Monday, June 27, 2011

Dogs dogs dogs

Napscape WORK IN PROGRESS detail:

There are work-in-progress photos below,plus a few words about technique, but first I thought you might enjoy a few dog pics I took today:

Here’s XL-sized Blue trying to fit into an M-sized chair. Hey, I just noticed that this is the pillow that’s in today’s painting!

And here we see that XXL-sized Andy has made a wise choice of napping venue: the quilt-covered sofa in the painting. It sleeps two redbone hounds or one Andy. He’ll be able to dream big here.

That is, if the paparazzi will PLEASE leave him alone.

While I was taking pictures of Blue and Andy, Trixie trotted over to worm her way into the action.

Be sure to get my best side.

Smile, Trixie, smile!

What do you mean? I AM smiling.

And now, here are my work-in-progress photos for today’s painting:

Here’s where I left off on Saturday; the detailed value sketch in indigo acrylic.

I develop the underpainting using glazes of acrylic. Here’s the first layer of glazes. Recently I was asked how I choose what colors to use in the underpainting. Well ... um ... that’s a really good question. Sometimes it’s pretty arbitrary, but usually I’ll divide a painting in my mind into 3 to 5 main areas of color, keeping the areas very general, not detailed at all. For the parts of the subject that are in full light, I’ll block in colors in the underpainting that are complements of the colors in the finished painting; and for the parts that are shadowy I’ll use colors that are similar to what the finished colors will be, only darker, cooler versions of those colors. Sometimes you could give yourself a headache trying to figure out exactly how to follow these rules, so don’t worry at all about getting the exact complement, or what the main color of a section in the finished painting is going to be, especially a picture that is full of detail. I just use these guidelines in a very general way, to help me get started.

For this painting I had in mind four main areas: 1) the part of the quilt covering the back of the sofe, behind the dogs; 2)the blanket and pillow; 3)the dogs themselves; and 4) the foreground section of the quilt, which is in more light than the shadowy background part of the quilt.

The main finished color of the dogs will be red-orange-ish, so I use a yellow glaze on top of a phthalo blue glaze, and then another phthalo blue glaze on top of the yellow, to end up with a dark turquoise. The quilt will end up being multi-colored, so I arbitrarily chose phthalo blue for the underpainting, with a very washed out yellow glaze. It’s hard to tell in the photos, but the front of the quilt is a little bluer than the dogs and the dogs a touch more turquoise.

The pillow and blankets, plus the wall behind the sofa at the right end of the painting, will be shades of teal and green, so I chose shades of red for the underpainting in those areas. I started with a quinacrodone rose, and added a yellow in some places to make it a little warmer red. The pillow I kept rose colored.

The part of the quilt covering the back of the sofa is more in shadow than everything else, so I wanted that part of underpainting to be cool-ish in color. I started with a phthalo blue glaze, topped by a glaze of quinacrodone rose, so that it ends up purple.

Once the acrylic underpainting is completely dry, I start adding the oil colors. This is just my preference, but I like to start with a part of the painting which might require more concentration to get just right than other parts of painting might require. Soooo ... in this painting, that would be Sophie’s face.

With oil painting, I like to keep the colors slightly separate at first; the longer drying time allows me to blend colors after I finish Sophie’s entire face.

I make a conscious decision where to blend and where to keep separate, because once you blend, you can’t unblend. Keeping the colors separate and blending later after I’ve had a while to look helps me to keep from overworking the paint. Another thing to keep in mind is: you can always scrape away paint with a painting knife to allow the underpainting to show through in certain places. Or wipe away paint for a stained or glazed effect.

Tune in tomorrow for more progress!

1 comment:

Crystal Cook said...

I just wanted to tell you how much I thoroughly enjoy your blog. Your work is so beautiful and I always feel inspired after I see your latest painting. And thanks for the step by steps they are so interesting and also very helpful. Awesome work!