28 August 2009

star paintings

this is the span between the big dipper and cassiopea, centered on polaris. three stimulants on this. i happened by larry's on the first night of the perseid meteor shower, and let myself enjoy the asterisms in the north sky. i stumbled onto a freeware called "Where Is Messier 13?", which every amateur astronomer will recognize as a globular cluster in the constellation bootes, west in the sky from the bright star arcturus. i viewed the night sky using larry's infrared binoculars, which revealed texture in the milky way most beautifully.

i became intrigued with our celestial place and gathered photos of local galaxies, our galaxy structure, local star clusters and nebulae, the visual pattern of the milky way. i drew the northern star locations and magnitudes with a charcoal pencil, copying from the norton star atlas, making an asterisk shaped mark.

watercolor on Lanaquarelle HP 300gsm, 10" x 14".

this one was the first. i used this as the drawing guide for the painting below. the milky way is deep yellow, the sky green gold, every black star is tinted with cadmium scarlet, then colored in with cobalt teal blue. the stars look like blue cinders and the spatial sense of a star scape is more evident.

watercolor on Lanaquarelle CP 300gsm, 10" x 14".

this was drawn by copying the first. the sky is several kinds of transparent blue, stars reserved with liquid latex then tinted around the margins with yellow, magenta or green blue. i didn't enjoy the paper, which was too heavily sized and susceptible to cockling.

25 August 2009

april & son

watercolor on Arches CP 300gsm paper, 14" x 10".

second in the april series, heightened the color a little and enjoyed getting the fluffy texture on the sesame st. doll. unfortunately as with so many of my paintings, the photograph doesn't convey the figure modeling at all.

05 August 2009

april & son

watercolor on Arches CP, 300gsm, 14" x 10".

i had worked with april over a year ago, and contracted with her to do three paintings of her and her year old son as trade for her modeling for me.

one thing or another, other projects, travel, illness and an unpredictable tremble in my hand, perhaps a sign of age, alternately slowed or postponed work on these images. last month i substantially finished them, and this week put the final touches on all three.

in this image i opted for a muted palette confined to a limited range of warm hues, with an ultramarine blue wash for the background. the light structure is simple and the pose was both a good portrait study of april and an nice psychological contrast between past and future, adult and child, innocence and experience.

i kept the modeling rather flat, and stylized the hair, in a way that i wanted to suggest renaissance paintings. this was the painting the model chose to keep.