Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Pack Together

Pack together, oil painting of foxhounds in bright sunshine
Well, this one was a Rubik's Cube of a painting. I didn't really know where to start - or maybe which dog started and ended where. I roughly drew the dogs out onto board then sealed the drawing with a thin wash of acrylic raw umber. My objective was to make the light really bright on the two key dogs. The pattern of values was sufficiently complicated that I realised straightaway if I simply began with the top left ear and worked along and down systematically - as is my usual method - I would get very muddled. Not to say muddied. So I blocked in the main values in acrylic:
value study, preliminary value study for a painting of foxhounds
I looked at this and went downstairs and made a cup of tea, thinking it had made the confusion worse. On creeping back in - it sometimes seems to help to sneak up on a tricky painting and attack it by surprise - I decided to begin with the lights, specifically the golden light on the tops of their heads. After that - eyes and noses. Then tongues. Then I started systematically filling in the darks. I have to be honest - it looked terrible almost all the way through. 
I don't know why I persevered, but I did: it seemed to me that there was no reason why it shouldn't work provided the lights and darks were clearly delineated. 
Anyway, once I placed the very last dribbles of highlight - especially on that dear little nose poking in on the left of the painting - it seemed to come together somehow. 
For a brief moment I thought I could smell this pack and I thought how wonderful it would be if you could post smells on to the internet like you can pictures and sounds. 
Then I remembered the smell of the last foxhound pack I encountered and thought better of it.

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