Saturday, July 29, 2017

Nature's Bounty, Step 2

Gridding and drawing the image

First I chose a 16 x 20 linen canvas for the painting and gridded it lightly with soft vine charcoal in inch increments, and numbered the columns and rows.
Toned canvas gridded with one-inch squares.

Then I printed out the image on regular bond paper, glued it to a piece of scrap cardboard, taped a piece of Saran Wrap to it, then drew a grid corresponding to the grid on the canvas. Again I numbered the columns and rows.
The gridded photo, 20 columns across, 16 rows down.
 Then very carefully, square by square, I transferred the image to the canvas substrate with more soft vine charcoal.  I have now accurately enlarged the drawing to the size I want to paint it. I'm still trying to decide on the background.
The charcoal drawing on the canvas.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Nature's Bounty, Step 1

Preliminary decisions

On my recent trip to Germany, we often drove by this biergarten (beer garden) that had this neat wagon parked outside.  I finally couldn't stand it any more, and requested that we pull over into the parking lot so I could photograph it. I knew it would make a great prop for a painting, but at that point didn't really know how. The more I looked at it I thought it would be great if it were filled with flowers and cascading bouquets. I figured at that point, I'd probably use the original background.

Source photo for wagon painting

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Yesterday's Shadows, Final Step

Finishing the Painting

I finished up Oma in the top window, refining the drawing so now her arm is on the windowsill and she's looking down at the cat. I've also added some more cascading flowers, and lightened Oma's house.  I signed my name in the lower left-hand corner. Done!
Yesterday's Shadows, 24 x 16, oil on linen

Monday, July 17, 2017

Yesterday's Shadows, Step 7

Oma in the Window

From the very beginning of this painting, I knew I wanted "Oma" in one of the windows. Since this is an historic German town, an "Oma" (a German grandmother) was appropriate. But where to put her?

First I auditioned her (again on plastic wrap) in the second story window looking out.  It looked a little odd, since it was a skinny window and she looked really cramped.
Oma in second story window

 Then I decided to try her in the top window. She's just roughed in and I will think she needs to look down more at the cat.  I also had to replace the plant in the window where I first put "Oma."
I've also added some pink flowers along the alley. I like the way the eye moves around now, from the pink flowers to the cat, up the dark building, across the angled beam, and on up to "Oma."  Even though she's not the center of interest: the light at the end of the alley is, it's nice to have her there to lend some life to the scene.
Oma in top window looking out.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Yesterday' Shadows, Step 6

More Painting and Refining

Again, working my way down from top to bottom, I developed the buildings on the left, making sure they all made sense.  The windows, shutters and overhangs are all architectural characteristics peculiar to southern Germany, so I want to make them interesting and convincing.  I love the textures, everything from the stucco facades to the timbered sides.

After finishing the left, I then worked on the right side. The street lights are a great addition and help move your eye into the distance. Then I did the cobblestone alley, which was a delight to paint.  What fun!

At this stage, I've roughed in the plants, the planters, figured out what to do at the end of the alley.
I will add more flowers and I want to put in a cat.

I stepped back from the painting, and saw a very bothersome tangent line.  The center vertical line of the middle street lamp lined up exactly with the edge of the building behind it.  So I moved in about 3/16" to the left.  A pain to do, but necessary.

Cat roughly painted on plastic wrap and positioned in front of one of the doorways.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Yesterday's Shadows, Step 5

Refining the Painting

Working back to front, I develop the sky a bit more, altering the shapes of the clouds, and adding a light mixture of phthalo green and white as I near the horizon, where the sky always gets warmer. 

Then I start on the buildings in the idea today is to paint that sliver of buildings in the light, and get the contrast established between them and the darker buildings. I work on the windows and the timbered facades, scumbling some lights over the dark lay-in to give them a weathered look. I'm not too worried about straight lines, as these building are so old, that nothing is straight any more.

On the left hand building, I used a warm orange-gray mixture as there is a lot of reflected light bouncing up off the alley.  The other side of the buildings will be cooler.

Refining the painting, back to front


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Yesterday's Shadows, Step 4

The color lay-in

With my palette laid out with the following colors, titanium white, cad yellow light, yellow ochre, cad orange, cad red light, permanent madder deep (alizarin crimson substitute), ultramarine blue, phthalo blue, phthalo green, and ivory black, I add color to the burnt umber underpainting. I try to get as close as possible to the finished colors, but there's a lot I'm still roughing in. It's better to be darker at this point, so if I need to scumble a lighter color on top, it will be effective.

In my head I hear Daniel Greene's words:  "light against dark, warm against cool."  I want as much contrast as possible of the tall houses against the lit ones at the back of the alley. I mix a lot of grays.  There's not a whole lot of color in this painting. When I was in Germany, I noticed that the red roofs are more like a combo of burnt sienna with a little orange added, as they are the color of red clay.

Color lay-in