Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Sunworshippers WIP 1

I have wanted to paint this idea since last October but have had to wait until now to take some reference photos I could use.

Rebecca and I went to Toronto Islands last week for a lazy couple of hours on the beach. We went early so we could be away before the real heat of the day. It was a fascinating people watching exercise. A lot of people seem to take the whole sunbathing thing so seriously. There were some obvious pros there who did this regularly, placing the towel at just the right angle to the sun, bronzing lotion close at hand so as little movement as needed for re-application, sunshades on to take the glare of the sun away. Here is one who was a little less 'pro' but the angle of the photo was just what I needed.

The next day, while stocking up the cupboards with food we selected a couple of equally pro sun worshippers, some sunflowers. I was fascinated by the parallel between these sunflowers and the people we had seen the previous day, each following the sun’s movements, basking in its light and soaking up its warmth. This is a typical ref photo for me. I'm not worried about background. What I focus on is the light and position of my subject. I taped the flowers stem to the back of a chair so it would sit at just the angle I wanted.

I wanted to combine the sunflower and sunbather in my painting, both person and sunflower worshipping the sun. I won’t have time to start painting it until next week but thought you would enjoy seeing the outline I have created... meet 'The Sunworshippers'.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Exhibiton Acceptances!

I've had a great couple of days!

Yesterday I received a letter to say that 'MEH!' has been accepted into Watercolor West XLIII International Exhibition in California. I guess Alexander likes visiting California :) The painting 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang We Love You' which is of Alexander too is already In Northern California ready for the CWA exhibition!

and today I found out 'Identity' has been accepted into the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society 32nd International Exhibition.

I will need to get more art boxes  :)


Friday, July 15, 2011

The Pan Man

  I have had such fun playing with light in this painting. I really wanted to use the reflective qualities of the steel pan in the light to help me bring this character to life. As the reflected sunlight shines onto him from the inside of his steel pan it also seems to reflect his feelings about music... the rhythm and sound of the steel pan as he plays seems to light up his heart and soul and his whole body oozes with life, movement and colour. 


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Steel Drummer Wip 4

 Since, after painting his face, I had the skin colours all over my palette I decided to paint the musicians hand next. I had to change the lighting again from the ref photo because I want to create that feeling of reflected light from the pan shining up on his hand.

I also painted his sunglasses while I was waiting for the layers of paint to dry on his hand and finally the stick he is holding. Again I have changed the lighting on both. The sunglasses I made lighter on the bottom section as the reflected light from the pan would do this. I also did this to the stick too and changed the colour. I researched stick colours to make sure I got an authentic one :) I wanted it to be brighter than the wood one in the photo because it will help draw our eye there.

 Today I've been busy painting the musicians shirt. It  wasn't hard, just time consuming. I am really enjoying creating that glow of reflected light coming up from the inside of the shiny steel pan though. I still have quite a bit of his shirt to paint but here is a close up of my progress so far.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Steel Drummer WIP 3

I have been asked by several people now what the 'magic recipe' is for various skin tones and they are nearly all very surprised to hear that the colours I use are practically the same for all skin tones. The key is in the weighting of colours used during the underpinning stage. For the darker skin above the only colour I changed was to use the deeper perm Azilarin crimson for my pink rather than perm rose which I use for Caucasian skin. Here is a photo of the face section at the end of the underpinning stage before the skin tones were added.

I had to change the lighting on the face slightly from my reference photo because I want to create that feel of light being reflected up onto the player from the inside of the shiny steel pan as well as the sun shining from above onto the top of the head.

 I am now beginning to work on his hand and have just laid in the darkest areas. I always begin with these as I then have the darkest darks and lightest lights established from very early on in the process.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Honorable Mention from John Salminen!

I had some good news yesterday evening. My painting of Grandpa "Finishing Touches" that is currently on exhibition in the Pikes Peak Watercolor Society International Watermedia XVII was awarded an Honorable Mention by the juror John Salminen.

Unfortunately I was not able to be at the award ceremony but a very good friend of mine Jan was able to be there to represent me. Here she is accepting the award on my behalf with John and Loren the president of PPWS. Thank you Jan for everything you have done for me this week. You have really made me feel part of the events of the week as well as the exhibition itself.

Thanks too John for the award and the thumbs up!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Steel Drummer WIP 2

I have now finished the background for this painting. I chose to create this macro steel pan background to accentuate the feeling of being 'in' the music. The painting, to me, is not about the people who were watching him but the man's  involvment in the music and his obvious love of the instrument and the sounds it can create. I have very carefully created the lightest area around his hand and the drum rather than his face because this is where I want the centre of interest to be. Everything else stems from the hand creating the sound. I also positioned the circles knocked into the drum which demarcate the various notes so that the circles also lead in towards my centre of interest. Now I get to begin the really fun part of bringing the musician to life.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Steel Drummer WIP 1

A couple weeks ago my daugher Rebecca took some wonderful photo's for me to use a references at the Richmond Hill Heritage Festival. This one in particular captured my interest.

 I just loved the players obvious absorption in his interpretation of the music he was playing that is conveyed in this photo. It is as if his whole body is feeling the music...he and the steel pan are one as he plays.

I decided to eliminate the rather distracting background in the reference and have decided instead to create a more abstract background using the circular patterns on the inside of the steel pan in my outline. I am hoping to use the steel pans reflective qualities to help draw attention to my intended centre of interest... fingers crossed it works.

I have finished drawing out the outline above to size on arches cold press. It has also been stretched and taped on a board to give me a smooth drum like surface to enable me to paint the background more easily. Hopefully by tomorrow it will be dry enough for me to begin.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Heron Fishing

Last weekend several artists got together for the Ontario meet. It was a wonderful weekend in which we shared both laughter and tears. There was a workshop on the Saturday led by Shelley Prior using a photo taken by Alan Wilson. Unfortunately I wasnt well enough to attend the actual worshop so I decided to paint my own version this weekend at home.

I have been working with one of my students on adapting reference photos to help convey different messages so I decided to use this as an exercise to show how to create a totally different interpretation of a reference photo. As a result my painting is completely different to those done in the workshop but it was enormous fun to create. I added in a fish using some other reference photos as guidlines and also completely changed the lighting both in the background and on the heron itself. I decided to use similar colours on the heron and in the background to help to create that calm early morning feel but  intoduced  different compliments to paint the fish to create drama and edge in this area.

So here is my version....
As the glow of the sunrise shines through the morning mists that linger on the calm waters of the lake, a heron wades through the water creating ripples that glisten in the muted sunlight. In his beak he proudly holds his first catch of the day pinioned on his razer sharp beak.

Its only a small painting, about 10.5 by 15 inches and it is painted on Arches 140lb cold press. It is painted using all transparent watercolours and the whites were either preserved using masking fluid or lifted using a magic eraser or craft knife.