The first step is to under-paint a “hot” red in the areas where the “cold” colors of the sky will fall. This is one technique I use in my work to enhance the brilliance of the blues.
I’ve also done some light sketching of the overall layout and a 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 when the sky is painted.
First Day of Oils
I allowed the underpainting to dry overnight, and began with the oils this morning. I started by blocking in the sky and clouds. Working wet into wet allows you to create soft blends and color transitions, but one must be very careful to avoid contaminating the white, which is very easy to do. If the clouds start tinting blue then all contrast between light and dark is lost and everything turns to “mush”.
The collector has requested that the piece invoke a bit more of a “foreboding” mood, so I’ve gone a bit darker on the clouds, along with adding a bit more turbulence and motion in the sky. I am also planning to rearrange the positioning of the figure in the foreground to impart a greater sense of height to the pillars. I will continue to communicate with the collector to make certain the painting delivers just what they are looking for in that regard.
Today we continue working wet into wet to add the remaining background elements and basic foreground colors. Next, we 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 perceived hard delineation between land and water.
At this point we remove the masking for the stones to reveal the complete skyline and horizon. Overall I am very pleased with the mood that is forming. Now everything must dry for a week or so in order to begin on the stones and foreground elements. I want to pull the stones forward, so I’ve intentionally chosen to leave a hard edge around the stones. I don’t want any blending/softening of color at the edges so care is required.
A change in the weather (snow) slowed drying a bit in the studio, but once everything hardened sufficiently work is resumed. 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. The work is a bit tedious, but the end 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 is turning 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. The figure standing in the foreground 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 3 so far. A larger size always allows for more detail and color, and it also makes a more powerful statement on the wall.
(the coloring in this photo is a bit funky-sorry ’bout that)
© Copyright 1996-2022 – David Fedeli Fine Art • All rights reserved
© 1996-2022 – David Fedeli Fine Art • All rights reserved