So I have had to put "the Nativity" on the shelf as I have been super busy lately. Plus, I just got a new commission for a small painting.
I am doing my best to crank it out as it is somewhat pressing. I was just commenting to Cindy about how I think one of my problems is that I don't have enough deadlines and am too lazy to force them upon myself. And just like that, the Lord provides.
So I have about a week to finish this puppy. I was pretty happy with how the sketch came out and I've started to paint in some color. The title of the piece is "Our Lady of Joy." I was really trying to capture a subtle, joyful moment between the Blessed Mother and our Lord, one of what I can only imagine as thousands of moments, in which a perfect mother was delighting absolutely in her perfect son.
In coming up with the idea for the painting, I found myself dwelling on the joy I find in my own children. How much more would Mary's joy be, although tempered perhaps by the knowledge and foreshadowing of His future suffering.
Anyway, let me know what you think. I am planning on making prints available for purchase once it's completed.
So it has been a WHILE since my last post but I thought I would show my progress over the past month or so. I haven't been able to give this painting the attention I would like to, but I still seem to be plodding along.
Then I traced my original drawing onto the gesso'ed canvas. This is the first time I've done it this way and I have to say I was pretty pleased with the result.
After the image was traced onto the canvas, I washed it with thinned burnt umber and then painted in the mono-chromatic under-layer with burnt umber
Here you can see some color now entering the scene.
Like how the Christmas tree and stockings are subtly in the background? Ironic much? It has actually been really cool getting to work on this during the season of Advent. I get to reflect on and wonder at the mystery of the Nativity for hours at a time.
So I have been working away at my next painting, the Nativity and I have to say, I'm pleased so far with how it's going. After reading up a ton on the methods of some other artists, I've decided to do a full sketch of the painting, followed by a color sketch (or maybe a few - we'll see) and then trace the drawing onto the canvas when it's ready.
I tried this method with another painting last year and was met with a good deal of frustration. This time, however, I am beginning to see just how useful each step of the process can be.
The charcoal sketch helps you very quickly get a sense (albeit a black and white one) of what the final painting will "look" like. In other paintings I've done in the past, the process has felt more like I'm wandering through it, hoping that the finished project will turn out good enough in the end. The color sketch has more or less the same value. You can forego getting the drawing just right and concentrate on what the values should be and what the painting will more or less look like in the end. I found a really cool blog that describes the merits of using a thorough method.
I feel like my art is in it's toddler phase of development: slightly out of infancy, starting to walk but recklessly trying everything, shoving things into its mouth, stumbling and hurting itself (you get the idea).
This is more or less the final sketch that I'm going to use. I had to tweak the angle of Mary's head a little, because she seemed to be leaning back too far. For that, I cheated and used the computer. You'll notice too that the drawing looks somewhat unfinished still. I didn't really feel the need to fill in a lot of the negative space, since it will all be very dark ( a lot of charcoal). This still gives me a sense of the whole scene. Not to mention, it will be much easier to trace!
Here, I tried to change the face of Mary. Cindy, who is always my voice of reason, said she thought it would look odd if Mary's face was mostly in shadow. I think she is as usual, correct. I didn't really like the new version, so I am going to see if I can just lighten her face enough in the color studies and final painting.
I also had to do a little cleaning up after I found our little rascal, walking out of the front room with black fingers.
No harm no foul. Once the "final" sketch was done, I printed it out on regular computer paper and mounted it to poster board for the color study.
Here's the color sketch more or less completed. I might do some more of some of the details, we'll see.
Stay tuned for the next installment!
Happy All Souls Day,
Thanks so much to everyone who checked out the website and especially those who left such kind and encouraging messages. I am really touched.
This past week we celebrated T-Bird's (Thaddeus) feast day on Tuesday, and subsequently got down to carving some seriously mean jack-o-lanterns. I was pretty happy with the results. Check out the intricate details on the hair of Cindy's"Bell" pumpkin which she carved for Abby.
Meanwhile, I've started working on my next painting, the Nativity. In case you were wondering, I am trying to do a painting for each Mystery of the Rosary, starting with the Joyful Mysteries. So I am basically on #3 out of 20. Let's see if I finish in my lifetime.
Here are some pictures of the preliminary sketches. I've decided to do a full charcoal drawing to make sure the figures and everything look just the way I want them and then I will see about tracing the drawing onto the canvas. Let me know what you think.