Monday, April 2, 2007

Canyon Juniper

I decided to put down the cigarettes and as quickly as possible become an indignant ex-smoker. I got tired of listening to my kids bitch at me not being around to play with their grandkids and being looked at like I am a homeless leper everytime I smoke in public.

I decided to post this as a WIP for anyone that may be interested. In this piece I made it a point to be conscious of not overpainting the work as I have a tendency to do when I do a studio work. I have a freshnes to my work when I plein air paint that I seem to lose when I do a studio work.

I have been toning my canvases with burnt sienna and then drawing with a diluted mixture of liquin and burnt Sienna. I have been trying to pay attention to advice that I recieved from Ray Roberts at a recent workshop I took with him. He advised me to slow down and take the time to draw the parts that matter. I approached this piece that way. This is a 16 x 20 stretched canvas.

After finishing a rough but fairly accurate sketch, I begin drawing with a mix of burnt sienna, ultra blue and liquin. I put the darks in a pay attention to where my darkest dark and lightest light is going to be in the painting. I have a tendency to lose my dark accents when I plein air paint, so I will overpaint them a bit in the initial sketch.

At this point I start to add some greys and midtone values. I need to get paint all over the canvas in order to be able to harmonize the values and color choices.

After adding the greys I begin blocking in the greens in the juniper. I will mix three different values of green on the pallett to make sure I end up with consistent variety.

After blocking in the greens I will add the sky and sky holes in the foliage. Schmid said that he finds it hard to have it look like the sky is behind the subject if he paints it last. I used to paint the sky last until reading that. I switched immediately figuring he should know.

And finally on to the finish. Time to correct vlaues and decide where highlights should be. Also a good time to slow down and look at the piece from a distance to see if it is actually a painting. It is easy to forget that bottom line the goal is to make a painting. Fill in the empty spots, leave a little underpainting peeking through in a few places and add a little branch calligraphy. Time to set it aside and look at it a couple of days later to see if I still like the work.

Thanks for looking.

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