Thursday, October 28, 2010

"WIP Matanuska - Fifth Session"

Fifth Session
I spent about 4 hours (including set-up and clean-up) adding fur to Matanuska's right ear. Each fur strand has a gradation of subtle warm and cool neutrals. Capturing that gradation in a somewhat realistic manner is not an easy task.

You can see a photo of the adult Matanuska and read her story on The Greenacre Gang blog.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Fright Light"

"Fright Light"
5"x7", Mixed Media on Canvas Board
© 2010 Bernard Echanow

Alice Thompson's "Spooktacular Challenge" for Halloween inspired both the poem "The Sorceress on Crow's Nest Street" and the the painting "Fright Light."

In June, in the dead of night, I took several pictures  of a night light near which I had sticky tacked a couple of rubber spiders. I was preparing to submit to a "painting the night" challenge. I couldn't quite get motivated at that time, but I kept the photos.

Earlier this past week I did a couple of preliminary sketches while visiting a local coffeehouse. I followed up with a couple of quick drying acrylic underpainting sessions on Friday.

On Saturday I did most of the overpainting using oils and Galkyd Lite medium. I do not know how Gamblin's Galkyd Lite got named. It is hardly "lite" for it has the consistency and color of warmed honey. Undiluted it causes the paint to drag and can be used in for creating a "dry brush" texture - just what I wanted. It also speeds up drying time. On the palette, paint mixed with Galkyd Lite tacked-up and dried within a half hour.

Because the painting was mostly dry from using the Galkyd Lite, I was able to finish and photographed the painting today, Sunday.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Fourth Session for Matanuska"

Fourth Session
Today I spent about 1-1/2 hours on the background. I, also spent about 2 hours on Matanuska's left ear. First time I recollect painting fur. I mainly used a No. 4 Winsor & Newton sable watercolor brush and a 1/2 Gamsol and 1/2 Walnut Oil medium.

I did paint most of the hair with the painting turned upside down so that I could pull the strokes downward affording me greater control. The left ear is about 90% complete and the right ear is about 50% complete.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"WIP Matanuska - Third Session"

Third Session
I worked some more on the eyes. Matanuska's right eye is filled with a universe of beautiful reflections.

I painted the ears a solid black. In future sessions I'll be adding delicate white and gray fur to convey the insides of the ears. Right now I'm a bit unsure as to how that will go.

Getting the shape and size to convey a warm wet nose is, yet, another challenge. And, I'm sure I'll be spending an entire session on the happy tongue.

Lots more to do - at least 3 or 4 more sessions of 4 hours each!

"WIP Matanuska - The Beginnings"

First Session
Matanuska is the working title for this painting. When I consider the painting finished, I may rename it.

The dog belongs to a former co-worker. When I first received the emailed photo I knew it was portrait material; it was really cute.

I've had the photo for about 3 years. It has taken me a while to gather up courage to attempt painting a furry animal. Along with other art classes, I attend a studio workshop and decided to plunge into the fall semester with Matanuska.

The reference photo stands on its own. It gets ooohhs! and aaahhs! in class. The dog's owner tooked the photo and it is definitely "print, frame, and smile" quality. I don't want to compete with it, so, for now, I won't be posting it.

To get a quick start I blew up the photo and outline traced it onto the 11"x14" canvas. I started with a Burnt Sienna value study underpainting and then quickly went into an alla prima overpainting. On the first day from a blank canvas to what you see above took about 4-5 hours. I was moving so fast, I forgot to take progress photos.

I used every imaginable mixture of Burnt Umber, Ivory Black, Gray (Gamblin), White, and Ultramarine Blue to block-in the background. To the "gray" combinations, I added some green for the foreground block-in.

Second Session
I concentrated on Matanuska's eyes for the 4 hour second session. I adjusted size and configuration of the eyes to convey more of the animal's personality. I painted the pupils  primarily with Ivory Black mixtures. The irises were created from Gray, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue, and White.