Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Warclub, a painting "work in progress" Day4

Hi Everyone,
I apologize for taking so long to get this posted. I had it ready last week and didn't have the time to get it photographed and posted. I still don't feel that it's 100% finished, but it's close enough to post if framed on my website as finished. Also, I will be replacing this photo with a sharper version in the next couple of days. I've started using a Canon 40D DSLR and, at least for me, the learning curve has been steep. I long for the days of my old point and shoot Olympus Camedia C-5050!! But enough of that.

Here is the latest version of "Walk Softly" ( formerly "The Warclub"):

I decided to rename it to something a bit more creative and to make a play on an old saying. I feel that the name of a painting should be as creative as the work itself. It has to work as a whole. And if you find that you don't like a painting's name, you can always rename it ( as long as it hasn't sold yet).

Most of the work that's been done on it since my last post has been detailing. Tightening the features of the face. Painting in the hands. Working varied color temps into his buckskin shirt. I added rawhide decorations and feathers around the handle of the club itself. I noticed that the original shirt the model was wearing had puffy cuffs, which works for fabric shirts, but not for buckskin warshirts. So I had to rework the ends of the sleeves to be more like a jacket with fringe. As I painted him I tried to keep the edges softer to keep the painting from being too brutal. I especially worked on getting the blade to glint in the sunlight. Adding that glow is a great way to get your focus from the Mountain Man to the club. I kept the background subdued so that he really pops. I still need to flesh that background out a touch. But I wanted to wait until I had the figure just about done. That way I can add only as much as I need without having it compete with the figure.


Monday, December 3, 2007

The Warclub, a painting "work in progress" Day3

Hi All,
Here is the progress I made during my second day of painting. I forgot to mention that this piece is 18X24.

As you can tell, I've done quite a bit to it since the last post, but the working process is always the same. Work the entire picture at once. I have rendered his face more and it doesn't look so blocked in. It is further along, but I still don't consider it finished. As I look at it, I realize the size of his nose has grown. It happens. I have a tendency to do that, so I will continue to perfect his face. To me, this is the most important part of any painting with a figure in it. the face has to be exactly right and painted tighter than the rest of the work. You just can't be sloppy with a face. I read somewhere once, and I've taken it as one of my mantras, "Don't accept something in your work that you wouldn't accept in someone else's work". If I look at a figurative painting or a character study and the face isn't right, I just assume that that was the best they could do. That they couldn't see the problem and couldn't paint it any better. I never want that to be the case on one of my paintings. As I work on it, I am continually looking at it in the reflection of a large mirror I have hung opposite my easel. This immediately lets me see any problems with drawing or perspective that my eyes have grown accustomed to. His Buckskin is also further along than it was, but I'm still working on it. I'm pretty happy with the front of his shirt, but his sleeves are still in process. I've barely begun to rough his right hand in, while his left hand is still a drawing. This part isn't concerning me right now, as I know what I want that to be like. The biggest change you are probably noticing is the background. As I let the painting sit for a couple of days last week, I became bothered by not having some kind of a background. I didn't want anything too distracting, but he needed to be in a setting. It came to me that many of the masters would paint in backgrounds that were not distracting by painting them in a more monochromatic technique. Something that was more than abstact and not as much as a full fledged distracting background. I liked what I had in the way of composition, so I worked with what I had as shapes, and just fleshed them out a bit. Adding trees and a field, always making sure the rhythm and balance was working. I was also very aware to keep the focus on the mountain man by keeping this the lightest/darkest area. This is where it ended up. It's a much more pleasing and satisfying painting with placing him in a wild setting. I will continue to fine tune it. I've hinted at the fringe on his shirt. Probably the only thing I consider finished on this is his beard, the wooden part of his warclub, his shirt front and his head wrap. Everything else is closer to completion than it was, and in a better place, but still very much a work in progress. Thanks for checking in.

Happy Painting, Steve