Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Warclub, a painting "work in progress" Day 2

Hi Everyone,
Here are the results of my first day of actual painting on "The Warclub". I thought long and hard about how to approach the finish on this painting. There were many ways I could have gone. One way I considered taking it was to put a full blown background in. But I ruled this out almost immediately since I felt that even a simple setting would have detracted from the strength of the focal point, which is the club wielding mountain man. Then I thought about putting him on a dark background of deep green or some other compliment that would pop him off the background. A better choice than the first, but I ruled this out in the end because it might have been too tranquil a background for this painting. The thing I kept coming back to in my mind is that this is a brutal, almost prehistoric kind of weapon and it required a background with some slashing life to it.

So I brushed on a transparent layer of raw umber and earth green near the figure, then used a brush to fleck and slash it with turpentine. The turp lifted the wet paint, dripped in places and created a wonderful effect of a stone like texture. Just the background that this painting needed to give it some life, but not overwhelm. Everything is loosely painted at this point and nothing is finished. the hands are still only drawings. The subject from which I am painting was wearing a bright blue fabric shirt. Way too blue to be period correct, so I changed it to a buckskin coat and will be adding fringe along his shoulders. Buckskin is thicker than fabric and the folds have to be painted in a more rounded softer manner than the fabric would be painted. I've also added a couple of beaded strips down the front of his coat. This lets you know this is indeed a western mountain man and that he possibly has a native wife somewhere. I will be letting the shadow part of his coat melt into the background colors. This gives it a more pleasing effect and doesn't draw unneeded attention. At this point, I'm just trying to get everything in so I can judge what it needs and can do without. I'm really trying to avoid putting in unneeded details and really orchestrating what I want you to see.


Frank Gardner said...

Hi steve, I like the way this one is coming along. Great step by step description of your process. I'll keep it short since you are still working on it. No one likes someone watching over their shoulder.

Jennifer McChristian said...

Hi Steve,

It's always fascinating and refreshing to see other's painting techniques.
I'm looking forward to seeing the completed painting. Great start by the way!

Dean H. said...

I have a feeling this will be a fascinating demo. Really like hearing your reasoning as you progress. Thanks for doing the WIP. I think it helps to know that others are watching and appreciate the experience.


Steve Atkinson said...

Thanks Guys for the encouragement, I've gotta say, it's interesting posting a painting as I'm working on it. No pressure or anything. Hey, It's only uncomfortable the first time, right? At some point, you just have to trust in the process and let go... If we wanted a sure bet, we'd be handicapping horses a the racetrack, lol.