Over the Hump

This is where a painting gets exciting. I’m over the hump and starting to get some things close to finished but much of it has still hardly been touched. I’m starting to see its potential at this stage. Usually I like a painting best at this stage, not because it looks best here, but because I haven’t been around it long enough to be sick of it yet and enough of it is finished to really begin to appreciate it.

After I brought the two front characters to a fair level of completion. I began to see that I was going to have some very boring negative space between them. This is the problem with painting large. In a sketch even the smallest, most insignificant negative spaces can become big problems. This space was really becoming an area of concern for me till one morning I woke up with the image of and angry dog between the men. I was relieved to have found a solution to say the least. I then invited a friend and her dog to my studio to get some pictures (not just any dog, but one that fit the characteristics of the dog in my mind) . Of course I couldn’t get the dog to do what I wanted but with the pictures and an animal anatomy book I was able to come up with the above sketch, which I will work from in the painting. As you can see below, I then drew him in white (so I can see him against the dark clothing of the man behind him) and began to lay in some fur patterns. Monday I will go into some detail if the paint is dry. It often seems that I get the best results when I’m forced to solve problems like this. This dog will really help reinforce the mood of the painting as well.


"Mob" Character Direction

One of the difficult things about doing multifigural paintings is composing the figures so that they are aesthetically pleasing, relate well with one another spatially and conceptually, and best tell the desired story.
Here I have laid in the figure’s heads in color. This is the stage where I can really see if they work well with one another. I think I need to add a couple more figures to give more depth and to show more of a ‘mob’ feeling. I’ve added a few strokes next to the man with the gun over his head where I plan to add one of them. I think the other will be around the inside of the same man’s elbow.

"Mob" Week One

This is a photo taken a day or so after the initial lay-in. I’ve started to lay-in the first layer of color. If this where a contemporary portrait I would be painting alla-prima, or wet into wet, and complete each part in one sitting to maintain a fresh quality. But with this type of subject I work in layers to build more depth and history in the paint. This technique goes a little against the grain for me, Its not easy to leave something unfinished especially when you don’t have to. I see these two men as the most significant characters so I focused on them first.