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Monday, April 30, 2012

Painting Sheep IX: Stages 1 - 3

When I visited the countryside of North Yorkshire, late winter was rolling into early spring and it was lambing season.

The green pastures were dotted with sheep. Anticipation was in the air. Everywhere I looked there were little lambs with their mamas or well rounded, expectant ewes.

As I blocked in the shapes and colors of this little lamb, memories of that beautiful afternoon came quickly back.  Pablo Picasso said, "Painting is just another way of keeping a diary". How true!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Painting Sheep VIII: Stages 1 - 4, Completed

I looked in my closet where I keep my canvases and found this little 5x5" that seemed perfect for this 8th painting in my Painting Sheep Series.

This particular ewe seemed deserving of her own portrait; she has such an interesting face. Plus, painting this composition on a square canvas was nice for a change.
Sheep Painting Study VIII
Oil on canvas, 5x5"
Rita Salazar Dickerson

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Painting Sheep VII: Completed

I decided to paint the background and the ewe's face a bit softer than I have in my last several paintings. For the majority of it I used a paintbrush and then blended with my palette knife.

Sheep Study VII
Oil on canvas,10x8"
Rita Salazar Dickerson

And then it was time for my palette knife. There is just something about a ewe's thick woolly coat. I love the challenge of interpreting it on canvas.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Painting Sheep VII: Stages 1 - 4

I woke up this morning wondering if I had any more sheep paintings in me...

Turns out I do.

This ewe and her lamb inspired me with her regal pose; so confident and peaceful.

Her little lamb resting close.

I am continually entertained by the variations in features, markings, and character of each sheep I have painted. I guess that's what keeps me going.

Now that I have blocked in their shapes with color its time for lots of paint and my palette knife. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Painting Sheep VI: Completed

Sheep Painting Study VI
10x8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
When I repaint this study into a full size painting I plan on cropping off the top (most of the background green above their heads) so that the sheep are pulled into the composition a bit closer.

 It will look more like this:

Right now I'm feeling like all the green in the background is unnecessary.

More to come!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Painting Sheep VI: Stages 1-4

These first steps in the painting are important. The shapes, color and composition are all decided during these stages. If I like what is happening now, I am usually happy with the end result.

Stage 1: I painted in the drawing with a thinned mixture of Transparent Earth Red and Ultramarine Deep.

Stage 2: Blocking in the background with a mixture of Cadmium Yellow Deep and Cobalt Blue.

Stage 3: I blocked in the foreground shadows with a mixture of Ultramarine Deep and Cadmium Yellow Deep.

Stage 4: With varying amounts of Titanium White and the dark brown I created with Transparent Earth Red and Ultramarine Deep I painted in the shapes of the sheep.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Painting Sheep V: Stages 1, 2 and 3

It was my last day in North Yorkshire, England and we had decided to spend it visiting Bolton Abbey. The history behind this place which dates back to 1120 is fascinating. The ruins were were impressive as were the surrounding grounds where we walked and enjoyed the afternoon. By now I had developed an admitted obsession with the local sheep and was so happy to see more of them gracing the pastures around the grounds of this abbey. I saw this ewe and her lamb watching me as I pointed my camera at them.

It seems to be working well for me, as I paint wet into wet paint, to first block in the colors and then add the details and texture with a small palette knife and occasionally a filbert brush.

 There is just something special about a mother sheep and her little lamb; it is a wonderful reminder of spring.

Next post: the completed painting.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Painting Sheep IV: Completed

It was fun to put on some good music and start playing with the palette knife today, applying paint and then pushing it around. First, I worked on the background keeping it loose and out of focus.
I've noticed that each little painting is taking less time than the last which is encouraging.

Sheep Painting Study IV
10x8", oil on canvas
After I spent time adding texture to the grass I decided to take out my paintbrush and work in brush strokes as well as the palette knife with the little lamb.  I am still entertained by the fact that there were so many different types of sheep in North Yorkshire. This ewe had such an sweet face. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Painting Sheep IV: Stages 1, 2 and 3

Here I go with the fourth painting in my Painting Sheep series. These 10x8" studies are in preparation for larger paintings to follow. For a moment, I was afraid that I might tire of this theme but once I looked over my reference photos of these interesting sheep from Northern England I am ready to do another.

After I had lightly painted in the shapes of this ewe and her lamb I decided to move the lamb over just a bit which allows more space on the left of the composition.

Then I started blocking in the shapes and colors.

Now I am ready to come back in tomorrow with the palette knife and complete it.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Painting Sheep III: Completed

I blocked in the last sheep and her two little lambs.

With the palette knife and a number 2 filbert brush I began adding texture to the sheep as well as the grass. At this point I was not sure I wanted much detail in the background. I was playing around with the idea of a suggestion of sky.

Sheep Painting Study III
oil on panel, 10x8"
But in the end, it had to be the stone wall which completed this piece for me. 

North Yorkshire - it was a calm and beautiful day; the little lambs reminding me of why I love spring.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Painting Sheep III: Stages Four and Five

At this fourth stage of the painting I once again blocked in the shapes of colors with a brush before I started my palette work.

As I look at this fifth stage of the painting on my computer screen I already see changes that need to be made. The little lamb was such a challenge with my palette knife, mainly because of its size - a little over an inch in width.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Painting Sheep III: The First Three Stages

This is the third study in my Painting Sheep series. I started by tinting the panel and then loosely painting in the shapes of the sheep with a small brush.

Then I painted in the main shapes of the first sheep in the foreground.

And then it was time for some fun with my palette knife.  I've had to keep reminding myself that I cannot correct my mistakes until I make them. This thought keeps me from hesitating.

I enjoy loading my palette knife with paint and seeing what effects I can have with color and values. I am so entertained with these sheep and how they all seem to have different looks and personalities.