Saturday, January 3, 2009

Castle painting update (excerpt from 1000 Markets blog)

At this stage I've finally got the whole figure and Harley blocked in, close to the end values I'll want. The building I believe to be the coach house is also blocked in, along with the road and walled edge. There is going to be more value change on the road but it has to wait until the paint is dry. Technically this would be called an underpainting, but it's a little more developed than most underpaintings because there are so many different things for the eye to look at that I have to constantly adjust to make sure the eye will go where I want it to in the end. Usually most of the detail goes in the foreground, but even though the bike is closest, I'm abstracting it somewhat to keep the eye on the figure and middle ground. So you'll see stronger colors and contrast on and around the figure. Backgrounds are usually cooled down and softened so they'll fade into the distance. One issue I'm running into with the castle is the various color changes. It looks like the coach house and front entrance wall are the most recent additions and from a different quarry than the road cobblestones. The castle itself looks to have gotten quite a few additions over the centuries, some walls are very weathered and others have been completely mortared over. I've decided to essentially paint what is there and decide as I go how it gels as a painting. Since this painting is for a show that is supposed to deconstruct fairy tales it might just work if it's not the Disney version of a castle :) It's also funny/ironic that when you go to paint something as involved as this you tend to think some parts will be a killer and others a piece of cake. But so far the things I thought would be hard have just flowed out of me like I've done them a million times. It's the easy parts that are killing me lol The face is less than an inch long and it's very difficult to block in the reference is a snapshot taken of me coming out of a tunnel near Jemez, New Mexico and it's maybe 1/2 the size of the figure and bike I'm painting. I keep telling myself that I can make a lot of refinements when I put the final touches on the painting at the end. So far I have about 13 hours into the painting portion and only have about a sixth of the canvas covered...hope you like a long story!



  1. Sue, Your painting is comeing along nicely. I can't wait to see that finished castle. I love castles,dragons, fairies stuff like that. I know I am going to love this painting. You said it was for a show. Don't forget to let us know more about that.
    It is interesting how things work. Sometimes the simplest things just get us down. Like when you are writting and the smallest word can not be formed in your mind.
    You are doing a great job. Don't over due yourself.

  2. Hey, thanks, Linda. It helps knowing you love castles, it puts it on a more personal level and I'll think of you when I'm working on it...(you'll be my castle muse).

    Good advice on not over-doing, I do try to push to get past the underpainting stage., and I have to remember the joy is in the doing :)


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