Saturday, September 29, 2012

Trigger Hit the Showers Last Night!

This is what he looked like before I went wild with the ultramarine blue.

And after ...
I don't know why I use it. I almost always end up with a fiasco.

I went to bed around 10:30 last night, and had to get up at midnight to take good ol' Trigger for a shower. I let it dry overnight, and then started playing with it after I rode Bruno.

This is after several thin applications. I use relatively thin paint, apply with a large soft sable round, and then blend as I imagine one blends oil paint, with a stiffer, synthetic flat.  

I have used this technique successfully, I believe, with these two other horse portraits.
This is Bruno, looking very suave and debonair.

This is my mare Sweetie, who is no longer with me. She was a gorgeous girl!

As ever and always, your comments are most welcome.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Trigger Transmogrified

I had the portrait at this stage, and called the owner over to see what she thought of it so far.   She said it was a very good likeness of Trigger, but ...
Kim did not want to criticize my work. I had to worm it out of her - she wanted the background darker to really show him off. I had not taken Kim as being dramatic - NEVER assume! 

I did one w/w wash, using 2 mixtures of ultramarine blue, quin. red and quin. burnt orange. I let it dry and set for a day. I thought it was too blue and needed to be darker, so ...

I did another w/w wash with a purply-gray made of the same 3 pigments.  I believe it is darker and grayer than it appears here, but the ultramarine is so overpowering, that's all you can see. Now that the background is dark, I can go in and darken Trigger's features and shadows. That was another of Kim's queries.

As always, your comments are most welcome.

While Working on Trigger ...


Laid in a wash of cobalt blue and alizarin.

Several glazes of aureolin, new gamboge and quin. burnt orange.

More quin. burnt orange, quin. siena and a green mixture.
The dark is my favorite orange, purple, blue mixture.

Same blue and red mix for shadow. Again, quin. burnt orange, quin. violet and aureolin.

Same colors, just intensifying them with a w/w wash in the shaded area.

Why these are cock-eyed, I don't know. They are aligned properly in my album.
Anyway, same red and blue for the shadow and the graded wash.

I'm pretty much using the same colors with all three leaves.
All are small pieces - less than 60 square inches. Just something to play with, while working on Trigger.

As always, your comments are most welcome.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Oh ... This and That ...

I finally took my "bete noire" to my framer yesterday, after doing a quick touch up and signature. I lifted the water-line in front of the city, and also lifted some implied reflections.  I went all out with the framing, and I may even like it when it's done. The mat is an off-white, with a thin bordering mat of gray - the same color as my signature. That was not planned, but it turned out to be the best color for an accent.

I have a desire to paint something slightly weird and dark. The work of Giuseppe Arcimboldo has always intrigued me, and I think I will borrow a page from his book, so to speak, and use some of my family photos for portrait reference. 

Needing something else to play with while working on Trigger, I did this quick study of hollyhock buds. It's 20 x 11 cm.

The lad is coming along slowly, as I gradually do thin glazes on his face.   I might even finish him today.  I just got a call from the receptionist at work; my whole day tomorrow fell apart, so I don't go to the office till Friday.  I've also badly pulled my hamstring muscle riding, so I won't be riding much for a few days [or sitting!].  So I'll have to get some more painting projects started.

As always, your comments are most welcome!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Trigger's Saga


I used the study I had done earlier to play with the background. I thought this too dark.

I sponged off some of the pigment, and came out with this.

I also did a work-sheet, to see exactly how the colors would play out.

This is the portrait itself. I think it may be more intense in reality than this, but it gives you an idea of the background.  I used grayed hues of lavender, cooler at the top and right, and warmer below, hopefully to give it a sense of depth. Next I will go in to finish the horse image.
That's painting for this morning. Off to clean up the Big Guy's paddock, and go for a ride.

As always, your comments are most welcome. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Finishing What I Started ...


There are a lot of "mistakes" in this one that I can't repair, but I've taken it to a decent conclusion.

I was going to leave this here, but glancing at it before I went to work yesterday, I thought to myself - there is no pattern, cohesion - try playing with the shadows. 

So I did ...

... and also glazed some of the leaves.

I have a habit, and I'm sure we all do this to varying degrees, of starting a new project with great enthusiasm, and then getting bogged down in frustration and disgust. I appreciate that my painting is technically OK, but often lacks a sense of unity and completion. That must be my impatient side! I'd also like very much to bring a bit more 'meaning' and emotional depth  into my work. This should keep me busy for a few years. :)

As always, your comments are most welcome!

Monday, September 17, 2012

"PENSEES" - Start to Finish

I started very w/w, with the board at a slant. I don't usually do that, but I really liked how the paint flowed for the beginning of the portrait.

The hair and the post were started w/w.

Thicker color, painted wet on dry for the definition of the hair.

Work on her features and the shadowing.

Almost finished here. This photo was taken outside, and gives a much better idea of the true colors.

Just a bit of fussy detail work around the eyes.

In general, I am quite pleased with this portrait.  If I were to have done anything differently, it would be to do more w/w  of the shadows and pink coloring of the face. To my eye, it looks a bit patchy, especially around the nose. But all in all, I am happy with it. And I am LOVING doing portraits!!!

As always, your comments are most welcome.

PS - If anyone is interested in it, the portrait is 10 3/4 x 8 1/4 in., and for sale.