Monday, October 31, 2011

A bit looser

After a number of small paintings (using little brushes) I felt it was time for a bigger looser piece.

Ever since that exciting morning in Labrador when almost one thousand caribou crossed the lake and delighted eight wildlife artists, I have wanted to paint a running herd. It was the second week of October and we had been waiting for a big group for over a week and wondering if we missed the migration. Would we only see small groups? Was there no chance for the thrill of massive numbers crossing our paths? Long hikes over rugged terrain had yielded a few nice reference photos. Still, our small group longed for that one chance to experience thundering hooves and a blur of caribou.

Three of us had left camp early for a long scouting hike. We were on a ridge and Steve Oliver glanced over at the lake. There in the early morning light huge V's of caribou were crossing and heading straight for us. We had just enough time to prepare before that first group left the water, climbed the ridge and passed by us. It didn't stop there. Wave after wave of caribou followed them.

I decided to make this an elongated painting in hopes to enhance the feel of a moving herd. The piece is 12" X 30". As usual, I start with my drawing on a gessoed untempered hardboard which I then "seal" with a raw sienna + burnt sienna wash. After about 15 minutes when that light wash is dry, I add more paint to the turpentine and I wash in a value study. This gives me a feeling of the lights and darks in the painting.

Here I have started with the early morning sky.

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