Thursday, December 1, 2011

35. Drought Conditions

This Drought is Tough 8x10 oil/panel

This drought IS tough.... ranchers around here have it better than some, since we're in the mountains and tend to get a little more rainfall than those at lower elevations, but  every one of them will tell you it's been a hard year. And of course the Las Conchas fire damaged huge, huge tracts of grazing land and forest.   With hay going as high as $15 a square bale, they have a hard row to hoe.

My job isn't so tough.. I just have to paint.  That's hard enough some days, though.  I am really working on being more "painterly".  I ask the question, "how can I put down a brushstroke that represents this piece of light and color?"  rather than "how can I make this look like a stirrup?... or whatever...".  That's the hard part, because what we are doing is painting how light affects things - we're not painting "things". You've all heard me harp on this before.  Sometimes I feel like I am pulled in two directions, though.  These type of scenes just scream for  DETAIL!!!   Part of me would just love to get out the tiny brushes and draw in all the details of the saddle, or whatever.  But growing as an artist, for me at least right now, means learning to put down purposeful brushstrokes that represent a chunk of value and color, so I squint even though I'm using a photo reference here, and I use the largest brush I can. I also did a fair amount of negative painting - I do not start these  paintings with any drawing, just some rough thin brushstrokes to place the objects. so for the horse and rider in particular, I sort of carved them out of the background.
And, can I just add one random thought:  cows ARE fun to paint.  Especially Herefords.

postscript.I reworked the background on this one because after looking at it, I decided it was too chalky and too busy.   I think this version is much better now....what do you think?

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