Friday, June 30, 2017

Yesterday's Shadows, Step 3

Laying in the burnt umber drawing and shadow pattern

Very carefully, with a rag in my left hand to wipe out the charcoal and my brush in my right hand, I follow the lines a little bit at a time. I am using burnt umber with Liquin, diluted with mineral spirits to follow the fat over lean regime.

I add some darker values on the roofs so I an get an idea where I'm going. This is such an important stage. If I don't like it at this point, I sure won't like it when I get color on it. 

At this point notice that I've moved some windows...the top left one was further to the right,  the second one down was barely noticeable because of some tangent lines, and the one at the lower left didn't even exist.  

The burnt umber under-painting

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Yesterday's Shadows, Step 2

The Drawing

Having cropped the photograph to my liking, I used my proportion wheel to decide what size canvas I would use and settled on a 24 x 16. 

With soft vine charcoal, I gridded the canvas in 2" increments. Sorry, I lost the photo of it.  :)

Then I printed out the jpg, laid a piece of plastic wrap over it, and gridded it to correspond. 

I then enlarged the photo onto the canvas, by drawing square by square.  To me this is the safest way to enlarge a complicated piece, without losing any of the subtleties.  See below:

At this point, I am only concerned with the placement on the canvas.  It is pretty loose, but I can't get too precise with the charcoal.

 I prepared the canvas by stretching Belgium linen on stretcher bars and then primed it with rabbit's skin glue and Gamblin's Alkyd Ground.  Several times a year I will undertake this procedure and do 10 to 12 canvases at a time in various sizes so that I have them available when I need them.  This particular one I prepared about four years ago.  On the back of each one, I attach a label with the preparation procedure and the date of completion.   

Monday, June 26, 2017

Yesterday's Shadows, Step 1

Planning the painting

Recently I returned from a painting trip to southern Germany and photographed many of the charming towns with red tiles roofs that have existed for centuries.  This will be my first painting from a town called Bad Urach at the foot of the Swabish Albs. As we were walking toward the center of town, I came across this scene and knew immediately that I had to paint it. Below is the original photo.
This is the original untouched photo, where you can see at the end of the alley a white paneled truck on the left and a large black opened door on the right.
Of course, I knew I had to do things with it.  With Photoshop and my artistic license in hand, I laid in streaks of sunlight across the cobblestone alley, added a tree coming on the left hanging over the wall, then added other flowering bushes along the way.  The major change was to substitute the ugly white paneled truck and black door with a photo of some houses extending the alley way.  Eventually, that whole area will be lit.  I also plan to put a cat in the shadows.