Friday, May 20, 2011

Work in progress - Thayer's Angel (finish)

Here's the finish of the Thayer copy.  (Please contact Tidewater Gallery in Swansboro NC for more information.) The general process was working up the painting in full color, opaque, with a good deal of body. Even the shadows are opaque. Then the last layer involves some glazing of details (feathers and bodice), raising the chroma in the cheeks and eye creases, reinforcing edges with (gasp) hard lines (see the top of the shoulder on our right).

One of the difficulties with the copy was to remember that that I was trying to paint *like* him, in his way. So for a brush stroke, I wanted to lay something similar to that brush stroke - its intention, strength, and body English... Yet at times I found myself leaning toward making a painting of a visible brushstroke, because I wanted to make a good copy. (And I knew you would all see it, haha.)

In the end, I split the difference. Some things were done like him, some things were done like me in an effort to duplicate him, some things were cut short because unlike him, I don't have 5 years to tinker. But I am so pleased about what I learned. Some effects in this manner of painting are so easy to execute that it almost seems like cheating. The blush in the cheeks and simple emotion in the eyes, for instance: I took some time and tried different hues to see what would happen, and could alter her *expression* by changing the hue of the glaze in her eyes. That was unexpected - a little more toward alizarin crimson and she seemed fiercely tearful. More toward Burnt sienna, and she was stronger, less tearful. I will be playing with it some more.

Also dig: the buildup of paint on the bodice - I cannot express enough how easy and effective that is. Pops right out at ya. I think I will abandon the 15-translucent-layer method I've been slaving over for years.

After Abbott Handerson Thayer's Angel, 11 x 14", oil on linen

Last chance to sign up for the Flower workshop...  3 days of intensive training in a small group setting. We'll go through the whole process, start to finish, of creating realistic and meaningful flower paintings. May 27-29, downtown Aurora. Click here to sign up.

One last thing... I have a new blog for my music. Please go there and subscribe if you like it. Thanks. ;-)

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