Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Painting in Progress

It has been a little while since I have posted a painting in progress.
So, here is my latest.

I had a great cougar reference photo which I took. Often I have to use 5, 10, even 15 reference photos which I have taken to build a painting, but this one was just about perfect. I loved his body position and the perspective, but there were a number of issues which despite the pluses above, made the image a bit dull.

Photo by Linda Besse

While his body had a dramatic pose, the head was down. This would not necessarily be a bad thing, but in this case, the lowered head lowered the drama. The mouth was funny. His eyes almost looked cross-eyed. The sky was boring. The lighting...not very exciting.

My plan: raise the head, fix the mouth, set the eyes on the viewer, have dramatic light on his side, have a dark stormy background.  Once the drawing was completed it was time for the next stage.

Here I have done a raw sienna/burnt sienna turpentine value wash. The wash on the cougar doesn't speak to the dramatic lighting I envision. Once I start using color, I will play with the lighting. I want his right side (what we see on the left) to be hit with sunlight. Also, I haven't played with any sky detail during this stage.

As I start painting, I am thinking of the light hitting the cougar's side. It has to have a source (upper left) and for more drama, I want a dark sky to touch him on that side. Here, I am just adding paint and will blend once the paint is blocked in. As an interesting note, I still have the same blending brush from my very first paintings.....ever. The brush bristles are in fine shape even though there are very few paintings in which I have not used it. Granted, the paint on the handle has seen better days.

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