Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Hare Trigger" step by step 5

"Hare Trigger", 60X40, oil/linen

Hi Everybody, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas (those of you who celebrate it). I finished this painting during the last week before Christmas. Ann and I delivered and hung it on December 23, and now it's permanently in it's new home in Tucson, AZ.

When I posted last, I hadn't even finished laying in the saddle and the cowboy's boot. That was my next step. Once the canvas was covered, I set about refining the painting. The rabbit was an important element and I spent a lot of time making sure he was hauling tail and kicking up lots of back lit dust. I reworked the cowboy's shirt and added a pinstripe and pearl snaps. The shirt needed a bit of interest and the western details were just the thing . I made sure to keep the cowboy's face dark so it was not the first thing you look at. I worked over every inch of the painting, making sure the values, colors, edges and details all were working together. Things like deepening the value and color of the chaps, making sure to work cools in with the warms. That's why there are violets mixed in with the oranges/browns. I changed the headstall that I had roughed in on the horse, and changed the bit to a snaffle bit. I added in details such as the reins that are flying away behind the cowboy. I also added a hint of carving detail in the saddle fenders. The prickly pear cactus were then feeling a bit dark and dead, so I bumped up the color and made sure to mix in warms and cools, and made sure to add lots of back lit spines to add drama and to remind everyone what was at stake here! Then definition in the flying mane, leather fringe on the chaps. The last thing I did was to increase the size of the cowboy's boot by about 15% or so. As I was painting, I had that little voice in the back of my mind telling me it was just reading too small, and when Ann asked if I thought the foot was reading a little small, I knew my little voice was right and that I had to change it.

Then all that was left was to put it in the frame. The frame was a 5" molding and added 10" in either direction. So the final framed dimensions were 70X50". The frame is from America West Frames in Flagstaff, AZ. They always do a great job and work with me to get just what I want.

That's about it! You made it to the end of another painting with me.... thanks for coming along for the ride, and we'll do this again real soon.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"Hare Trigger" step by step 4

Hare Trigger, step 4, 60X40"

Hi Everybody,
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and have sufficiently recovered. I've had to do a bit of art show related traveling and have been away from my easel for too long. But I'm back now and have taken the next step on our painting. This is actually two days of work. I didn't post after the first day because I was working to lay everything in and with the light effect of all the dust and running rabbit, it wouldn't have made any sense to you to show you until I had it all down and relating to each other. This is a pretty good sized canvas and it takes longer than a single day to get your things laid in. Something that slipped my mind when I started this step by step.

So, where are we now. Well, I have the prickly pear, rabbit and dust laid in. But I put it in a little darker than some of it will end up being. A lot of my time was spent in making the prickly pear appear to be partially obscured by the layer of dust the horse is kicking up. In the next step, besides putting the rest of the saddle and cowboy's boot in, I will be going into the foreground to add colors and bouncing light into the cactus and dust layer. I want to lighten it a bit, but not so much that the painting feels top heavy. Remember that it's always better to go from dark to light with oil paints... thin to thick. But for the top dust layer I'll be scumbling on the paint. Scumbling is just a way of saying I'll be adding lighter paint by dry brushing it on over the existing layer of dry paint. If done right, it's a very convincing way of painting dust and making adjustments. Also, I'll continue to add the cactus spines to make it the place the cowboy does not want to end up. As I'm looking at it, I'm feeling that I need to add a few paddles to the cactus that are coming toward the viewer to make it more of a 3D effect. I will be adding a few rocks and twigs in the foreground being kicked up by the bolting hare. Also, it's time to get the light effect around the rabbit perfected. Right now it's a bit dark. I want it to pop a bit more.