Saturday, February 03, 2007
In The Still of the Night....
Well, all right, yes, it has been a looooong time since I've done and update here. Don't worry, I've been busy. On top of the barn full of horses plus three others to care for at a second location, I had a substantial commission drop in my lap. Details aren't finalized, so for the moment it's still hush-hush. I'll be keeping your posted.
My days right now are completely scattered -- I've been doing foal watch for the last two weeks, staying up all night for the last week when the resident broodmare, Clever, began to wax. Her January 31st due date has now come and gone, so naturally I think it's high time she got on with it! Truth is I'm adapting, I've gotten used to being up all night. Sometimes I paint till 3AM, until the work is at risk of a stray brush should I begin to nod off. I have a camera in the barn, thank goodness, so I can watch from a monitor in the kitchen. Naturally we've been having the coldest weather of the winter this last week, so I've been quite grateful for that! Worth every penny!
One of the pieces I've been working on is for the next EAGshow which will feature the artists' muse. Now, my muse is a no-brainer -- I don't know how many times I've painted Miss Monster, with many more hovering in my head waiting to be done. For the show, however, I decided to work with a photo I took of Monster and her mother, Sass, shortly before dear Sass was put down. I thought the photo captured Sass's sweetness, and Java's respect with just a hint of sadness. It's very low-light, so a different challenge from the more high constrast images I usually like to create. I'm working with a limited palette for this one, which was an easy decision given the subtle nature of the colour and tone.
I began this painting on the night shift, and have made good progress. First step was to quickly establish the drawing and some tones with burnt umber and ultramarine blue. After that I refined the underpainting a bit, using those two colours again as well as some titanium white. When I had it to my satisfaction, I let it dry before jumping in with the colour. Even the monocromatic underpainting has a lot of appeal, and it's often at this stage I get scared that I will lose the freshness of that stage.
So here you have some of those first steps: the inital drawing, the beginnings of the underpainting, and complete underpainting with the beginnings of colour. As I go I continue to revise and refine, until I have completely driven myself crazy and have to make myself stop before I completely blow it!
The painting is 20 x 16 on gallery wrap canvas. Title still in the works!