Yesterday I made a post about my field sketching in circus Zoo. I had few sketches in pencil and one in full colour. Based on that one in full colour (in order to wind up) I finished two of them before bed...
They are about 1,5 by 1,5 inch each just like the previous one.
They have among other variety of animals lovely tigers (whom I admire greatly since childhood) and they have during a day open circus Zoo for a reasonable toll. So I decided to go there to study them from life and see their majesty in person! There's no substitute for real thing and photographs can't describe the beauty of those animals.
It was really challenging to attempt a sketch because all the tigers were moving a lot in their cages so I ended up with rather scarcity of sketches in my field blog. However I managed to do one portrait in full colour of one of the sleeping fellows. You can see my setting in this video:
I've done this thumbnail (literally) sketch in watercolour with some touches of white gouache. Since I have the colours at least in one portrait (And now I have mixtures on my palette in my travel rig) I can finish rest of the portraits now with that sole colour study and from photos that I made in black and white - I think that os good practise - not to be influenced by colours that see my camera and rather to use colour that helped me to express myself right on the spot.
Remember - there's nothing more than a real thing. Photos are fine but to see things in person and really "inhale" them is completely different thing.
And what is your experience in sketching wild animals from life? I'm a newcomer to this realm and it's a great and exiting challenge. Next time - cows and horses maybe?
On Thursday 12th of October, 6 Days after my arrival home (Town of Zdar nad Sazavou, Czech Republic) I finally after some minor struggles with organising my work place at my parents house persuaded myself to ask my mother to pose for me for my very first oil portrait from life (I have done some portraits of my parents back in April in gouache). So far I have done paintings in oil of a still life - which is quite easy since the bottle on the table is not keen to move, or have a bad temper when painting gets too long etc.
My mother was quite convenient topic - She intended to watch TV news that evening so she sat basically moveless for me about 2 hours so I had a time to study her vigorously.
Anyway...Lighting in our living room is a nightmare. Intensity is really low so final portrait is quite dark (I have to use additional light for my canvas and palette to judge the colours properly.
On the other hand my task was a little bit easier since I have started use Rosemary and Co. Brushes from West Yorkshire recently - They are superb brushes!! (I love especially Evergreen series)
My Setting to see the bad, bad Lighting (and my lovely mother of course):
Here I used an old gessoed canvas that bared awful attempt from my previous times - I scraped it with scourer)
Here's the final painting - I sketched the proportions with No.1 round Evergreen dipped in a mixture of burnt sienna and ivory black. After that I blocked in general tones of the face and proceed directly with rendering. Sketch took me 2,5 hours. I put bright background to make the picture more vignette like. Hopefully I will become quicker! I want to be like James Gurney - prolific in every instance.
I guess some of you maybe have noticed that I recently moved back to Czech Republic. The reason is quite simple - I've begun to miss my family. It was a great experience - two years in the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire (by the way county where you can buy the best brushes in the world - but I'll talk about it in a future), occupation as a delivery driver for primary schools (there's around 200 places in Leeds and Bradford alone so we have been busy). I met genuine people. I want to give my farewell especially to Istvan Docza (my Boss), Lucy, Jamie-Lee Fogarty, James Lockley, Terry Fogarty (She teached me how to drive on the left side of the road), Peter Cinone, Shayna, Anthony, Damon, Jason, Dan, Andrew Colburn and his lovely family (and their two dogs Zac and Zephyr) and to the whole gang of GT produce family. I would like to say it was a great sessions (although a few) in the gym with PJ Stone (Hope you'll come to visit mate) and with Sam Hewitt as well! I Have to say I'm so thankful to meet you all! I want to thank to Tony which was some kind of utility guy in our lovely old Victorian house in Beeston, where I has lived past year, and to my Landlords Mike and Soni (lovely people Indeed!!)
