Thursday, February 4, 2010

New work in progress: Barn Owl 2

I missed posting my Tuesday sketch this week. I had ever intention to post something, but then I woke up this morning, discovered that somehow my life had jumped from Monday to Thursday, and realized that I'd missed the boat on that completely.

The good news is that the concept of time has all but disappeared from my reality because I've been hard at work on new paintings. I have a few new black birds underway, but today I started something a little different.

Back in August, on a road trip back from Cedar Point (can I get a HELL YEAH for roller coasters?), I drew the following thumbnail in my sketchbook:

This was only about 2" wide by 1.5" high, so quite tiny. I love planning for pieces in this size because, in such a tiny area, it's easy to see what does and does not work from a compositional perspective, and it's very quick for me to make changes. It also prevents me from getting caught up in minor details at this stage.

I scanned the image into my computer and waited on it for a few months, planning to turn it into a painting when the time was right to proceed with it. Well, today was that day. Here's the new piece on Day 1:

(I could consider this to be day 2, as yesterday I painted out the canvas in black and applied the texture, but today was the beginning of actually committing the image to the surface, so Day 1 it is.)

I begin by blocking everything out in charcoal, and then, once I'm happy with that, I commit the lines to the canvas with acrylic paint. It's all VERY rough at this point, and needs a lot of refinement! There are qualities that I like in the original sketch that haven't made it to the painted image at this point, but that I'll be working in there as I tweak everything. From here on, it's give and take with the paint, applying it and wiping and sanding it back, probably over several weeks, off and on, until I'm happy with the piece.

The quality of the photo is pretty rough (indoors at night is not the best time to photograph artwork) but it shows where I'm starting, and hopefully the progression will be interesting to watch.

Edit: Gah, okay, I just put in more a ton more work on it and added the first washes of colour. I would take another picture and post it for the REAL Day 1 progress, but it's 9:30 and I've been painting since 10:oo am, so... Next time!

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