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Monday, July 19, 2010

Silverton, a Portrait...

Silverton, watercolor on paper, 11x15

Still inspired by the colors, scenes and interesting characters I saw on the 4th of July parade, I decided to do another portrait.

As in my last post, of "Star-Spangled," I was trying to portray the patterns of light cast over the figure by a straw hat. This gentleman's hat had a courser mesh and let more light through, so I was also bolder in my style. I used a very direct approach, with a basic drawing and no masking fluid or any other aids. I created the highlights negatively, that is, I painted directional lines in a grid to create the highlights. I used rough paper and less softening of color transitions, in order to accentuate the ruggedness of the man and his environment.

I had intended to capture a series of photos of the different stages of the painting process, but got so intent on the painting itself that I only remembered to pause to take photos twice. I have included the resulting photos below.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Fourth of July in Colorado

Star-spangled, watercolor on panel, 12x16 inches

I spent last weekend visiting friends and camping on the southwestern corner of Colorado, and on the Fourth of July we were in the mountain town of Silverton to watch the parade and festivities. What a fascinating event--full of all sorts of colorful characters both in the parade and in the crowd of spectators! One of the images that caught my eye was this lady wearing the flag colors, and the way her straw hat made a pattern of little "starts" on her blue collar in the right place to match her striped sleeve. She walked with some difficulty, but was happy and proud to express her patriotism with such exuberance. I captured her pose in a reference photo, along with images of many other interesting people. Back in the studio, I decided to give this vision a first try. Both the painting and the photo of it came out a little on the cool side, it doesn't speak of the heat of a July afternoon... In my next attempt, I will turn up the temperature a notch...