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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Visiting Northern England: Completed Painting #3

Completed painting.
Oil on canvas, 20x16"
Rita Salazar Dickerson
I had to ask myself what it was about this ewe that made me want to paint her. There was something about her boldness, the way she carried herself and made her presence known. Plus there were the dramatic markings on her face and her thick wool coat; more than anything I was inspired by the random textures, colors and the light that played off of it. Having already painted a smaller version of her, I knew it would be even more enjoyable doing it large, using tons of paint and adding lots of color.

Stage 1: Drawing with paint, using a thin wash of Burnt Umber and mineral spirits.
I decided on a 20x16 inch canvas so that the head looked almost life size.

Stage 2: Painting in the dark markings.
Painting the ewe's face was the most tedious for me. I know it really didn't matter how accurate the black markings were on her face but I tried to get them as close as possible to how they really were.

Stage 3: Blocking in the rest of the face.
At this point it was just a matter of filling in with a gray paint around the black, blocking it in so that it would be ready for a thicker layer of paint (texture) to portray the ewe's fur. Painting wet-on wet, I wanted to complete this painting as I went, section by section.

Stage 4: Painting the face with a brush and palette knife.
At this stage I paid attention to color and value. Though it might be hard to tell from this photo, I used a lot of purple and blue.

Stage 5: Blocking in the body.
In general, I put more detail into my focal point, the face, and then used broader strokes and colors for the rest of the painting.

Stage 6: The background.
I followed the study rather closely for the background - keeping the strokes and colors varied and spontaneous.

Stage 7: Working on the ewe's neck.
At this stage, capturing the ewe's woolly neck and making it look thick and scruffy was my main objective. Once again I felt like I was playing with paint, my reward after all the detailed work on the face.

Stage 8: Completion.
It was rewarding to compare the final piece with the 10x8" study. To finish the painting I went over all of it again just to make sure I had everything the way I wanted it. I added more blue to her body and  lightened the shine in her eyes just a bit. I accentuated the edges of her wool and randomly pulled some of the paint into the background to give it a softer effect.

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