Monday, September 30, 2019

Not so fast

Today I started painting a new piece. The composition will be a bit tricky with the ice but at least the sky was pretty straightforward.
Mixing just the right color I went to work brushing it on. Unlike most of my skies, the most effective way to represent this sky was with a single mixed color applied with differing thicknesses over the toned background.
After carefully blending the brushstrokes I stepped back. No, the color was too light.
Okay, I'll just mix a darker color and blend it in. All blended with a soft brush and I stepped back.
 No, the color was too blue.

At this point, the easiest thing to do was scrape off all the paint and remix a new color. Some of the old color would remain which in this case would be fine. New color mixed, applied, and blended with my soft brush (which was now pretty thick with paint so I also used another blending brush.)
 I stepped back. No, not right.

I scraped off the paint and took a lunch break.

With renewed focus I returned to my easel. I've known all along the color I wanted but my head was getting in the way. It is a color which on the palette does not look like it belongs in the sky. My artist eyes knew in this painting it did. A remix and it worked. The whole process was not as fast as I had thought it would be because I had to let go.


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Almost Finished

28" X 20"
Original Oil

Since I took this photo of the painting I have made a few modifications. Some of the touches throughout included a greater distinction between the cat's nose/mouth/chin and the tree, and some darker areas in the foreground.

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.