Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another Thought

I had another thought and used an old 11x14 piece of matboard to try to crop out those bad bird legs and found this cropped composition. Do you think this helps?

Thanks to Gwendolyn, Rhonda and Ruth for their encouragement and suggestions, they are appreciated. Even if I do crop this, I could go in with the suggested changes to the foliage, tree trunk and geese to strengthen them. My choice would be to crop this, but I will wait until or if I hear something to the contrary before I actually cut this. Right now it is sitting on the art table, allowing me to ponder before cutting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Drake with GF - Final Version Before the Round File

As I was the designated driver in our van with five other artists last night to the monthly AAG meeting, I was explaining that I was ready to pitch this painting and start again. BFF Barb was especially sorry to hear that since she saw what I was working on at the beginning. So, I decided to shamefacedly display it here as a permanent monument to remind myself that I need to paint much more often than I have lately and regain my "touch" (assuming I HAD one) with paint. This looks so amateurish to me that I cannot imagine how I let this happen. I do think I learned a few things in doing this, however:
  • I will forthwith NEVER use masking fluid to this degree AGAIN! I love the detail on the tree bark, but not the true whites I preserved with the masking fluid, they are too large (my masking fluid I had with me had thickened, preventing finer lines). Those twigs floating on the water being a case in point - if the whites get lost without the masking fluid, I will deal with it somehow, but not have to live with the shapes created with the masking fluid
  • I will look through my photos of this pair and find one with the female sitting and preening (she did that a lot, preen). Those legs are ridiculous
  • I absolutely love Prussian Blue and will use that more directly instead of so many glazes, using the mixed grays as glazes to tone down the shadow area
  • I will lose that levee in the background, it looks like it came from a child's coloring book - bad shape
  • I also did learn that I still LOVE painting for painting's sake. The time spent on creating this was very enjoyable to me and I need to get back to the state where I do not create such wooden shapes (like that levee) and just let what is inside my creative center come out and play. The not-so-frequent painting I have done for the past few months seems to have impaired some of that and I want to get back there again, soon! Come back instincts!
Pardon the stream-of-consciousness dribble this morning, but if I am to use this blog as a true journal you get to see the good with the bad. (I feel better now).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Drake and GF - WIP 2

I had some time today to add more modeling shadows to the fowl and increase the shadowy look of the background levee and water. I am thinking it is as important to darken the darks next to the lightest lights as it is to save the whites in the first place. The darker I go on the birds, the more their lightest parts glow. Cool. I am glazing, slowly, shadowy grays over the Prussian Blue for the water so it will soon lose some of the bright blue it shows here and I see now that it is on the screen that I need to correct that inadvertent "U" I got there with the tree reflections. Why I can't see these things as I am painting, I don't know!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Drake and Girlfriend

I attended a demonstration by a fellow artist last week, in which he demonstrated how to create better reference photos for paintings by using Photoshop CS4. I took good notes of the terms he used and searched through my Photoshop Elements 7 that I used. I found I was able to do much the same thing with this program and am happy with how this Notan turned out. A Notan is an improvement to the grayscale photos I used to print to show where the lights and darks are in a photo so I can save the white of the paper in the best spots. In the Notan above, I was able to see if I had the center of interest in the right place and had the darks and lights next to each other to enhance each other. I liked doing this and will continue now that I got it all figured out. My blogger-buddy, Rhonda, did a Notan earlier this year of some Flamingos, I think. It was good to have seen hers develop as the demonstration went on last week because I already had seen the benefit of doing this.

This is the underpainting and first phase of the painting, using the Notan to preserve the lights. As you can see I have covered the lights with green on the grassy area where these birds are standing, but I wanted the lights bouncing off the birds to be the whitest whites of the painting so decided to tone that area down below the birds and go darker when I put in the grass clumps.

I still have to apply quite a bit of modeling shading on both birds, but will finish the water areas, extend that "island" on the upper right past the tree a bit so it doesn't just end behind the tree. Bad move there, compositionally!

Busy weekend ahead, but I will try to work on this more.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Massai Point - Chiricahua's

This was a panorama I stitched together from eight photos. It was taken from an elevation of 6,870 feet elevation, which was the highest point on the road through the Chiricahua Nat'l Monument. Massai Point looks out toward the Cochise Stronghold area we visited earlier during the week we were in Benson.

Back Home Again Sunset

While we were on our Benson, AZ trip last week, I posted some of the glorious sunset photos I took while there. When we arrived home last Sunday, we were greeted with this great sunset, right over our house! This shot was looking down our street toward the west.

This was the shot over our side neighbor's house.

This was shot over our back neighbor's house, looking toward the south.

Chiricahua Slideshow

I created a short slideshow of just a few of the photos I took while in the Chiricahua National Monument, which is near Willcox, AZ. The rock formations were amazing!

The slideshow isn't long and I don't think you will be bored! To see it, just click here.


We returned from our Benson trip last Sunday, and we have been so busy that I neglected to even download from my camera the photos of our last day of exploring. I will just add this one photo as a tease, hopefully later today I can put together a slideshow of this wonderful area of Arizona. It was a total surprise to see so many hoo-doos at the Chiricahua Nat'l Monument, didn't expect that at all.