Hope you had a good Thanksgiving. Mine was very quiet. And I was very thankful.

Where were we? Oh. Right:

Night of the Hunter, Part II

If you're arriving here for the first time, or you feel the need to refresh your memory about what went on here
last week, you will find almost more than you would care to know about the development of this painting of Orion
here. But don't feel obligated, here's all the background you need:

All the background you need, ha ha. Pretty good, huh? Anyway. Last week we left off with this,
a piece of Masonite that I had covered with about a bajillion coats of gesso, then toned very lightly with
acrylics. So now I start the actual painting, using thinned oil to sketch in the basic elements of the scene.
I draw one element in, I scrub it out. I draw it in again, I scrub it out again. Gradually I move closer to the proper
placement and proportion, all the while referring to the multiple pencil sketches I made last week...
no two of which, I now notice, seem to agree on what the proper placement and proportion are.
Which may be part of my problem at this stage.

Finally I get things situated right, or close to it. I make more adjustments until I realize I'm just
trying to postpone adding the darks. It makes me nervous; when you're doing a night
scene, you got to have strong darks...but you'd be surprised how easy it is to overdo them.
Oh well, nothing ventured...

I note where the darkest darks will go -- the tree line, foreground, and shadow side of the poles, signs
and what have you -- before I do anything to the sky. As I work, I try to leave the background color
showing though in places where light sources will be; this will help me a lot later on.

You probably can't tell the difference between the above picture, and the one before it. I certainly can't
at any rate. But if you saw it in person, you'd see more of that sickly sodium-vapor lamplight hitting
the pavement. And it's at this point that I decide to stop being such a chicken, and
lay some real darks in. So here we go:

Well, let's just cover the whole thing up, shall we? Great. Orion on black velvet, it looks like.
Bet nobody's ever done one of those before.

Then I make what I hope will be a next-to-final pass, putting the poles back in now that I've figured out where
they go, and pushing some of the foreground darks further. There's not a lot left to do -- aside from minor details like
adding the subject matter -- but the problem is, I've used so much alizarin crimson and phthalo blue (two of the very
oiliest of oil paints), it's so greasy and slimy that I can't work it anymore. In fact, the reason this is posted so late today
is I had to wait nearly a day for it to dry enough that I could shoot it without glare obliterating the image. I'm going to
have to let it dry even more before I can deal with it again. Before I stop, though, I use a pocket knife
to scratch out the position of two of the constellation's stars, Bellatrix and Betelgeuse, and I try the same thing
with the two streetlamps. Rather than make the lights with thicker, more opaque paint, I want to go the other way,
scraping down to the surface underneath (hence, all those coats of gesso). Then I can come back with a translucent
wash, which looks much more luminous to me. So here is a fair estimation of the effect in the finished product:

We'll do something different next week, but I'll show you the end result once this is finished.

Bellatrix and Betelgeuse -- weren't they the opening act for Olsen and Johnson?


11.19.07: Night of the Hunter, Part I
11.12.07: Hunter's Lake
11.05.07: Deconstructing October
09.17.07: Der Käfer
09.10.07: Straight Up
09.03.07: End of Summer
08.27.07: Knob Creek at Sunset
06.18.07: Grilling
06.11.07: Forgetfulness and Blasphemy
05.21.07: Guerillas Indie Missed
05.07.07: Cat on Page 2D
04.30.07: Study for God's Linoleum

04.23.07: Pareidolia for Dummies

04.16.07: Pareidolia
04.02.07: Regression Redux
03.19.07: Regression
03.12.07: She's Ready

02.26.07: Cold as Hell
02.12.07: The Three Faces of Suzanne

02.05.07: Progress, of a Sort
01.22.07: What I Painted
01.15.07: Art Lesson

01.08.07: Mountcastle Drive
01.01.07: Resolution
12.24.06: Christmas Eve
12.18.06: Wintering
12.11.06: By Way of Apology
12.04.06: Rodney Hits the Floor
11.27.06: Gondola Car and Busy Ball
11.20.06: Sketch for The Remains
11.13.06: Work in Progress: Lawn Deer

11.06.06: Two Studies for VW

Back to billcounts.com