Friday, November 15, 2013

'Sweet Tea' Goes Home


For those that follow my blog you may remember a challenging commission I took on last year titled 'Sweet Tea' . This past September the client was finally able to make the trip up north to take possession of the finished piece and I'm thrilled to report she was very happy with the results. Until then we had only communicated via phone and email so it was fun to have a true face to face with her and enjoy a good chat. Btw, this painting started life as 'Precious' but the sisters, who are all represented as children in the family portrait, actually held a title contest amongst themselves and it was changed to 'Sweet Tea'.

The painting was originally designed to hang in her Michigan home but because she and her husband winter in Florida they took it with them and she recently sent me photos of it framed and hanging in her Florida bedroom. What a nice surprise that the palette I chose goes so well with the southern décor, too! A few days ago I had a chance to talk to Marie, one of the eight sisters and an artist herself. (she's the one holding the paint brush in the painting) We had a wonderful chat and she also loves the painting. I'm awaiting the approval of only six more sisters.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mighty Mack ~ complete

I finished this up yesterday but found myself futzing around with it today until I told myself to "stop it, Billie!" I can't say I'm not glad it's done, though. I will see straight lines in my nightmares probably for weeks.

I was really impressed with neutral tint while painting the bridge. The tower is mostly neutral tint and it created a lovely rich black that was easy to lift and move with a damp brush. Up until now I'd only used it to mix with various colors to lower their chroma without changing the hue. Now I know it can stand on it's own and do it well. It still came in handy to desaturate the 'orange blossom' in the lower left corner while still allowing it to glow. I think the painting truly came to life when I added the white gouache highlights to the suspension cables on the right. So here it Mighty Mack, silhouetted against a stormy sky! I hope it looks as foreboding as it does IRL.                                            

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Mighty Mack ~ WIP 3

Latest update. I'm making progress slowly but surely. What I'm really glad about is the suspension cables. They don't look like writhing snakes(thankfully). I'm getting more confident with my brush strokes by working on this project, too. It's so dark and gloomy here I finally had to turn the lights on at 3:30pm so I took this photo with flash. Wow, does flash make every little flaw become glaring or what?! Anyhoo, I hope to have this completed in a few days. Does it look intimidating yet? I'm hoping ultimately to achieve 'foreboding'.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Mighty Mack ~ WIP 2

Sorry I've fallen off the grid for so long. It's been a tough month and I simply haven't felt like painting. I finally got back to this one a few days ago and I've been working on it a bit at a time. I must confess, all those straight lines are intimidating to me. I'm used to working with organic shapes and because I'm not confident creating such linear work I can feel my hand shaking the moment I pick up a brush. This is how a yardstick and watercolor pencils have become my new best friends.

I created the stormy sky with a mop brush, straight Ivory Black watercolor and lots of water. I didn't mix my own black on purpose because I wanted to blend the cadmium yellow portion of my sky into the storm clouds and didn't want to chance accidently producing some funky secondary colors. It can me. I used an Ivory Black watercolor pencil to add the suspension cables. I haven't smoothed out the watercolor pencil lines with water yet but that will come next. I'm using neutral tint to rough in the shadows which still need more depth and of course, the tower structure needs paint as well. I plan to use white gouache to add highlights to the cables and I still have to find a fairly accurate match to the blue of the guard rails. The final hurdle will be recreating the lens flare on the top left of the tower.