Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Compact - A Creative Process Blog

The Compact - Third in a series of ravens
20 x 30 Mixed Media on Canvas $1500

I was culling through my photographic files when it occurred to me I had yet to do a creative process blog on this painting or the one before it, The Conversation. The Conversation is very much like Conspiracy of Ravens which I did a process blog on. But The Conversation is different. More metallic paints and more oil stick were used. And the three ravens are different colors. I thought that gave more meaning to the compact they are entering into.

And because The Compact is different that the two raven paintings before it, the process was a lot longer. Going though the photo files to collect all the progress photos used in this blog showed I had begun it in April immediately after finishing The Conversation, but I only recently finished it. Artists paint even without a brush in their hands. This painting had a lot of that time.

Sky poured and sun floated

I knew what I wanted as far as sky and the middle ground of another canyon scene. Those are the unifying elements in the there raven paintings. So up to the progress photo below all three paintings began the same. The Chinese like the use of waterproof India ink with their watercolors. It sets the shades and establishes form before the wash of color.

Black India Ink added on ravens

But India Ink comes in more than one color so I was able to use the waterproof colored inks to establish the differences in my ravens early on. I like to be sure the inks are totally dry so my focus in the painting shifted to the filling in of the Monument Valley background.

Colored India Inks on birds and beginning painting of canyons

Up to this point things were moving along apace. Some paintings are just faster than others. But at the stage below The Compact entered into the contemplation phase of painting. It sat up on my studio desk where I could not miss seeing it as I went through the studio to the garden. Sometimes I would stop and stare at it for long period of times. And there were some composition changes at this time. The band of green in the foreground was supposed to be a stream connecting with the band of green in the middle ground. I realized I like the blocks of color in the foreground only.

Back ground blocked in and canvas covered on foreground

Finally I broke my stalemate with the canvas and began to lay in colors. Just any colors. Sometimes you have to be wrong before you can be right. The version below was just too hot. But with watercolors you can layer or wash other colors over the tops and change their tone and even color if you go from light to dark. And the metallic paints also help with that. They add light.

Canvas covered

And the oil sticks. Yes, the basis of my paintings are watercolor. That is really true of the backgrounds and foregrounds. But the primary focus or middle ground of my paintings are truly mixed media. The ravens are India Ink, watercolor, metallics, and oil sticks.

I invite you to study the differences between the progress photo above and the one below.

All but the details

This progress photo lacks some detailing on the ravens' eyes and beaks and claws. This is where the ink pens come in. And then of course it has to have the crows in the sky and be signed.

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