Saturday, January 17, 2015
Over the last year, I have been slowly completing paintings that I started some time ago. Most of the time these pieces don't need a lot of work to finish them and that was the case with this one. Initially I wasn't that happy with the way the rocks came out so decided to re-paint that area. This took longer than usual (naturally) and was only finished late last week. Although this is a medium-sized painting, I feel that this is more of a study and I hope to get to finish a larger version of it sometime in the future.
I first came across this scene many years ago when I lived in Hong Kong. The huge roots of a Banyan tree cascaded down the hillside, hugging the contours of the surface rocks and provided support for the massive tree above. In a space between the roots, a government worker had painted a fire hydrant marker showing the direction of the closest hydrant and also the type of water etc. The scene had a huge impact upon me when I first saw it and I knew back then that I would do a painting of it. I loved the various elements of the scene which I felt brought man and nature together. A few studies followed then I set to work on a larger stretched canvas using oil paints. Over the years I did bits and pieces here and there before finally getting my act together and finishing the work. Size is 24" x 36" (61cm x 92cm), oil on canvas. Private collection.
Monday, December 29, 2014
Here are a few illustrations I did a long time ago for a proposed book of birds. The plate above was to include Little and Chinese Egrets (you can faintly see the pencil outlines) but only the Great Egret was completed.
This plate included some of the tern species seen in South-east Asia, again not completed mainly because I couldn't find a publisher willing to sponsor the time and money to do the project. Both illustrations gouache on paper, size about 11" x 7".
Friday, December 26, 2014
I finally finished this large painting that was started some time ago. Since sky patterns and colors at dusk (and dawn) change so rapidly, I was only able to do a small study in my sketchbook before the colors faded to grey as the sun set lower below the horizon. A few photos helped my memory along when it came time to do the actual painting, and since I had planned on doing a large version, I first painted a smaller study (about 9" x 12") to help solidify the design etc. A graduated deep and slightly greyish-blue was laid in first from top to bottom then the darker clouds were painted in. The lower areas of the clouds that were picking up the last rays of the sun were carefully added and I continued working my way down to the horizon. I kept the land below simplified in tones of grey so all the focus was on the sky and when that area was completed, went back to the sky for some of the final details in the clouds. Size is 30" x 40" (76cm x 102cm), oil on canvas.
Monday, November 24, 2014
I did this young Bald Eagle study some time ago, working this time in oils instead of watercolor as I usually do. I actually prefer the look of immature Bald Eagles as apposed to the adults of the species - probably because I haven't been able to properly resolve painting a basically white head against the contrasting dark body. Perhaps some day I'll be able to work it out but until then I am enjoying working on these young eagle studies. Size is 12" x 9" (30cm x 23cm), oil on board.
Friday, October 31, 2014
After much time spent working over the rocks, I decided to finish the figure trying to bring completion to the work. I started by slowly laying in washes of color building up tone and form. This process took a surprisingly long time but eventually I got to the point where I was happy. I'll put the painting away for awhile and will probably do some work to it at a later date but for now this is as far as I can take it. Size is 22" x 30" (560mm x 762mm), watercolor on Arches paper.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Most of the rocks are complete at this point. Usually while working, I'll step back from time to time and see what areas need more work and selectively pay more attention to those parts as needed. It's a case of fine tuning when I'm this far along, seeking a balance and if needed, I'll scrub out some areas so that I can re-work them, trying all the while to get closer to the final image I have in my head. I'm also adding subtle washes to the figure and slowly bringing it along as well. This painting has been a bit of a marathon, working on and off for a few months - hopefully not too far to go now.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
I completed the first pass of the large rock using mostly thin washes as before then followed with smaller details for both texture and to help shape the various rock forms. More work was done to the further rock shelf keeping things light and underdeveloped at this point. Washes to the figure also helped maintain a general tonal harmony as I was careful to keep both parts of the painting coming along at the same time. This helped me get a better overall feeling of the work and was easier to see what part to work on next. It's getting there but still lots to do though!