Friday, September 13, 2019

Next steps

Adding the middle ground seems to give the piece more weight, helping with depth. At this stage, I was finding the bottom a bit distracting but tried to ignore that as grasses will cover a lot of it.

The spruce grouse has been painted. I've lightened it so it does not appear as a big dark blob and disrupt the flow and focus of the painting. The grouse is still in the normal range of feather colors but does not instantly draw one's focus. You see the mountain lion's movement and then wonder what he is going after before you see the grouse.

When I first started painting the mountain lion its colors didn't seem rich enough. I wanted its warmth to contrast with the coolness of the vegetation.  Grabbing some richer yellows, reds, cadmium orange, and burnt sienna is helping with bringing out a more vibrant coat.

Monday, September 9, 2019

New painting - Mountain lion

I've had this idea for a while and since I have been in "big cat mode", now seemed the right time.
The concept was pretty straight forward - cat climbing tree after a bird. The execution contained some surprises which required alterations to my original design.

A soft background was painted to aid in the feeling of depth.  No sharp edges and muted colors. The slope of the hillside is the opposite direction of the cat's upward movement.

Here I have started with a tree bough. I find it easiest if I mix three separate greens as base colors. Other colors will be added depending on whether parts of the branch are in sun or shade. My plan is also to have another tree in the upper right which is closer to the foreground.

It was clear to me that when I was done with the tree the mountain lion is climbing that the tree in the upper right would just not work. With its trunk out of sight, it would only add confusion to which branch belonged to which tree. My original thought was to make its boughs warmer but I decided that would not make enough of a separation. Back to refreshing all the sky colors and painting them over where the other tree would have been.
This for me is the ugly stage. The tree is okay (maybe needs some more warmth on the trunk) and I like the sky but the painting feels flat. Time to press through that feeling and work on the small trees and brush in the middle ground.

Friday, August 30, 2019

To print or not to print...

That is the question.
Artists take different approaches to this question. I know one artist who makes prints of every painting. There are others who never make limited edition copies.
Most of us are somewhere in between. From my roughly 40 oil paintings a year I average making two into limited edition canvas giclee prints.

So, how do I choose?
Occasionally I have a client who would like a canvas giclee print of a painting I have done and I decide the image would fit into my print selections.
More often, I have one painting each year which I believe would have broad appeal.

The proofing process is a time-consuming project. With my professional printer we constantly tweak the canvas print until it looks like the painting when they are placed side by side. It is not uncommon for the printer to use more than 8 separated layers to achieve the desired result. A part of the water might be adjusted differently than a small section of the reflected head. A little more peach here, more contrast there, more saturation over here. Even with scanning directly from the original, tiny alterations are essential. If I painted it this way, why have the canvas print look differently?

Once all the adjustments are made, it is time to decide on sizes and how many. My largest giclee canvas editions are a total of 75 which can include three different sizes. I have some editions which are only 35 prints at one size.

Stealth - Amur Tiger (see post below) will have canvas giclee prints available. I've decided on three sizes: the original (24" X 34"), 17" X 24", and 12" X 17."  I haven't decided how many in each size, but the total will probably be 65 or less.

I'd like to share two more thoughts on prints.
First, some artists believe that to call a copy a print, it must be an original print, hand pulled. I treat the subject with the common public perception in mind. Many understand the word print as the old method of off-set lithographs. I do canvas giclee "prints" and make the details clear in my Certificate of Authenticity.
Secondly, some artists like to hand enhance their canvas giclees. I am not a fan of hand-enhancing. It can confuse the collector with a piece that is somewhere between a print and an original. If the artist is hand-enhancing to make the piece look more like the original, they might want to find a printer with the expertise to do that. And, if I want to put paint on something, it will be an original. Another consideration is that the longevity of the paint on top of archival inks and canvas is unknown.

Thursday, August 15, 2019


Stealth - Amur tiger
24" X 34"
Original oil painting

The colors might seem a bit different than you have seen in the posts leading up to the finish. The above image is from a scan of the painting - a more accurate representation of the painting than the quick in-progress photos with my phone.

Thanks for following along! 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

More fur

Above, almost done with the non-white fur color. Just the tail remaining.

Below, the white fur (titanium white and cadmium yellow deep) on the tiger is painted. I've also repainted all or portions of the stripes. In painting the more orange fur, much of each stripe was covered. By painting the stripes first, then the orange fur, then the stripes again, I am able to blend the fur colors into each other creating a more natural looking coat.

Next up, sparkles in the water, revisiting the tiger reflection, and the leaves.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

The tiger

The eyes are the first part of the animal I usually paint. They help give the rest of the painting life.

Even though most of the stripes will be repainted to blend into the golden orange coat, I like to paint them next.

 For passages like these, I like to use a small flat angle brush. Each stroke lays in a block of color in the direction of the cat's fur. The "white" of the coat will be last.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Tiger reflection

When I started the reflection of the top of the tiger's head I realized that my color was not dark nor rich enough. So, I increased the intensity with burnt sienna and burnt umber to give the section that pop. Some of the deeper colors are also repeated throughout the reflection.

The sections of lightest white reflection have been added.
Note: I have kept the white in the reflection dull by painting it a light gray. This will help the reflection read like it is in the water.