Sunday, April 12, 2009

Don't Count Yer Chickens!!

You know that old saying about not counting your chickens before they hatch? Well, I pretty much ignored that sage advice when I more or less committed myself to entering this painting in a juried show and to using it in an ad in Horses In Art magazine. As you know, the painting is far from finished, and both deadlines are coming up this week! Now my chickens have come home to roost!

Friday was more or less a bad studio day. After painting the lower part of the trailer, I painted the neck and shoulder of the left hand horse. When I finished painting that evening, I realized that:

1. The paint was not going on smoothly despite having oiled the canvas ahead of time.

2. The highlights and shadows were not in the right places, consequently the bones and muscles were not in the right places.

3. The highlights had gone dull and the whole horse image had gone flat, showing little volume.

Making 3-d images believable on a 2-d surface is all about creating volume in your subject. Well, this poor horse had none and would have to be repainted. That night I figured that there was no way I could possibly get the painting done enough to send off the entry by Tuesday at the latest. Actually, it was kind of a relief because that left the beautiful weekend free for doing some much-needed yard work.

But, by yesterday morning I was feeling very disappointed at the prospect of missing a second invitation to an AAEA member show and felt as if I was letting the Academy down and setting a bad precedent in their minds. So, after lunch I sat down in front of the painting to study it and determine what needed to be done and if it would be possible to work on it that day.

The first consideration was whether or not the paint was dry enough to paint over, and it was. It occured to me then that the reason I’d had trouble laying down paint the day before might have been because I was trying to use up leftover mixes of paint from the previous day which had probably begun to dry and had become somewhat sticky. Fresh paint would solve that problem.

Secondly, I studied the painting and my reference photos and saw some places where I’d gone wrong in laying in the muscle masses and the scapula.

Thirdly, when I flipped on the easel light, a light bulb went off in my head as well. The highlights on the horse were much brighter under the light than they were when the light was turned off. Since paintings are rarely hung with lights directly on them, I would need to compensate.

After getting out a fresh palette and mixing up fresh paint, I began to make corrections to the horse. The paint went on smoothly and didn’t lift the layer underneath, so I kept going until the neck and shoulder were done to my satisfaction. After dinner, I began painting the head and got as far as the nose band of the halter before quitting for the day.

While I was painting, I thought I was getting this ole work horse show ring shiny, but this morning he is looking dull again. Clearly, more adjustments need to be made, but those can be done when he is dry in another day or two. I’ll just add some bright highlights in a few places and he should come alive again.

The first image above shows the BC view (before corrections), the second is after corrections were made.

I don’t think I’ve said this before, so let me mind my manners and thank each one of you for visiting my blog. I hope that you’ve found it informative and entertaining and will come back again for another visit. Please feel free to leave comments, especially to let me know whether or not you enjoy this blog. I’m always open to constructive feedback.

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