Thursday, 27 July 2017

What's the password?

What's the password? oil painting of two labradors in front of a doorway

Still working hard at my new approach to painting: holding the canvas properly upright on my easel, standing as much as possible, stepping back frequently and using bigger brushes. This was painted almost entirely with a size 6 ivory flat, which is twice as big as the size I normally use. For fiddly bits - the dog's eyes, the carriage lamp - I turned the brush on its side and used the corner.
I spent a couple of days on and off thinking about this painting before I started and decided that it was most important the dogs 'came forward' and that the background stayed back. As the background is largely white and white is an opaque colour that is usually used last to make sure it "comes forward", I was a bit worried whether I could pull it off.
To give myself a sporting chance, I started with the dogs and a limited palette of alizarin, cad yellow light, black and transparent oxide red (to warm up the shadows):

work-in-progress of labrador painting

The canvas board had a thin wash of blue acrylic, which I don't normally use but I didn't want a warm colour so it seemed best. It was completely dry before I started. Also, I put some lines on as it seemed daunting to begin with no lines at all.

work-in-progress of labrador painting

At this point I thought I had completed the lab. Forgot his back and rear legs, poor poppet.

work-in-progress of labrador painting

Here's his little friend going in. I was beginning to feel a tiny bit more confident by this stage that it wasn't all going to fall to pieces.
Last WIP shot

work-in-progress of labrador painting

I forgot to take any pix of laying in the background. What I did was take the warm colours off my palette and add cool colours, specifically cerulean blue and lemon yellow, plus black and white. All cool colours. 
Cool colours recede, warm colours advance. 
The slight pinkish colour in the foreground shadows was pulled from the choc lab's coat.
I still used the no 6 brush, until one of the door frames developed a wonk, at which point I used a ruler and a rigger but only for a single line (honest). 
The background did not take long. I deliberately gave myself an artificial deadline which was pretty tight - about 30 minutes once the palette was set up. This was so I would not fuss it too much.
Really I need my mother standing beside me throughout the process so she can smack my hand at regular intervals (this was her preferred method of teaching table manners and the proper use of a knife and fork. I'm guessing it would also work with a paint brush).

This was the first painting I have made using my new approach that I have really enjoyed. I liked applying some of the things I have learnt, especially cool vs warm, also I double-loaded the brush with one colour one side and a different colour (or value) on the other. This helped with laying in the golden lab and was fun.

Have a lovely weekend and thank you for reading through all this and sharing the experience with me.

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