Friday, March 11, 2016

Something Has Gone AFOWL in the Studio

I thought you might enjoy seeing my progression on a piece that I am almost finished with.  It's been about a 3 week process because I don't paint very steady.  A little bit here and a few minutes there is my normal studio habit.  I want to work on that this year but I find I get pretty restless and need to get up after only 20-30 minutes of painting.  I've yet to find that "zone" that other artists speak of where they paint for hours on end and late into the night.  

Photo 1- Initial Rendering

This is my first rendering that I did in colored pencil.  It is certainly not a fine piece of artwork but here I'm not really looking for detail as much as a feel and mapping out some of the composition.  I knew I wanted it to be about a crowing rooster on a wooden rail fence with an old wagon wheel.  The piece also had to have the signature morning glories that I have painted into the three other pieces in this "Down Country Roads" series. (Photo 1)

Photo 2-Rough Blocking in of the composition
This next photo is now of me blocking in the main elements of the composition.  I had to repaint that fence at some point because I realized I had made the classic mistake of letting it drift upward and I needed it to be straight.  I pulled out the trusty straight edge and got it back on track.  The background took me sometime to work out.  I finally decided on a the distant ruins of a barn and I think that was a good choice here.  Because I'm working with the canvas in a vertical position, I have a lot of depth to fill in the background. (Photo 2)

Photo 3- Adding Focal elements
With this photo you can see I've straighten the fence line and now begun focusing on the wagon wheel.  This proves to be a really challenge because I want it to have the illusion of leaning against the fence and so my perspective isn't straight on.  I'm not a draftsman or architect so getting the wheel to appear correct and balanced is an issue.  I choose to let it go off the page because it really needed to be that large in comparison to the fence post to look realistic.  I still think it may be too small but that is the difficulty I often face when painting a number of random items from reference photos that are not in the same setting.  (Photo 3)

Photo 4- Adding flowers, grasses and foreground hens
Now we are getting into the final elements of the composition.  I have decided the best thing to do to handle my lack of skill at painting circular wheel and spokes is to have an old board also leaning up against the fence with a healthy growth of beautiful morning glories.  All in all I'm pretty sure I made the right decision there.  I have also begun blocking in the two hens in the foreground. (Photo 4)

Photo 5- Rendering of details to add
This is a little rendering I did of what I had in mind of adding to my painting.  I wanted a couple of chicks fighting over a juicy worm for breakfast.  The sketch has also been added to my greeting card designs and I've matted and framed the original.  The resourceful artist and accountant in me will not let a good sketch go to waste lying in a forgotten portfolio but rather try to turn it into a future revenue source. (Photo 5)

Photo 6-Still blocking in the composition and adding depth
In this photo you can see I have blocked in the chicks and added more layers to the hens and depth to the morning glories and foliage.  (Photo 6)

Photo 7- And this is what it looks like today
 So here we are today and I'm entering into the final stages of this painting.  Did I mention that this canvas is 24 x 36"?  That is a rather large piece and so it does take sometime to work your way to the bottom.  Now I'm obligated to focus on all the details that still need to be added to make this piece really pop.  With a little effort I'm hopeful that this piece will be finished by the weekend and soon be available on my website.  I've taken you from "What the heck were you thinking" to "This might just work after all" to finally "I'm Lov'in it" all in 7 photos.  That is the normal progression for me as an artist.  It progresses from Awful-to Awkward-to Amazing!  Well at least we hope for the AMAZING part.

If you enjoyed my little assemblage of progression photos, leave me a comment below and take a minute to check out my website at   

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