Medium: Oil on Canvas
Working Title: Waiting for the Sun III
This piece is being commissioned by a Collector in New York, who recently purchased the painting “Passage”. I am very excited to do a larger version of a painting that was always one of my personal favorites. As is typically the case, I have underpainted a “hot” red underneath the areas where the “cold” colors of the sky will fall. This is a technique used by the old Venetian Masters and is one I rely on religiously in my own work.
I’ve also done some light sketching of the overall layout and horizon line for reference. After that, I masked out the areas where the stone pillars will be so I can maintain the hot red in those areas.
Today I began with the oils, starting with the sky and clouds. I worked wet into wet to establish the soft blends and color transitions. The customer has requested a bit more of a “foreboding” mood in this piece, so I purposefully went with a bit darker cloud structure with more turbulence and motion in the sky. I will couple that with a slightly smaller figure in the foreground, to accent the size of the pillars towering overhead. Hopefully that will convey the mood the collector desires.
I continued working wet into wet and added in the remaining background elements and basic foreground colors. After that, I incorporated the dark hill and grassy areas to set the threshold and reveal the negative space beneath the monolithic structures. The reflections of the small areas of grass and the rocks bring the element of water into the area, and break up any hard delineation between land and water.
Afterwards, I removed the masking for the stones to reveal the complete skyline and horizon. Overall I am very pleased with the mood that is forming. At this point I must let everything dry for a week or so in order to begin on the stones and foreground elements. I choose to have a hard edge around the stones, so I don’t want any blending/softening of color at the edges. This will pull the stones forward, and the placement of the figure in front of that will give the piece a nice depth. See you in about a week!
Cold weather slowed drying a bit, but once everything hardened sufficiently I was able to continue. I’ve begun working on the stones – from dark to light. The darker stones are being done with small brushes to increase the detail and color in the shadows. This makes it more tedious, but the results are worth the effort.
A few more days of work has allowed me to complete the stones. As I got to the last stones that are the brightest, I was able to use larger brushes which sped up progress a bit. I paid a lot of attention to the amount of detail increasing as the stones moved closer to the light. I am really satisfied with how this has turned out.
Next comes the figure and the finishing details. Can’t wait!!
At last, the final day. I added the moon, bird and the figure, along with a lot of small highlights and details. I am very pleased with the way the figure came out – that is always the big risk. A good figure finishes the piece, while a bad figure ruins it. While the figure stands in the foreground, it does not detract from the stones – exactly the effect I was going for.
This piece is finished and it came out exceptionally well – the best of the series. The larger size allows for more detail and color and also makes a more powerful statement.
Here is a close up of the the figure;