I worked on River Watcherand Night Watcher(see the previous post) concurrently, switching off as one dried enough to work on, and then the other did. Each time I switched – rolling my taboret cart from one to the other, shifting the left-hand easel (River Watcher) to fit the taboret between or beside each piece – it was emotionally difficult to leave the one I was quitting. But I’d gamely work into the current piece, and eventually be reluctant to leave that one! Guess I’m a bit obsessive.
I have a penchant for the 19th-century visual sense, both the popular esthetic and the experimental high art of the time, and it’s showing more and more in my painting. Maybe it’s hokey, but it’s me – at least for the time being. The figure in River Watcher is from the same photo shoot, same cemetery in Manchester, NH, as the one in Night Watcher – another muse-like beauty. She’s placed beside the Susquehanna River in Endicott, NY.
This is the first piece I’ve done, since childhood, which features an expanse of water, and I’m quite pleased with it. A lot of the underpainting is left to show, and I like the resulting depth.
River Watcher presented more challenges than the previous piece, as you can see in the progression below.
Click in any of the tiled photos below, to switch to a slide show of progressives. To exit the slide show, click the small X in the upper left corner.
River Watcher 1: underpainting started
River Watcher 2: underpainting coming along nicely.
River Watcher 3: underpainting finished!
River Watcher 4: beginning of color block-in, with light grey-blues in sky and river; greyish browns, greens, pinks on hillside. Underpainted trees show through, to be painted in again later.
River Watcher 5: color block-in continues. Greens added and wiped back in river, white/veridian green semi-transparent glaze over the figure. Some re-drawing on the foot.
River Watcher 6: blocking in the lights on the figure, more darks in the river, and added lights on the river in the same hue as on the figure, for color harmony.
River Watcher 7: values blocked in on figure – a bit too angular.
River Watcher 8: thinking maybe I should lighten up the figure again, after the dark glaze. Definitely have to cut some sky color back into the foliage (can’t believe I thought this was almost done).
River Watcher 9: thought I was nearly finished — just needed to delineate the geese, cut some lights into the darks of the trees and the figure — but I wound up re-painting the entire figure. It was just too choppy and muddy. Much happier with it now, but have to do some more work on the form of the wrist/hand. (The darks under the new surface inform it nicely, I think — I did as much wiping out as I did painting in.) Then lights to thin the trees, and subtle clarification of the geese. This one’s taking a while!
River Watcher 10: finished! just a little clarification of the geese, hand and wrist corrected, lights cut into tree foliage, and blues greyed down just a bit.