Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Process: Mine Shaft Ruins

Each of my paintings live quite an extravagant life before they are finished and displayed in a gallery/on my website/in someone's home. Some of you have mentioned you enjoy seeing the "behind the scenes" of how my paintings come to life -- or rather, to their final life. Here's the evolution of one of my most recent paintings.

Phase 1: On a gray toned canvas I drew the coal mines structure and positioned the trees, stakes & shadows.

Phase 2: After sanding phase 1 with a medium grit sandpaper I refined my dark lines & defined the highlight areas with flake white. (The mustard yellow color is from a failed painting. Instead of ripping off the canvas and re-stretching I started this painting over top of the previous one.)

Phase 3: Giving the stones & tree trunks some color, darkening areas and a thin wash of warm color over the weeds/undergrowth.

Phase 4: More color added -- greens & blues in the background, browns and reds in the foreground.

Phase 5: This was when I was trying to decide if the trees in the background should be lighter or darker than the stone archway. I also added some variation of color to the stones to show the light reflecting around in the shadows.

Phase 6. I decided my previous decision to lighten the background wasn't looking right -- so I pulled out the sandpaper again.

Phase 7: Another attempt to achieve the right background value.

Phase 8: Still experimenting with the background. Building up the foliage as well.

20x16, oil on canvas

Phase 9: DONE. The background goes dark again. Glazed the stones & emphasized the reflected light with cool blues and warm pinks/browns. Gave the tree trunk in the foreground a pretty, sunny vine. Darkened the dark areas a little more. Tried to balance out the rich warm colors (of the archway & the tree trunks) with some rich cools (violet blues in the deep shadows around base & cracks in the stone structure). A little red "a" in the corner & she's done!

I'd love to hear what you think of the final or any of the steps along the way. Thanks!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Midlothian Mine Shaft Ruins

Mine Shaft Ruins
20x16, oil on canvas

Below is a close up & shot of the piece framed.


Sorry for the stark lighting on the second pic. I had it framed for an incredible price at the Collector's Gallery and took the photo in the parking lot after I picked it up. I don't think the picture does it justice, but I had to post it anyway. :)

Tomorrow I'm hoping to post the progress shots of this piece. 
It had quite the life leading up to this point. Check back soon!

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