Sunday, December 16, 2012

Starting a painting

From where do painting ideas come? For me the answer is almost as varied as the paintings. Many are from my travels (and adventures.) This time it was a memory jog. In the April issue of Western Art Collector I saw a painting by Tom Browning titled Gold Dust on the Trail. It grabbed my attention. Since it was not a subject matter which normally draws me (a cowboy on a horse), it had to be something else.

I studied the painting and remembered the paintings of N.C. Wyeth who often used a shadowed foreground and a light background to create drama. One example which I saw at the Brandywine River Museum a number of years ago is his painting Jim Hawkins Leaves Home.

I have wanted to do a large zebra piece for a while and now I had my concept, light background - shadowed foreground. Next, I searched through thousands of reference photos I took in Africa and found some backlit zebra which could work as a guide for my drawing.

Above is the drawing on my gessoed board. I have added a turpentine wash of raw sienna and burnt sienna. The areas which will be dark have more color in the turp wash.

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