Sunday, November 21, 2010

Don't Die For Your Art

This painting is 18x24 inches. It is on a support of burlap laid down on hard wood panel. One of my favorite subjects, this group of bison except for baby has been familiar to me for years. I got relatively close to them to complete sketches. Baby appeared quite interested, and studied me. She came quite close on several occasions, and the adults appeared to be getting more nervous as time went on. This is a large male bison, and a female baby, recently born. He appeared very gentle with this baby, and never took his eyes off of me. They finally had enough of me, and the entire group started moving toward me, and I decided to head back for the fence. They moved quicker and I felt the heels of my shoes hitting the back of my shoulders. I dove through the electric fence, and rolled. Dirty, but happy to not have a bison horn stuck in my ribs.

The colors for this painting were cadmium yellow light, yellow ocher, burnt sienna, burnt umber, red iron oxide, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, titanium white. The medium was amber varnish, added in small amount to the paint nuts, to stiffen them, and create a more impasto effect. Since the support was burlap, with large interstices, it took a great deal of paint. There is still more work that needs to be done; mainly with the backgound tree line, and in the fur.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


This is a little further along that the image below, but still a lot to do. Much detail work, including slight color and value changes throughout. Without the gradations, the form would be off. This is the stage of a painting when it helps to have very good quality paint, that is highly pigmented, and a has a loose texture. The changes will need to be scrubbed on thin, but a medium will also need to be added, to insure proper adhesion, and to protect the integrity of subsequent layers, by the addition of increasing amounts of oil, with each sucessive layer.

This is an 11x14 oil painting, for practice. For this one, I am working in layers. Rather than my usual charcoal drawing, which is then fixed with shellac, I used a toned canvas panel, and drew with paint and brush to establish shapes. Then I painted the image. When this is dry, I will change brushes, and focus on details, including values and color.
The paint for this was titanium white, burnt umber, burnt sienna, raw sienna, Venetian red, yellow ocher, ultramarine blue, and cobalt violet. I made the titanium white and Venetian red by hand. The Venetian red pigment came from Sinopia, and the titanium white was from Kremer Pigments.
The mediums for this were cold pressed linseed oil, and a medium composed of stand oil, Canada Balsam, and oil of Spike.