Monday, June 29, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The completed work, image size is 8 3/4" x 13". This work will be shipped off for American Artists Abroad at the Bennington Center for the Arts later in July.

As noted yesterday, I will be working on a short tutorial to be posted tomorrow on the upper part of this work, specifically the way in which I indicated the frayed cloth of the canopy.

And, some final thoughts and notes on my 'adjustments' on the ways in which I modified the original photo reference to have things work for my concept of the composition. As I have said any number of times to students and those who ask . . . reference is just that, something to be referred to and not necessarily slavishly followed. In this case, there were good 'bones' to begin with, as the gourds with their interesting patterns and shapes, made for a very good starting point. By leaving some out and moving others (like the two smaller gourds that now hang, one above the other just to the right of the birds) I hope I have made a more interesting pattern, one that is less of a punch as is the case in the overall, evenly distributed gourds in the photo.

Also, by extending the log in the center so it runs off the right hand margin, I think I have better balanced the lower log which runs off to the left. Since I removed all the gourds hanging on that lower log in my work, there was much more emphasis put on that lower log and therefore I felt that by extending that central log to the right, a better balance would be achieved. Also, a stronger horizontal feel was achieved by this.

Getting rid of some more of the background texture, as on the extreme left of the photo, and the drum which is cut off at right, there is more focus on the central part of the composition, I feel.

And finally, by establishing that little bit of light coming through in the distance just to the left of the birds and behind that crescent slice of basket to their left, I wanted to give the viewer's eye a little more aid in finding the birds and establish a depth to the work that I found missing just a bit in the photo.

So, does it all work? I guess that is for the beholder to decide. I know how I feel about it!

Friday, June 26, 2009

T. G. I. F.!

Working on getting this one done in the next day or two. Down to the nitty gritty of details and tightening up shadows, making sharp separations, checking to make sure there is good definition of distance and balance across the entire work. If you look at the sequence of in-progress shots over this last week, you will see that I have sort of been working from the top margin across and down the left side and then across the center horizontal and back to the left and then down and across the bottom margin. Often, I will be asked just how I work on a piece . . . do I start at the top and work down . . . do I start on the left and work across . . . do I start in the middle and work out to the edges? Depends.

Depends on the composition and where the darks are and where the focus is. There is a lot going on in this composition and to keep from having it all dissolve into total chaos, what with all those different textures going on, I have been constantly overworking areas, going back to deepen shadows or overall tonality and making sure that all the various components of the overall composition look like they fit together. This is where my technique of layering helps a great deal by allowing me to work an area, move on to another area and yet another and then to return to the first area and make subtle changes with a layer of grey to deepen the tone or a gradation of dark to light to indicate roundness and depth and dimensionality. By not specifically laying in a dark area in its fullest sense right off, I can go back and go back and darken as I work, making sure that the levels of dark and shadow suit the overall composition and make things look 'real' and as if they were sitting within space, some near, some far.

As to a query the other day regarding just how I have indicated the frayed, weather-worn woven cloth draped at the top of the image, I will attempt a little tutorial this weekend, once this work is completed, and see if I can explain how it was done.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Been off for a few days, but back at the board today. Starting to round out those gourds now.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Slow day today but did manage to get in some basket weaving!

My guess is that by now, you can identify some of the variations on a theme that have been going on here, relative to the original reference photo and how I have adapted it to my composition. I will point out a few adjustments that might or might not be obvious . . .

#1 - I eliminated completely the bottom row, just visible in the photo, of hanging gourds; this done basically to keep the 'clutter' down to a minimum and help to put the emphasis where I want the emphasis and focus of the work to be. I also like that very strong, horizontal line of the bottom log which helps to define the space better without anything hanging off of it and carrying the eye off the bottom margin of the work.

#2 - I have also eliminated or edited out, a couple of the hanging gourds to leave some open spaces here and there and thus enabling there to be more distance visible between the foreground components of the composition design and the background upon which it all is taking place. Again, I think this is enhancing the focus of those objects that I want the focus to be on.

And #3 - I added in the two little weaver birds as the major focal point of the work, giving the viewer something to look for, settle on and find surprise in, once detected.

Friday, June 19, 2009

This day's work.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Doing a lot of texture development today. That is what this piece is going to be all about in the final analysis, and beginning to move things forwards and back.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Here is yesterday's work. A quick look at the reference photo posted yesterday and you should be able to see some judicious editing of the content as well as an addition or two. It's all about the elements of composition and design and what I want to do with them in this particular work. I'll talk all about it as I go along.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I've begun a new work today. This one will be the second submission for the upcoming American Artists Abroad exhibition, to open in a couple month's time. Here is the reference material that I will be 'drawing' from. See how I make use of it as the work progresses over the next week.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Done. A quick look over this morning, a touch or two of 2B to darken a shadow here and there and add a bit of 'pop' to the dirt, and this piece is done. Image size on this one is just over 12" square.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Today marks the opening of
Art of the Animal Kingdom XIV
at The Bennington Center for the Arts
just outside of Bennington, Vermont.

