Fisherman’s Wife (2019)
40″ x 30″ ~ Oil on Canvas
Fisherman’s Wife is a 40″x30″ oil on canvas. The original Fisherman’s Wife is one of my top-3 favorite pieces I have created. It was a very labor-intensive piece, but the end result was well worth the effort. Even though I always saw room for improvement, it perfectly captured the mood I wanted to impart and grabbed, a lot of attention when it debuted at a new Gallery here in Denver. It broke my heart to sell it, but that’s what we do in this business.
An early collector of my work has given me the opportunity to revisit this piece as a “Classic” commission. I am extremely excited to have the chance to surpass the original work. When finished it will ship to New York. I gotta say, New Yorkers certainly buy a hefty percentage of my work, which is why; I♥NY!
I started by sketching the overall layout on the canvas, based upon measurements used for the original piece back in 2009.
When painting the original piece, it was my intent for the perspective lines of the blueish building on the left to focus the eye where I wanted it to go. While I have always been happy with the results, it always nagged at me that I could have done a better job of that.
I intend to determine where and how I can improve upon this key element to enhance the effect I want, and ease my tortured mind.
…this would require math! (dammit!)
A quick flashback to drawing perspectives
Step 1. Using the sketch and my questionable math skills, I was able to establish the height and width of the windows when looking at them head-on. I also calculated the space between the windows, and the overall length of the wall. From all of these I created the illustration in Step1.
In Step 2, I established where I wanted the horizon line to be (green dotted line labeled “H”). From there, I set the vanishing point (red “X”). This is the point on the horizon where all lines converge.
All that is left to properly calculate the perspective is to draw lines from the closest point of an object all the way to the vanishing point. Using the 2 windows on the left as my objects (they are closest to the viewer), I stretched red lines from the closest corners of the windows (red arrows) to the vanishing point. The 5 red lines show the exact angle all the window lines must follow to be in proper perspective.
Step 3. Calculating the diminishing widths of objects as they move away from the viewer is the biggest challenge. Here, I needed to adjust the windows and the distance between them. I did the calculations to determine the widths (which is a pain in the butt), and adjusted them accordingly. Once the width is established, you simply draw the top and bottom lines of the windows on top of the red guides.
Overall a lot of work, but the cornerstone of this painting has been laid, and it is perfectly positioned.
Once I had accurate measurements, I went back to my original 2009 sketch to compare. I used tape to simulate the original perspectives and found what had been bothering me. A couple slight tweaks and I’ll be able to sleep at night again.
Next comes the basic underpainting.
Underpainting is where the fun begins!
A basic rule of thumb with the colors is to paint “hot-over-cold/cold-over-hot“. For example, the cold colors of the water will overlay the hot red of the underpainting. This technique really adds intensity to the colors. You can also use the underpainting to “tint” the transparent oils that go over them. I typically do a bit of both on my pieces.
It is just a basic rule mind you. In the end, the artist has to decide how they want the colors to play together.
The good stuff comes next…
Once I finished all the underpainting and sketching, I started with oils. I began with the blue-grey building in the foreground. Using a small palette knife, I made very light impasto swirls to mimic the look of the hand-trowelled plaster on the areas closest to the viewer.
Once dry, I can go back can apply highlights and shadows to accentuate that sense of depth. They become less visible as they recede into the distance, until only colors will provide the sense of depth.
Still a lot of detail left to do here before moving on, but some will have to wait a few days until dry. There’s plenty of other pieces of the puzzle to keep me busy (like lots of bricks!).
Not much to report since the last update! I’ve been measuring and painting LOTS of bricks. I remember telling myself I was never going to do another painting with so many bricks, but it’s not really so bad. Here are a couple images so that everyone knows I’m not on a beach in the Bahamas!
The first photo shows the more detailed bricks on the nearest wall. I spent more time in this area adding details that aren’t seen from a distance.
The second photo shows a bit of the measurements needed to maintain perspective as the building rises above the viewer, and keep things aligned.
Finally, the 3rd photo shows where I am at right this moment, I am still painting bricks, and will be for a while longer!!
ON THE EASEL