In Progress Wildlife Grizzly Bear Painting

The sketch–I use willow or vine charcoal to lay in the drawing…I fill in all the details because it helps me learn my way around the bear. Even though the drawing will be obliterated, my hand and brain still “remember” those little detail lines. When using reference photos and a large format, I grid the canvas and the photo to make sure I get the proportions right. This canvas is my largest so far, “30 x 40”.  

This is about two hours in of painting. I’m blocking in the major lights, darks and mid-tones. I usually start with the darks, then the lights, and middle last. I follow the contours of the bear, imagining his muscle underneath and lay down the strokes in the direction that his fur would fall.

The end of Day 1. This is at about four hours painting, not including drawing the image. I’ve added the light on his nose and his eyes (my favorite part!) The eyes help me focus on the image and make it more interesting for the long haul. Understand that right now, this is all Block-In…every centimetre of what I’ve already painted will be painted over again and again…the joys of acrylic, and glazing! But it’s necessary. That’s what gives you the depth and realism. It’s like constructing the bear, hair by hair!

A Day at the Beach

A Day at the Beach – unfinished, maybe–12″x16″ oil
Okay…this is what I’ve been working on for a few days. The color isn’t the best in the photo. The sand looks the same color as his skin, and that’s not the case. It’s actually a lot lighter. I don’t know if I’m happy with it yet, but my husband says STOP! I don’t want to overwork it, but I feel like it maybe needs something on the right hand side…a blue bucket? I think maybe the green shovel should be blue, too, but I don’t know…Does it feel balanced?  Am I done? I’m putting it away for a few days so I don’t have to look at it for awhile, but your input and honest critiques would be so appreciated:) Sometimes one just gets stuck, and can’t see what they’re looking at anymore. 
Thanks in advance!!

A Farmer’s Work…

In the past few years, I’ve become increasingly more interested in natural, sustainable eating and health. This image from Wetcanvas spoke to me of going back to the natural, safe way of eating…hard work, and “real life” instead of the pounding onslaught of consumerism. I want to have a better life. One where we slow down, and enjoy what we’ve made, and smell the clean air, and be in nature. 

This is the photo, on my computer monitor which I routinely work from instead of photos. I like that I can enlarge sections, play with the color and contrast, and crop it till it works. So much of the preliminary stuff can be done on the computer instead of spending hours doing sketches and color studies. I admit, I’m a bit lazy when it comes to that stuff…
So here’s my set up. I don’t have a fancy studio. I don’t have optimal lighting, I have to do the best I can with what I have. Which is a really bright kitchen!:) The thing I absolutely love about my house is all the windows. They wrap around the whole house, filling it with natural light from all directions…which isn’t so great for painting still lifes, but it works for now.
And here’s the beginning stages of my new painting.  I’ve covered the canvas in a thin layer of acrylic in a light, misty green. I think it was Payne’s Grey, Burnt Umber, and Hooker’s Green, mixed with Gesso. I mixed the top section a little greener, and the bottom a little browner, as it will be tilled soil.
I did a grid with vine charcoal for this one, as it’s fairly large, and I wanted to make sure I got the horse bums all in the right place:) You can see the ghost of it where I rubbed it out. I like vine charcoal because it doesn’t really muddy your colors if you paint over it, and it wipes or rubs off very easily. Here, I’ve just drawn in the basic outlines of the main elements and started a block in of the basic colors for the first two horses and the farmer. I try to remember that it’s cool light, so the shadows will be warmer, and I also want the painting to have a mistier, more atmospheric look, so I’m lessening the contrast and cooling out the colors a bit more than in the photo.
Next post will be stage two…now I have to go paint it!
Cheers!

“In Progress” 24″x36″

Here is the first step in my new painting. This is pretty much about 6-7 hours of work. I’ve pretty much worked out the drawing, I’ll fix any glitches in the painting stage, as I’m getting tired of erasing rooftops! In the painting, most of the buildings, with the exception of the Duomo, will be merely suggested, but I felt that I needed to draw them in nonetheless, in order to get the perspective right.
I’ll post the next installment soon. Cheers!