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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fire Starter

Before I transfer the study image of The Old Stone House I want to do a few experimental paintings in Water Soluble Oil paints to test the use of sepia as an “aging” formula before I actually do use sepia on The Old Stone House painting. I’ll start with a painting that I have actually been thinking about doing for some time. After I put the effort into a painting I hope to be able to show the work later, too.

This first study is entitled “Fire Starter”. The scene will be in the dark jungle with light areas provided by a full moon and a small warming fire. I intend to use the sepia as a final glaze to provide the look of both intense darkness and also a feeling of antiquity to the painting. Although entirely different from the Old Stone House, I hope to get the same effect in both the study and the Stone House.

I first created a line drawing of the study, and then transferred the drawing to a small gessoed canvas.

Next, I used both cool and warm Acrylic paint as an undercoating. This provides an excellent base for the water soluble oils.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Stone House Study

I put together a study for my sister’s painting. The study provided a good layout for the painting, although it is a bit too bright. I hope to tone the final painting down to give the final painting a more “antique” look using a wash of sepia. I got some good ideas from my sister-in-law, Lynn. She is a very accomplished painter who does beautiful work. I made the study slightly smaller than the final canvas but in exactly the same scale. This ensures that the study will represent the same proportions of the finished painting in every detail.

The study also allows the intended owners (my Sister and her husband) a peek at the painting before I actually start applying paint to the final canvas. It gives them an opportunity to “approve” of the project and offer any comments or suggestions before we begin. In this case I got some excellent feedback on colors and a more precise idea of how they want the subject to be presented in the final painting.
Next, I will transfer the study image to my prepared canvas. The canvas was built using the exact measurements of my sister's antique frame. This step is a very critical one because the fit had to be exact. The painting must fit into a frame my sister already owns and wishes to use. This framed painting will hang above the fireplace in the old stone house. Also during this time,

I’ll also do a few small test paintings to show the effects of sepia and to make sure I get the right look I want for before actually starting the oil painting. I will share these with my sister as well.



Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Old Stone House

My latest project is a painting for my sister. She lives in Virginia and owns a beautiful stone house that was built in 1778. There have been a lot of renovations done to the house but most of the house has been historically preserved as it was back in the 1800's. It is an amazing house.

I accepted her offer to paint the house without reservation. It is a stunning combination of old world architecture against a modern yet well preserved landscape.

Although the project will be exciting for me, it will also challenge my skills as a painter in several ways: First, since we live 300+ miles apart, I'll be working from photos of the place without a readily available physical reference to work from. Secondly, the family wants to use an elegant antique frame to house the new painting. The frame once hung over the fireplace in the house. Although that doesn't seem too difficult to do, the logistics need to be considered when the painting is done here in the Western Appalachian Mountains and then hung in a frame in Virginia. Lastly, I will be painting the house using water soluble oil paints, which I have only recently become trained to use.

The original landscape surrounding the house has gone through many years’ worth of change, but remains rural for the most part. Only a very few buildings are present in the neighborhood, that weren't probably there when the house was first occupied. By using my "artist license" some of those objects can fade naturally into the background or disappeared entirely.

With a handful of photographs my sister and brother-in-law choose the scene they wanted. It is a winter photo they took of the house, which we all agree will yield a typical style of painting that might have been rendered years ago; a painting that will show off the home and surrounding estate. The winter scene is somewhat stark so they have asked that I paint the house in somewhat "
muted" colors.

The first step in the process will be to prepare a color study of the painting. This will give my sister and husband a rough idea of the painting and provide me with some color and layout options. I can't wait to get started.