Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Conversation

The Conversation
18 x 30 Mixed Media on Artists Canvas

When I finished The Conspiracy I was already configuring The Conversation in my head. Now I am already working on The Agreement. At least that is what I think the duet of ravens in the next painting will be called. It is difficult to know exactly where a painting begins. Some less imaginary artists probably do not count the start until they put pencil to sketch pad to begin the drawing.

For me this series of paintings began in 2010 at the Petrified forest. A raven had staked out a rock from which to beg. He had obviously used great thought. It was close enough to the foot path that visitors could toss him a crumb but beyond where the people were suppose to walk. And far enough from the Do Not Feed the Raven sign that his audience had forgotten.

Painted Desert Denizen
10 x 10 on cradled Panel

I, of course, took his picture. And once back to my studio began to play with drawing and painting this totem.

But while ravens began playing a larger role in my paintings they did not get star billing until this year. But they also never quite left my mind. I became intensely interested in watching the ravens in my neighborhood and their various behaviors. There is definitely a reason a group of them is called a conspiracy. They seem to be constantly in communication with each other whether verbally or with various body movements.

Sky Poured

I chose Delicate Arch in Arches National Monument to be the background from my threesome. And then for composition reasons put another arch where no arch is. Artistic license. The yellow sky had worked so well in The Conspiracy I had to do it again. The paintings are a different size but because of palette they could exist in the same room.

Laying in middle ground colors, and India ink definitions on the ravens.

The India ink allows for a crisp definition of some of the feathers and to put in the places where the bird should be the darkest.

Colors and details of the background added in

Yes, the La Sal Mountains of Utah can be seen behind the Delicate Arch. And yes, they are frequently snow capped. They certainly were the last May I was there.

Ravens' colors laid in
Painting the ravens is a layered task. Yes, they are black. But an iridescent black and so boring if they were painted black. As discussed in the process blog on The Conspiracy they are about four different colors all overlapping and mixed together. I use a q-tip to lighten some areas up and another coat of paint to darken some down.

Almost done

I got out the oil sticks again for this painting. Did not use them on The Conspiracy but I felt the ground around and under the ravens required more texture and color. I also put some areas of green in; Sage before the arch on the left and a dark pine green before the La Sal's on the right. Patches of rabbit bush and snake week around the feet of the birds.

I changed the value of the red canyon behind Delicate Arch, and put a white wash over the La Sal Mountains and some of the sandstone bluffs on the horizon. There is a lot of details put in between this version of the painting and the finished one at the top of this blog. I changed the background of the raven on the right. And lastly I put in my murder of crows in the sky.

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