Monday, January 28, 2008

New Work and Painting Demonstration

Sweet & Sour Spritz
16 x 20 original acrylic on canvas

This little beauty is my friend Tammy's Welsh pony. After visiting Tammy and her husband recently, I selected this image to paint. The shot isn't too clear, and I'm still going to tweak it up, but it's pretty much done. And although the pony is a dark bay, she did look almost black with her thick winter fur. I'm still not decided yet if I should add the sparse snowflakes that were falling. And, for your entertainment *cough* I'm posting a demonstration of this painting's progress below.

I started with my image and divided it into equal parts. I'm of the opinion anyone can learn to paint by learning some basics. Even if you can't draw, you can learn to draw by simply making a grid. Drawing free hand is great, but if you're a beginner, or just wanting to save time, gridding helps. Many pros also grid since it's one of the best ways to make sure you have your proportions correct.

The next step is to take your image and lay it on your sketch pad or paper. I drew out lines indicating my canvas size. Tape your image with masking tape or painting tape to ensure it doesn't move! Click on the images for a larger picture.

Here's where the fun begins. Using a large ruler, begin at the far top left corner of your image, not your paper. Then, find the end of each line on your image, and starting from the corner, make a diagonal line from the corner to the end of your original grid line on your image. Continue this diagonal line onto your sketch paper. Do this for all the lines.

Continue with your diagonal lines until you've made a line for each line end you have on your image's grid. Hope that makes sense!

Now you're ready to draw your image. This should be a lot easier now since you just have to make simple shapes, block by block. Draw your shapes as they appear in the blocks on your original image. If, let's say, the eye is more to the top left part of the block, then that's where you'll place it. Do this until you have your whole image. The edge of your image will also change, as indicated on the bottom line in the image. The edge moved up a tad.

For step 6, simply transfer your image onto the canvas. You can do this by coloring the back of your image with charcoal and then taking a colored pencil and drawing over your image, leaving an impression on the canvas. A colored pencil will help you see where you've already drawn, and helps make sure you don't forget any parts!

Now that you have your image transfered, you can begin the underpainting. I always start off dark and build up light as I paint, layer by layer. Once you've got your image blocked in, begin using medium tones, and gradually add lighter tones. In this piece, I used white, black, burnt umber, cobalt blue, and naples yellow in some highlighted areas. I couldn't live without burnt umber and cobalt blue, and use them in everything I paint!

I'm like many other animal artists when I say I like to work on the eyes first. Once the eyes, or eye in this case, are in, the rest of the painting comes into place more easily. It seems to be a lot harder if you don't get that eye right at the beginning. Once you're satisfied with the eye, continue with adding light and details.

Since the picture of the final piece isn't as clear as I'd like, you probably can't see a lot of the details and color, but you can see the impression of hairs. I don't paint every hair either. Using a bristle brush, I dry brush lighter paint in the direction the hairs are growing and at the end, I'll use a 0 liner brush and add a hair here and there, which gives the impression that I painted a lot of hairs.

And voila, you have the final piece! Well, hum, minus the tweaking . . . Hope this helped! Like I said, by using this gridding method, you can paint virtually anything. Start with simple images and gradually become daring enough to paint complex pieces, still life with many objects, animals, many animals, anything! Just have fun with painting and don't be afraid to stretch yourself!


Anonymous said...

Very nice work Carole. It's nice to see such local talent. (sort of.....I'm a few hours north, but Northern Ontario, just the same)
I look forward to seeing the finished product in the "Glory of the Horse"
I'll keep an eye out for it online. Congradulations on beeing selected as one of the participating artist.

Moosehorn Ridge

Carole Rodrigue said...

Nancy, thank you so much for the nice comment! I'm glad you like my art, and it's also nice to have "local" people visiting! Take care!