What’s that wretched creaking sound? Must be my rusty painting skills! It seems like all my creative focus lately has been on planning paintings, rather than actually painting. But then along comes a good art challenge, and like the challenge whore I am, I can’t help but play along. This one is hosted by Lee Brown on his A Day Not Wasted blog. An artist and photographer himself, Lee is providing some drool-worthy HDR photos that are an absolute pleasure to work from. No dead shadows in his work! Go see his Sedona Sunrise Challenge yourself for some great visual treats, and play along, if you’re so inclined.
This one didn’t exactly fall off the brushes, but at least I finished something. Here are a few photos taken along the way:
Starting with a loose brush sketch over a red ground. When I sketch with a brush, I use an angled flat, which makes good lines as well as filling in large areas quickly. With the paint, I tried to approximate the tone of the deepest shadows.
As the painting progresses, I try to let bits of the red show through. Easier said than done.
Here’s where I wish I’d stopped. I prefer the painting at this stage because it’s looser, warmer, and the values are closer together. But, as usual, I thought it needed to be more finished…
…so I tightened up the details and added more light and contrast. Now it looks more like 10am than sunrise.
I really loved how those twigs in the foreground caught the light in the reference photo, but I was having a devil of a time painting them with a brush, so I scratched them out with an exacto knife. I had to really dig in to get down to clean gesso. It was an okay experiment, but next time I’ll make the lines more “lost and found” rather than continuous, ’cause that’s how twigs catch the light.
Many thanks to Lee Brown for a fun challenge!