GOODBYE OCTOBER! IT HAS BEEN A GOOD PAINTING MONTH. My mind and body are tired after this week of painting, but I feel good about what has been done. Hands, fingers, feet, toes, shoes, rocks, clothes, doll. I need to take a long walk and get some fresh air.
I didn't get through Brita's face again - next week. I found some interesting radio stations on the web to listen too while painting - a classical station from Toronto, Canada, and a wonderful mix of music from a Swedish station. My brush began moving faster at times with the music bringing me to the end of an intense week.
It is nice to see the figures "grounded" and little toes peeking out of the grass. Check back next week, the boys are going to begin entering the picture!
GOOD PROGRESS WAS MADE IN THE CENTER OF THE PAINTING THIS WEEK. I repainted Brita's hair and face, but feel I need to repaint the face again next week. It isn't quite right in color, value, and technique - not painterly enough for me. I added mountains in the background to frame Brita's head and add a darker value behind her head . This decision is an artistic decision that developed during the third week of painting. The mountains are all real shapes from real Norwegian fjords.
On Tuesday I painted on Brita's dress and the jewelry. I know I will have to go back and rework some of the values there. In the last two days I painted Kasey's head and dress down to the waist. I think I have the values and paint technique right in this area of the painting.
Next week my goal is to paint through the dresses for Brita and Kasey including their hands and feet. This should give the first real indication and feel for scale of the painting. I will also try to work through Brita's face again, hopefully for the last time.
Overall the painting is starting to come together for me in rhythm and technique. I am planning my color mixtures more carefully. The right values for a particular area are now beginning to show themselves more clearly as the figures and background play off one another in the light. In the end I fully expect to make adjustments to the values with glazes and opaque paint where necessary.
It has been another encouraging and challenging week of painting!
PAINTING THROUGH SOME OF THE DETAILS of the ship and upper dress slowed me down this week. I didn't get all the time on the canvas I would have liked. The grass and fall leaves were calling for attention along with a few other life needs.
I have not been content with what I have planned for the sky, so I did more visual research and will be adding some distant mountain shapes to frame Brita's head. I will work through her jewelry on the dress and paint most of the dress before moving on to Kasey's figure on the right. Those are my goals for this week - mountains, dress and jewelry and begin painting on Kasey. Realize that nothing in the painting is complete until the whole painting works together. I will tweak values, color, edges and details until I exhaust all that cries out for adjustments. Then someone other that me needs to hit me on the head with a Viking club to say "STOP! IT'S FINISHED"!
THE SECOND WEEK OF PAINTING HAS BEEN PRODUCTIVE. The size of the painting is still intimidating, but I am beginning to get used to it. I feel as though I am stepping into the scene, smelling the brisk morning air, hearing the gentle rocking of the ship in the shallow water near shore, the murmuring of family voices conversing about the mundane and the important. The moment of saying a "goodbye" is approaching far too soon. There is apprehension in the air.
What a challenge and privilege this painting has been and continues to be.
ANOTHER MILESTONE IN A LONG VOYAGE HAS BEGUN. I am going to repeat what I said on Facebook a few days ago I started this painting three days ago with a head cold and cold feet about this painting. The first day - disaster! The second day I scraped the paint off. Today I felt a lot better physically and thought about my many teaching situations in a painting classroom when I was helping a student (just like myself) lost and heading nowhere. So I said to myself, "Start over from the beginning - right color, right value, right place, right shape, right edge. Eight hours later I can breath again and have backed away from the edge of the cliff - carefully. The first head is done - not done done! No single element can be really finished until all are at the same level of completion. There will have to be a tweak here and there to bring everything together.
I must add that I asked the Lord for very specific help for my heath and mental attentiveness this week. The start was especially difficult and daunting. God knows my heart and the skill He has guided in me along my path in life. The mystery of His divine guidance is deeper each day I live. I don't expect or plan to fail on this project, but I don't want to go it alone in my own strength and understanding. When I stumble, (and I will), it is in this very human experience that I don't want to miss the peace and deeper joy God provides in the learning experience.
This coming Monday, after a weekend with family, I will mix paint again and continue on with a little more confidence than last week. I think I will work on Brita's dress and jewelry first. I will post the progress. Thanks for your interest and encouragement on this journey.
On the technical side of painting, I am using Walnut Oil in my paint to keep it from drying too fast. This gives me time to work through an area and then go back and carefully blend the edges that are too tight and break long line-type elements that are distracting to the focus of the painting. The Walnut Oil has been a great medium in preserving the softness of my brushes from day to day as well.