Viking Spirit!

Ahoy, avast, and all that. It recently occurred to me that it had been a year since I stepped aboard the Draken Harald Hårfagre, a Viking great ship built in modern times, on September 1, 2018, while it was docked at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. This educational visit prompted a 6- to 7-month (painting) voyage on my part, and I realized it had been about as long since I had completed it– without yet sharing it here with you. Lest anyone wonder, it wasn’t a solid 6 months of painting, but rather 6 months or so from start to finish. Sometimes I let her (the painting) sit docked, as it were, for a few weeks while I worked on other things & thought about what to do next. Also, this painting is not of the Draken, but it is decidedly inspired by the ship. I found the deep red sail of the ship particularly striking and thus chose a red color for my painting.

Here is the irrefutably concise–in comparison to a 6-month, day-by-day version–travelogue of this painting’s development. Medium: tempera & acrylic. 

1. An acquaintance had given me a sizeable twice-painted-over painting on hardboard (with hanging wire already installed) that she no longer wanted. I sanded and gessoed over the old image. (Photo might be of the second layer of gesso. Gesso is essentially a primer.)

2. Next, thumbnail sketches (drawn in the car during a road trip).

3. Starting to add base colors/underpainting. The painting was too big to do on a table or my easel, so I propped it against a bookshelf.

4. Adding local color & developing water. I like a number of qualities about the water at this stage– there’s a looseness, an energy, the play of light & dark–but somehow as the painting continued, it got tighter, more controlled, and, because the green water seemed a little too tropical for a Viking voyage, darker & bluer. If I ever paint another version, I’d like to try to keep that looseness.

 

5. Bringing focus to the ship itself, including the sail. Somehow, over the several months, the visual line/direction of the composition changed  from something more linear to a kind of whirlpool. The water in the above photograph is constructed in an angular/zig-zag manner up to the ship; over time I embraced the whirlpool or vortex spiraling around it. 

6. Completion. I took this photograph outside (because my apartment does not have great lighting), so the colors look a bit different than in the other photos. Somehow it also seems flatter…but it gives a lot of depth to the corner where it hangs in my apartment. Curious contrast. 

Ready to cross the North Atlantic?

Put on Your Sunday Clothes

Happy Sunday. After working months on the last painting I shared (À la côte sud d’ Île Sainte-Marguerite) & another one I haven’t posted yet, I desired to paint something quicker and less detailed. Sometimes doing a “quickie” after or during a longer painting gives new life or energy to the creative process. Granted, it took some hours, but it was done, to my satisfaction, over 2-3 evenings. I primarily painted with a palette knife. 

With a dress like that, if you don’t think of Hello, Dolly!, you must not have seen this musical. Note the added business card in her left hand.

In other news, I recently added some new little paintings to the Nature & Animal Art galleries; see whether you can spot them.

Bubblegum

The painting shared in my previous post is finished. It’s called “Bubblegum Pop,” which is a style of music as well as what occurs when someone blows too big a bubble. (As usual, click the thumbnail to enlarge.) I may paint another version down the road, one that’s a little more… spontaneous? Brighter? Fresher? The right word will come. Or maybe I’ll do a drawing; I thought of using my Prismacolor markers, but they’re still in Florida. (I couldn’t pack all my art supplies in the car and still have room for an art show.)

Acrylic, 9″ x 12″

I’m adjusting to my new studio space (aka the card table in the corner). This week, the painting table will become the proverbial drawing board as I set up for the next project–once again resuming John Churchmouse illustrations. (Poor mousie–he’s been on and off the drawing board and the writing desk umpteen times since the idea came to me in 2011. But his day will come! This could be the year!)

Painting Progression: Beach House

Here is another beachy painting for your viewing pleasure. This was commissioned by a couple I know in Florida. 12 x 16″, oil. The lady had a magazine clipping of a painting she liked of a porch of a Floridian house, but the background was a thick palm grove. She thought it would be really neat to have a painting with a similar side view of a house but instead with a path to the beach. Something much brighter and more open, with sky. There were several other little ideas, too. That’s where I came in to play–toss everything together, jumble it around, and make it come out nice.

She named it The Promise. Although you can only see a little bit of the ocean now, the rest is there, waiting to be seen, and it will be glorious.

This time, instead of posting several separate images, I compiled them in one diagram. (Below. Click to enlarge.) I don’t know that making this was faster than editing and posting all the images individually, but it’s compact and won’t take as long to load. Feel free to let me know which you prefer in the comments below (1 image or many) so I can keep it in mind for the next progression.

Painting Progression: Beach

Happy new year!

A year ago December, I posted a series of photographs showing the progress on a sailboat painting. I’ve got another photo progression for an oil painting I did last month. As before, the lighting and angle change a little because I worked & took the photos at different times of day. The actual size is 24″ x 36″. Please enjoy.

Underpainting and laying in sky color

Developing sky and ocean

Sky and ocean colors set; blocking in plant matter

 

Adding shadows on the sand + middle ground palm tree

Developing grasses and palm fronds

Finished work!