Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Spring Lamb (with demo)

This dear little chap is from a photo by Steve Lyddon on Paint My Photo. I have warmed him and his setting up quite a bit in the painting to try and capture the joy of all creatures (especially ME) to finally have a break from driving rain. In the last few days, the rivers and lakes have been shimmering, the grass is shimmering, daffodils, primroses and celandines are out and everything is a lovely warm, mellow yellow. That is the mood I was trying to convey. I used this palette:
All colours Winsor & Newton Griffin Alkyd unless stated. Top row: Gamblin warm white, cad yellow light, cad yellow medium, lemon yellow. Middle row: olive green, dioxazine purple, Daler Rowney cadmium green light. Bottom: titanium white, alizarin crimson, French ultramarine.
Starting point was as usual, a little line drawing and an acrylic wash of burnt sienna:
I wiped out the lightest lights before the paint dried with a cotton bud (Q tip) - and would have wiped more but I wasn't quick enough. I decided to start with the background
but got into trouble with depth of colour and tone, so stopped here and switched to the lamb so I could best judge how warm/cool I needed my greens to be. I more or less used Richard Schmid's selective start method (see this post for more detail) for the lamb, starting as usual at left because I am right handed.

Added the very dark shadow at his hind leg to stop myself from going too white on his body which, as you can see, is what was beginning to happen. My biggest fault (out of many) continues to be losing track of my values. Very occasionally everything goes too dark and murky but usually I paint much too high key so if I am not careful everything vanishes into a blaze of white light and thus the painting ceases to have any purpose whatsoever. I am trying to discipline myself to stop this by chanting once per hour "check the darks, check the darks" like a demented person.
More work on the back ground. This involved putting several thin layers of different shades of tube yellow with spats of olive green and then wiping them off again until it looked just how I wanted it. The warmth of the burnt sienna wash proved important in creating the final effect.
The lamb itself was painted with little dabbing strokes of impasto paint with a real attempt on my part to then Leave It Alone. And here he is again, to save you scrolling to the top:

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