Before I left I wanted to have same handmade memories on the common places, which I don't know why have some precious qualities for me. Let me introduce you some of my pictorial notes from my life mainly from past month (September 2017), I hope It'll not be boring for you. I really appreciate all those little moments in my life greatly and I want to share it with you:
My window (only one in my apartment with some remnants of a grocery)
Gouache on Paper 22 September 2017
This is my art corner in my room before my departure (Watercolour 28 September 2017)
This is Tony (Utility guy) Gouache on Gesso
My self portrait from my driver's seat (Ballpoint pen)
Quick portrait of me and great dinner lady Monica from Harehills Children Centre) (ballpoint pen)
Lady From a bus on my way downtown (ball point)
I thing sketches like this from field (Except my selfportrait and the one with Monica - they are from photograph) improve your skill in execution of drawing and hone your visual memory so I thing practise like this is essential.
In the next post I'll tell you about my new settlement and about more art that I deal with in current days...
I have a feeling that won't cease I think in any time soon. And that is that I stink (artistically :-) ). My visions in my head are always better that outcome on the canvas. I think we all feel that and it is natural. Nevertheless it is important even in times of great disgust with ourself to push through and persevere. One of the action for that is to do some basic exercise from time to time.
It's a great advise from any great instructional book on art that you should learn to see colours in the temperature relationship and warm and cool painting with just two colours is a great opportunity how to see this relationships.
I did a mixtures between the two colours and lighten them in ten steps with white and made this colour chart:
That provided me with an information of which range is achievable with those colours.
Next step was to set up a still life that would be manageable with this range of colours. So I put into my shadow box a pumpkin (warm orange) and blue plate with some blue cloth underneath.
On the image you can see my setup. It was a quick study approximately 4x6 inches just in sake of a practise. You can see my chart above the painting to guide me.
Here's the outcome. As you can see you're able to achieve a lot just with two colours (plus white). Some things has to be downplayed greatly - for example the green stalk of the pumpkin - but you can achieve believability by mixing a colour that is not green at all but have relative temperature right to adjacent colours! And that's the key of this exercise)
I was so focused on the colours that I put to much of a detail in cloth and the background which ruined the picture but in overall I think the exercise served the purpose.
I would like to know in comments your suggestions how else to train warm - cool relationships. I strive to get better in this so any advise would be appreciated greatly.
It is not that long ago that I decided to paint portrait from life. The reason to paint from life rather than from photograph is that is more challenging because your subject matter is not still and the colour are more truthful then in the photograph. So you learn yourself to be ok with a moving subject and learn to see colour properly.
And since I'm so slow in process of painting and I don't have enough confidence to invite any sitters into my humble room to keep them moveless for several hours yet I'd decided before I'd ventured to paint with oils someone else to put a mirror in front of me. The great example of this approach is Rembrandt - Throughout his life he made a copious amount of self-portraits.
I began with heavily stained canvas of burnt umber - it was an unpleasant endeavour from past that I'd had to scrape down (therefore I don't want to talk about it :-))
You can see the settings while I was painting and final painting down bellow. Since I've done it throughout evenings after work it is somehow on the dark side - I have to rethink lighting setting of my work place :-). The final picture is really really dark. But I think it conveys some kind of mystery at least about a person depicted. If you don't stick the picture under a strong daylight the face is barely visible.
Me painting myself...
Final painting - Nocturnal creature (oil on canvas 11x14 inches)
I have to admit that I'm not the most disciplined person when it comes to keep people updated. Maybe reason is that I have a still life to work on and that lemon in it turning already green (ouch - gross)
I have an announcement to make - Tomorrow (I know :-/ ) and day afterwards I'm exhibiting my work at Ilkley art show that runs from 10:00 till 17:00 daily. Venue is in The Kings Hall/Winter Gardens, LS29 8HA, Ilkley
Here's a rough staging of the pictures that I will exhibit - They're all gonna be for sale! (Caution - Not all work in this photo has made it to final selection!)
Thanks to all of you for your time in this overwhelming age! Petr