The exhibition will run through July 26 and
includes a work of mine, along with fine animal art
from many other outstanding, Nationally recognized artists.
Well worth a trip from anywhere along the New England
and Mid Atlantic coast, if traveling near, plan a stop at
this great venue. There is much to see and do here, so
take a look at their web site.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Yeah, I know . . . doesn't look like an awful lot of work today but lots of little stuff today - feet, bananas, dirt, fuzz, tin cans. OK, well no tin cans, but picky things going on today and quite a bit of distractions as well, so only a couple hours of drawing time. I think both woman are pretty much done now and maybe another half hour/45 minutes to go on the guy.
As to my note yesterday about making a change in the composition, both commenters yesterday were right on target. After I had worked on the piece for the last five/six days, it became increasingly apparent to me that there really did not seem to be a 'connection point' between the viewer and what was going on in the piece. In my original sketch, I had indeed positioned the more central background baboon walking from behind the guy to the left, figuring it would make a nice connector between the two groupings of subjects and maybe add to the Circular compositional design of the piece.
As happens on occasion, I goofed. Sure there was circular movement going on, but my eye was finding it hard to land on one point when 'entering' the image and then to move through it easily. It needed more of an Eye to Eye compositional point to have the viewer's eye land upon it and then move easily around the various elements of the overall design. I believe, now, that I have accomplished that by changing the position of that one baboon to look directly out at the viewer, thus bringing your eye right to that center point of the overall image and making that all important connection between the image and the viewer. As I have mentioned before in these posts, Eye to Eye compositional design is one of seven basic composition forms that never fails to, pardon the pun, draw attention where you want attention to be drawn. In this case, smack dab in the middle of the action.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Skipping out from work a bit early today so I can get in a late afternoon hike. I have decided today, that the baboons are not going to give me as much trouble as I thought at first. It's going to be that pile of plantains that might do me in!
Also, astute observers might see a pretty significant alteration to my initial composition today. Can you pin point it? These things do happen in the course of working on a piece; what seemed to work in sketches and initial idea formation, sometimes, when in the midst of a work, needs rethinking. Here is a perfect example of that. Explanations - stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Today's bit of work. Doing a lot of separating today . . . moving things apart, making distinctions between what is forward and what is back between the two women; tightening things up, darkening shadows enough to give good dimension, over layering mid tone greys to give more 'body' to the clothes. You know, all that nit picky stuff that helps to make it right. And, I am sure I will be going back when all is just about said and done and tweaking even more.

The 'best' (those pesky baboons) is yet to come!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Other priorities this past weekend so not an awful lot of work accomplished on this current piece. Here is today's work . . . and yes, it is taking a bit of time to get to this point. As is my usual approach to a piece and in my usual technical style of layering, getting the skin tones just right is what is really driving this one. Laying in layer upon layer of ever darker grey tones to build up the roundness and shadows and give dimension to the arms etc. is making me take my time on this one. I am feeling pretty good about the piece at this point, so don't want to 'screw it up!'

Sunday, June 07, 2009

I'm going to be taking a break from ebay for a bit, as I have mentioned in the last several days, I have some larger scale works that will be coming off the drawing board over the next month or more. So, this little work of mourning doves will be the last work posted to ebay for bidding for at least the next couple of months. Also, if any of the more recent small works that have been posted here for ebay and that are still available are of interest to anyone, get in touch and I will let you know their selling price at the moment, for direct sale.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Yesterday's work . . .

Friday, June 05, 2009

Well, it has taken a couple of days to post this, but I have begun this work that I spoke of back in mid week. And, as you no doubt can tell . . . yes! I am actually working on a piece with people in it. Will wonders never cease! This is going to be slow going . . . uncharted territory for me. Let's hope that it comes out somewhat like I intend it to.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Another small work up for bid now on ebay.
I know it has been a bit since I have worked on a larger scale piece and posted in progress shots as I work on it. I am about to begin a series of pieces for upcoming juries and invitational exhibitions, one of which, American Artists Abroad, I am most pleased to have received an invitation to be a part of this past week. I am going to try and get two works done for that group showing and the first will begin later today and will be something a bit out of the ordinary for moi! Stay tuned.