's Painting

Today I am doing a portrait of Rush, winner of the Pet Portrait Contest on my Facebook book page.
Wire haired dogs always prove to bee a challenge for me. I am not a "paint every hair" detail type of painter, so I need to give the impression of fine hair without painting every hair. To do this I am going to do some negative painting, and dragging a semi-dry brush to give some broken lines. I will also go back and scrape out some highlight hairs with a razor blade.

Looking at Rush's photo, I see all kinds of different colors, browns, grays, blues and yellows.
I start with the lighter colors first and let different colors mix on the page.

Then I follow up with the blues and grays. I try not to get to heavy handed because I want specks of browns to show through. There are no hard lines in Rush's coloring, just specks and lines of different colors peeking through, so I wanted to show this.

I don't really like the hard lines where the browns are meeting the grays, so I am going to make it a point to merge those edges. I have a tendency to make my greens too dark, with dark dogs, and the result is usually a muddy looking painting.
Rush has so many earth tones in his coloring, I didn't want him to get lost in the background, so I was very careful this time to keep the background light and bright, so Rush really stands out.
For the final touch, I took a razor blade, and scraped out a few highlights around the mouth and eyebrows to give the impression of fine hairs catching the sun.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Lost and Found Edges

My resolution this new years is to improve my painting style. One way I am going to do it is to work out of  all the Charles Reid books I have.
Today I am working out of "Pulling Your Paintings Together" by Charles Reid.
The subject is lost and found edges.
I am working on a painting of Charles' called "Juan".
In his book Charles was worried about the vest looking to "cut out and pasted" so he want to loose some of the edges. I think he accomplished this by using dry brush and broken edges, and also softening towards the bottom of the vest. I also liked the way he let the white of the sleeves blend in with the white of the paper to keep some of those edges "lost" too.

I am not trying to duplicate Charles' painting, but trying to get the feel of the painting and get into the frame of mind of why he chose to do what he did. His painting was done on 20" paper while mine is on 10", so I am not going for the same amount of detail. Just the lost and found edges.

I started my painting by not worrying too much about detail. Just concentrating on edge control.

Here is my finished version of Juan.
8x10 watercolor on 140lb cold pressed paper.