Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Main Attraction

Now that the stage is set, time for the main attraction.

I've found a curious thing about spending time in polar bear country. I'll spend hours in a small willow blind scanning the horizons for polar bears. Just when I know I've spotted one, a quick look through the binoculars will reveal a large shiny....... boulder. Twenty minutes later and the sun reflecting off another boulder looks just like a polar bear.
But, when a polar bear comes in to view it is so obvious. Their white hollow fur almost glows and there is nothing quite like it. Then I wonder how I could have ever mistaken a glacial erratic for this magnificent creature.

It is that glow which the background is designed to enhance.

My fully adjustable hand rest helps me work in the middle of the painting when the lower section is wet.

I mixed three main colors for the sunlit part of the bear. A base warm yellow-white, a bright white (titanium white and cadmium yellow deep), and a warm peach.

Some of the cool colors I mixed for the ice and snow are used for his rump and the back of his legs.

Almost done.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Frozen Salt Water

This next section I was most worried about. The top of it (starting in the lower third of the painting) needed to look further away than the very bottom of the painting.

Growing up in New England I had the chance to spend some time looking at (and occasionally walking on) frozen salt water. Adding to that some artist time in Iceland and Antarctica, could I translate those experiences into a believable chunky "bed" of frozen salt water?

There are three painting rules which could help me:
1.) distant landscapes have less contrast
2.) distance is generally less vibrant
3.) distance has softer edges

While the illusion of depth is not a great distance in this section, I kept the above rules in mind so the bottom did not look vertical.

Above I have the underlying connecting slush painted.

 Foreground ice completed.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Cold Reflection

I find water reflections such fun to explore. They can be detailed mirror images, soft reflections, or quite abstract (as in my previous tiger painting, see post August 15.)
Here I am aiming for a soft reflection which I think adds to the feeling of cold stillness in the painting.

I start by blocking in the colors. The darkest colors of the block of ice will be lighter in the reflection and the lightest will be darker, all toned by the water color.

All the reflection colors are painted and you can see the start of the soft blending of them on the right side of the reflection.

Breaking up the reflection with frozen chunks (with their own reflections) completes this section.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Block of Ice

It was this block of ice which helped inspire the composition. Some of the more intense teal color in the shadowed area is with a mixture including Michael Harding's Phthalocyanine Blue Lake oil paint.

Generally my whites are a mixture of titanium white with a touch of cadmium yellow deep. Here, in the sunlit area of the block, I have a bit of gray in the mix. I want to save my warmest "white" for the bear.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Cold water

Much of the open water is one of the original colors mixed for the sky. (See post Not so Fast)

Thursday, October 3, 2019


I've mixed colors from a very light gray-blue (titanium white and paynes gray) to a darker rich gray-blue (with some ultramarine blue and other blues.) To warm up some areas a couple of the colors have a smidgen of raw umber. There are about 7 newly mixed colors on my palette. Using two small angle brushes and one larger angle brush, I am painting my way down.