Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Less is More...More or Less

I've been sitting staring at this painting for the last two weeks as I've worked on the two little paintings. I know other artists understand the fear that keeps one from going back to a painting that seems to be coming together well. This one I had to stop on after blocking in the white of the foreground snow - Titanium white is notoriously slow-drying. I put it where I see it every day - I can't seem to put things out of sight as I know many artists do, I have to obsess over it somewhat, and work on that fear that keeps it on the shelf perhaps longer than it should be there!

I liked the feeling of this one from the start, even though it didn't have as tight a roadmap as I often work with. I've become intrigued with low-light situations in the last year. Typically, it seems, artists are drawn towards high contrast, and I think, personally those images are the easiest to work with. Lowlight, and backlight like this one, are a bit harder to pull off. The digital camera helps immensely with this - I can look at a photo in Photoshop and bring up detail in the shadows that lets me do what I need to do.

The challenge with this one, besides the backlight, is how much detail to put into the setting. The trees and brush behind the fillies in my photo reference are quite busy, and I don't want to repeat that - it would distract too much. Tonight I mostly battled with working on that balance, of making the background "read" right without it taking over. From here I'm sure I'll be doing a bit of going back an forth - background, to horses, to foreground, and around again!

Last night I was working on Curlin again. I didn't put a lot of work into it, just blocked in some colour - the silks, breechs, saddle towel and tack. Again I'm dealing with slow-drying colours, so this one will have to sit before I work some more. For a small painting, it's taking a while! Naturally I've done the most work on the horse!

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