Friday, March 29, 2013

WIP #4

I have two in progress paintings to show today.  First up is the one you've seen the last several weeks.  I finally have a full session of color.  I started at the top and kept the colors on the cool and desaturated side and the shapes a little less distinct since the top of the painting is also the farthest distance back from the viewer.

Here's a detail of the area I worked on;

I think some of the evergreen tree shapes could use a little more work, some of them are a little too symmetrical and regular.  Prior to that night's painting session I printed out a copy of the photo of the monochromatic version to remind me of my value plan, it was very helpful.  It can be easy to get lost in color and forget about values.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WIP #3

Just a quick post today.  I just got back today from class in which I finished the monochromatic underpainting for the painting in the last post.  (I missed last week due to coming home from work with a raging headache.) 

Several people have commented that I should leave it monocrhomatic.  It is tempting but I'm so sure it will look even better in color that I spent the last few minutes I had in class and painted in the sky and some of the dark recesses in the trees.  So what do you think, does it stand alone as a monochromatic painting?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

WIP #2

I needed to start a new painting for my Wednesday night class with Susan Jarvis since I finished "Autumn on Beaver Creek".  Susan's classes are what I'd call "Open" meaning you paint what you want and she helps you as needed. I decided to finally try a painting I've had in mind ever since I made a sketch of a tributary creek in Little Cottonwood Canyon last year, you can read about that here.  My painting won't be quite the same as the sketch, but rather taller and more narrow and bringing in more of the scene. 

I decided to try painting this one on an Ikea table top.  That's right, a table top.  These table tops are very inexpensive, ($5.99 when I bought mine) and measure a little under 20" X 40" and are over 1 1/2" thick.  They are quite sturdy and can be hung similar to a gallery wrap canvas.....without framing.  I prepared my table top by first puttying over the screw holes in the back for the legs and then sanding the putty smooth. I then applied a sealer/primer over the back since it appears to be made similar to MDF fiber board and so like MDF could possibly absorb some moisture out of the air over time. Since the edges and the front were coated in a melamine type plastic I didn't see any need to seal those but I did sand them with a fine sand paper to provide tooth for the acrylic gesso that I  applied in three coats with a fine foam roller.  This is how I prep my MDF panels as well, it gives what I feel is the perfect texture for painting landscapes.  I actually didn't gesso the sides, I primed them with a spray primer and then spray painted the sides and back with a black satin enamel.  I don't plan on carrying the painting over onto the sides of the board so the black painted sides will become a separation of sorts between the painting and the wall when hung, similar to a frame.

This particular subject is quite complicated with many shapes involved so I decided I'd do a monochrome underpainting to make sure that it all works well as a composition before committing it to color.  The acrylic paint in my Sta-Wet palette was kind of a jumbled mess anyway so I mixed it all together and added some ultramarine blue to darken it and ended up with a color similar to burnt umber.

I sketched out the composition first using a round brush, just catching the significant edges of the major shapes.  As you can see I ended up redoing the top section of the creek a couple times trying to get a pleasing and realistic effect.  I'd already started to block in the shapes as well since I didn't get the idea to take WIP photos until this point,

More blocking in

Now I've blocked in the top part of the stream.  You'll also notice I went back into the upper right area and reworked it a bit.  I decided to bring out the tree trunks more and adjust the foliage some.

I struggled a bit with how to fill the area in the middle since I stretched that area a little to change the composition to have the creek end up higher in the painting.  This could prove to be even more of a problem during the color layers but all my sketching experience will help. And just like that class was over.  In two hours I only got to a little farther than the mid point of the underpainting.  The night just flew by.