Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Poison Tree II

Posted by: Kate

Last episode recap: colour studies, something something, painted faces, something something, painted clothes and nearly flipped out on cloak but then it was okay...

This episode: landscape stuff and finishing!  First up is the apple tree.  The gritty and impastoed surface was applied with a combination of drybrush scumbling for the darks and palette knife impastoes for the lights, with the intention of going back into it all before wrap up to glaze and scumble into it further.

And then, with all the fun stuff used up, I'm now left with a whole lotta background to fill.  Yes, I am a dessert first kind of person.

In real life, there are no mountains behind my models, and there is no barn, or cedar trees, or house.  That thing that dazzled your eyes just now is my artistic license, baby.



I find landscape very challenging.  I did do the Hudson River Fellowship years ago, and without that, I'd be really lost.  And yet, I know I approach landscape painting like a still life painter.  I like to paint each little tree and each little blade of grass, approaching the whole scene object by object instead of treating the whole thing as one big abstract visual impression which cannot be reduced to components, but exists as a gestalt.  I had to keep reminding myself while painting the landscape above to paint the landscape, and not the parts.  In Dad Joke language, you gotta paint the forest and not the trees!  GET IT.

And now for another pass on the hands.  Loving those little knuckle dimples.

Below I start to do the final pass on Paul's face.  You can see me start off by laying down broad areas of colour.  I darken his whole face in this final stage.

And finally, hair!  You know how weird it is to have to request that your models don't have their hair cut for the month leading up to their photo shoot?  I've done it more than once.  I just hate super short hair on little boys.  It needs to have some Pantene commercial oomph to it.  What really makes strawberry coloured hair like this work in a painting is purple.  Purple purple purple.  I dump a little ultramarine blue plus alizarin crimson into the half light and reflected light areas.  It makes the coppery highlights really pop.

Emily's hair and face also get a final pass.  I had to be careful to keep her face darker than Paul's, since she is lurking behind that tree trunk.  It's that little bluish highlight on her temple that really makes her face work. 

And it's finally time for some foliage.  I had a lot of fun with these leaves.  I mixed up some massive quantities of about five shades of green and I then trowled them on with a broad, sharp flat.  In person they do come across as quite brushstroke-y.

By now the painting was mostly done, but I still was having trouble with the foreground.  The grass looked like it was painted by someone who had had grass described to them once, so I betook myself the outdoors and set up my painting in front of a tree that had some overgrown grass and wildflowers at it's base.  The results were predictably better.  I also took an evil looking red apple outside with me and painted it with the outdoor like hitting it just right.  Below is the painting at the end of my outdoor session.

And for your viewing pleasure, here are some close up pictures of the finished painting:

Remember how I foreshadowed that I would go back into that tree bark?  I ended up doing some nifty glazing and scumbling over top of the impastoing.

And, because it's all a bunch of art nerds reading this, here are the head studies I did as prep work back when I was developing the idea for this painting:

Now I'm not saying you should click here to check out the auction, but click here to check out the auction.  Auction ends on August 10th.