Sunday, May 29, 2011

The young hawk

Just completed the second of my 'close up' paintings. This is a young red-backed hawk, whilst thinking about how this would work I got caught up with the idea of a flowing shape created from the lie of his feathers, the eye and is the focal point and the beak a hard element that breaks out of the softenss of the curve.

Reference photo:

Finished painting:

Feeling a bit chuffed with the 'flowing curve' idea when it occured to me that I'd seen this before...and I had, months ago in a doodle I'd done whilst talking to someone on the phone, funny how your mind works isn't it. I'd forgotten about this but the idea must have still been in there somewhere.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Extreme close up

I've been meaning for a while to do a series of pastels extreme close up images, not necessarily very small things but just a close look, the lichen on an old, weathered gate post, a rusty iron hinge, the feathers on a birds wing....that sort of thing. Some references will be photos that have been cropped to death, some will be still life, some macro photographs.

So I had a crack at one this evening, this is based on a photo of a rockhopper penguin, cropped until there's nothing except his eye and part of his beak and brow (I know I said I wouldn't do penguins but I've weakened).

For this I used mostly my conte (softish) pastels, just finished off the highlights & shadows with schminke pastels to get a bit more intensity. Support is 24 X 30 pastelmat in my favourite colour, anthracite. On the whole I don't blend much and in this painting I did none at all, also (and unusually for me) I didn't fix at all during the painting, bit of a departure for me this is.

Foden the Huntaway

This is a commissioned portrait of Foden, a favourite huntaway belonging to a friend of mine (named after his favourite truck!). This is the first time I've done a dog portrait that's not just a headshot, I'm reasonably pleased with it. Must try some of dogs running and such.

Foden, soft pastels on 30 X 40cm pale grey pastelmat.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Apply a sky

Been trawling though my photo archives looking for landscape references, I've found a few good photos that stand alone as a ref for a painting but many that worked in one way but not another. The Falkland Islands are a place that is dominated by the sky and in many of my photos that's the element that does not work. I photograph a particular scene that I like but so often the sky & clouds are uninteresting and this wrecks the feel of the image.

Recently I've taken to shooting images of 'good' skies with the object of using them to fix scenes, I have about 300 of these good sky images now, sunsets, sunrises, stormy, windy, broken cloud but all 'good' images. A suitable sky can be pasted onto a photo to jazz it up (I use Corel PhotoPaint for this but any decent photoeditor will do), Here's a few photos I've 'fixed' in this way, they don't stand up as a photo in themselves but it gives me a more inspiring reference for a painting (I hope).

This is a photograph taken by my mother of a scene looking south west from somewhere near the Black Hill in Chartres, I prefer to have more sky and I'm not entirely comfortable with the high contrast of the slab of rock in the it is cropped and with a new, more dynamic sky applied:

Here's a couple more:

Hill Cove

Hill Cove, this wasn't bad at all but again I wanted just a bit more going on, the Sky overlay came from another photo taken on the same day but about an hour later:

Fox Bay

Fox Bay, this was taken from our was the sky only about 5 minutes earlier but quite a difference:

Must crack on and see if I can get some decent paintings from these, I feel that this will prove to be a useful trick.