Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cloud Spinner

Cloud Spinner by J. Binford-Bell

I have been working on this painting for a rather long time. It is one of my most complex because of the design elements involved. Based in part on the Navajo Spider Woman myth the central figure spinning the clouds came from a photograph in an old book about Indian country a friend gave me. Yes, not everything is on Kindle, or at least my kindle. I love leafing through what were once called coffee table books. I get a lot of my ideas from elements in those photos. This painting has Whitehouse ruins at Canyon de Chelle, and Monument Valley in the distance. You cannot see one from the other.

I wanted the Navajo spinner to be spinning water and she ended up spinning a rainbow that runs under the little girl watching her. I had a full sketch and some colors set in my mind until a follower of my work said she thought it would be neat if the sky went from dark to light.

The sky and clouds
I was not wild about the sky when  first poured it. And it pointed out some flaws with the canyon walls which I extended into the background.

I used to begin with the center of my painting and then add around it. I ruined too many paintings. It is sky, background and then foreground as I circle the focal point of the painting.

Cloud Spinner emerges

While filling around Cloud Spinner I worked on developing the setting she is in. I did not want her to look as if she floated in space.

Canvas covered
At this point I was pleased at where the rabbit bush and sage were going, still upset with my pink sky and ready to change the cliff dwelling yet again. The detail work with inks, and the oil sticks are yet to be deployed.

Getting there
The oil sticks are fantastic for clouds and vegetation. But it does seem to add more time before a painting is finished. Between this photograph of the painting and the finished one which opened this blog there is a lot of oil stick work. It added depth and ground for the central figures. Only then did the ravens get added in the sky and the painting signed. Tomorrow it gets the first of several coats of UV archival varnish.

I have been putting ravens in my daytime skies for several years but in only the last few have I added the one raven all alone to represent one who left. Can you find it in the top photograph?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your process. The end result makes me just want to stare into the story of the painting.


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