Finally decided on the title. This painting is of a US Army special forces operator in northern Afghanistan, 2002.
I’ve hit the wall on this one now. Feels as if it needs more doing, but at the same time I’m getting that nagging voice telling me to stop before I ruin it…
Suggestions, advice, or plain old comments and (constructive) criticism are all – as ever – very welcome. Thanks for looking.
Well after a few days away the withdrawal symptoms got too much for me and I had to grab my brushes. Spent quite a bit of time on this one today, pasting the oils on good and thick. I finally feel as if I might be getting to grips with this one now, although it’s still way outside the comfort zone of what I would normally paint. There is, of course, still a long way to go. And every time I look at a photo of one of my paintings I spot a whole heap of errors that I want to correct – apart from all the unstarted areas I still need to cover. I suppose that’s where having the fresh perspective of looking through the camera’s lens is a help in some ways, although it can feel just a little bit de-moralising as well!
Got just a little more done to this one in a couple of sessions today. It appears that Sorolla painted the original very thickly, almost impasto in places. He must have used pots of paint, rather than tubes, to finish this picture! And the colours in the original are incredibly intense, more so than I have been able to capture – and this is a very bright and colourful painting for me so far.
Sorolla apparently painted very quickly, so much so that some of his students wept when they saw him work! He must have been incredibly precise with how and where he laid down each stroke of colour though, since they are all very distinct in this picture – nothing has been blended. Incredible technique and he must have been quite amazing to see at work.
I’ve decided to call this one complete now. Messed around with the foreground a little, as mentioned I wasn’t happy with the amount of dark paint showing. Still haven’t really been able to capture the effects that Scmid managed to achieve in his painting – but am hardly surprised at that since, he is, after all, a master! I will try to get a scan of the original in a minute for comparison.
This painting is now at that difficult stage where I think it’s finished, but am not quite sure. The foreground is niggling me a bit, maybe there is too much of the dark ground showing through. I’ve tried to emulate what Scmid has done, but have found that almost impossible to be honest; his brush strokes are just masterly!
If you have a comment on the foreground – or any other aspect of the picture, actually – then I’d love to hear it. Suggestions are always welcome. I haven’t been able to find a picture of his original painting online to show you what I’m working from, so will take a scan of the version in his excellent book, ‘Alla Prima’. If you only buy one book on painting then make it that one. His paintings are truly inspirational, and he has a very easy and readable style as an author too.
For now I am going to let this one sit overnight. Then I’ll take a look at it tomorrow with a suitably jaundiced eye and decide whether I’m ready to sign it or not…
Had an opportunity yesterday evening to do a little more to this one (the easel lamp arrived). I’ve made a start on the foreground, and put in the trees to the left of the farmhouse. I also managed to mess up some of the background trees I think, will need to try and rescue those…
Most of the bright looking colours in the near foreground will eventually be covered up, and I need to add some more trees in front of the farm buildings. So, I think I’d better stop writing about it and get on and paint!
Late evening update: Got a fair bit of the middle ground detail done earlier this evening, added in more trees in front of the farm buildings, and most importantly managed to fix some of the earlier errors. There are more in there to get rid of yet, but reasonable progress so far I think.
The later photograph was taken outside in natural evening light, whilst the previous one was from indoors, artificial light. Remarkable how different the photos look!
Here’s a painting I started last weekend, it’s after a work by Richard Schmid – an artist I greatly admire. Still a work in progress, obviously. I find that the light in (what I laughingly call) my studio is not good enough for painting in the evenings, so not much more is likely to happen to this one until the weekend.
It’s oils on gesso’ed hardboard, 18 x 12″. The original is 30 x 20, if I remember rightly.