Friday, May 15, 2009
I think the first challenge with this image was the biggest one, for me. I do a lot of racehorse paintings, and I'd recently done a very similar image to this one, so I wanted to take something different from the reference. Add to that, I had a potentially crazy day today, with the vet scheduled to come out to check a couple of mares for breeding, and the likelihood of having to make arrangements for said breedings. That meant coming up with something I could realistically complete today. It's that old saying, about working smarter, rather than working harder! The crop was the first way to do that.
Next - I indulged myself by working on a 10 x 16 piece of stretched Artfix portrait linen, a very luxurious surface that works really well for alla prima in oils. The limited palette I often use went out the window for this one. Above, you see the result! It wasn't until about 8pm that I decided it was all going to work out. It was a bit of a relief, with the way my day was going when I started!
The painting will be available for sale, once dry ~ $750.00 plus shipping. If you're interested, feel free to drop me an email. Now, to clean my brushes - I used an awful lot of them today!
Two weeks sure flies by between races, doesn't it? We're at it again for the Preakness Stakes! Will The Bird defy his naysayers and take the next leg, or will Rachel show the boys how it's done? Or...will somebody else jump up and steal the show?
Here's our image for this pARTy, taken by photographer Juliet Harrison last summer at Saratoga. I think you'll find this time Kim and I took very different approaches to this challenge!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Well, I said I'd be done by 8pm, and it was shortly after that when I finished the Derby pARTy painting. Took a little longer for me to make it here! I made myself wait to look at Kim's painting, because I knew she'd be done much earlier than I. I found it interesting how we chose different sides of the canvas, and picked a similar size to work with! Once again, this is 16 x 12 oil on canvas, available for $565.00 (plus shipping). If you're interested, just email me. A portion of the sale will go to LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement, which finds new homes for retired racehorses.
I take in-progress shots of my work by habit now - it's just part of how I work through things. I'll include a couple of them below. You saw the first stage - after that I worked a bit more on establishing some basic tones before I started with the colour. I often work from a limited palette of Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Red Medium, Yellow Ochre and Titanium White; for this painting I also used a bit of Naples Yellow, and some Unbleached Titanium. I work backwards sometimes from how you're "supposed" to work in oils; I got the filly well on her way before I started blocking any colour into the background. After that, I went back into her and worked up the detail a bit, and the last thing I did was add more colour and contrast to the background to give the painting a bit of drama.
I thought *I* had a bit of an advantage, as this is one of my photos, and I know this Thoroughbred filly very well, raising her from birth to about 18 months. Her name is Clever Peaks, and from day one she was very friendly and inquisitive. If she saw people approach the fence, she'd come right over, so this was a very familiar site to me!
Preakness pARTy? Absolutely!
"Snowy Greetings," 12" square, chestnut Thoroughbred filly portrait, acrylic on canvasboard, $529 to the first taker. This is a tough piece to photograph - with the amped contrast and saturated complimentary colors, my camera didn't know what to do. I may try to scan portions of the painting and piece it together in photoshop, but meanwhile inquiries may come to me.
My apologies - I didn't think to take progress shots of my painting. Well, I did, but was promptly distracted by the puddles of paint, and never had a chance to follow-up on that thought.
How did this piece come together? Well I started out with a violet underpainting (the compliment of orange), and pretty much had the drifts and swaths of snow painted in the first pass. It was lots of wet-on-wet brushwork, with the darkest violet concentrated in the space where the filly now is.
Then I sketched in her rough shape, and working from general to specific, gradually laid down smaller and smaller layers of paint.
I'm excited to see Linda's version. She is at a distinct disadvantage because she's got actual stalls to muck - I only have to ignore the sunshine illuminating all the dust bunnies in the studio.
Good times, though! Are you up for it again, Linda? I wanna throw a Preakness pARTy!!
I'm intentionally posting this before I even look at Kim's start to this project, lest I throw mine in the swamp or something. I laughed when I glanced at the easel first thing this morning, and took a photo, because I think many artists would agree, this is one of the scariest parts of a painting, if not *the* scariest - that blank canvas! In this case it's 16 x 12, and it's been toned with raw sienna. I printed out the reference image last night. I don't always print them this large, but as I'm going to be working a bit bigger than I have been this past month, I figured I could use all the help I can get!
Next I looked at the image on the computer to decide how I was going to place our pretty filly on the canvas. I didn't really want to place her dead centre...so you'll see what I went with. I cropped a bit, not because I'm afraid of painting feet, but because I thought they might be a little confusing. I either had to take them out, or paint them in, not the in-between of the photo! Of course flying snow can be used to great advantage in a painting! We're artists; artistic license is our friend!
Anti-climactic, I know - this probably looks like a whole lot of nothing, but this is the basic "drawing" in burnt umber. I actually like this stage, when it looks all muddy like this. Fun to see how it evolves from here.
Now, I need to get some stalls mucked before I carry on. I know Kim will be done much sooner than I am, so I'm trying to take just the right amount of pressure from that! See you in a bit!