Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Artist in Residence Week

 As always I had a marvellous week at Nature In Art Museum and Art Gallery as their artist in Residence. Although it was an unexpectedly quiet week, considering they had a new exhibition just open, I had enough folks coming in the studio to see what I was up to to stop me getting lonely and I got a good amount of painting done into the bargain.

I started the week working on the two bulls painting. I got the trunk of the right hand bull blocked in and then moved onto putting the texture and detailing in on the head and altered the front leading leg a bit. To get the feel of the skin being dust covered and caked in mud I use a dry brush over the blocked in sections. Once that was done I then moved onto the left hand bull putting in the lower sections. Then in my enthusiasm to keep going, as I was about to start the ear, I remembered I had to stop there to allow the lower sections and trunk of the other ellie, I had painted over the last two days, to dry before continuing.

As this painting is to be of specific individuals, I took care to suggest the creases and folds on the forehead and trunk from the photo reference I had. These lines form a pattern unique to the individual, so I am trying to get them right. The other telltale markers are the ears and tusks. I would not be so fussy if my painting was not to depict named individuals and was more generic. I'm hoping Dr Kate Evans of The Elephants For Africa Trust can identify the two bulls so that I can name them in the title of this piece. 

So I then started the next painting of the three bulls crossing the flood plain, as I described in my last post. I roughly sketched in the tree line with pale green paint thinned with liquin and then with a similar thinned mix of burnt sienna I drew in the elephants and was pleased that my feel for them was improving as I needed few alterations to my freehand drawings to sketch them in. Obviously when I come to paint them there will be refinements, for example enlarging the head on the bull to the far left.

Once that had dried over night I went over the whole canvas with a thin burnt sienna wash (thinned again with liquin to speed the drying time up) I then pushed the easel into the line of the heater airflow and fiddled about with other things and had long chats with folks whilst it dried for an hour or so.

I then did a mix of white, ultramarine and alizarin crimson with liquin for the sky and applied it to the canvas, including the deep edge sides and top. Once it was on, I felt it was a little too dark, so I paled it down a little with white, working wet into wet. 

Again I waited for it to dry for an hour or so before starting to add in the tree line, working as I always do from the horizon coming forwards as I progress through the scene. The photo I printed from my computer  of the background did not show up the lovely warmth of red tones in the reeds and vegetation so I am adjusting my painting to compensate for that. 

This is as far as I got before I had to stop and pack up to come home. I hope to continue this at home over the coming weeks as and when I can inbetween finishing off the larger two bulls painting.

Thank you to all those who popped in to see me, whether planned or by accident, it was lovely to see and meet you. I hope to be back there next year again.

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