Issuing the Call

Issuing the Call
Issuing the Call

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Monday, May 20, 2013

This is how it all starts

Rough in Pencil stage

With every painting it all has to start somewhere.  But even before I get to the point of drawing on the canvas.  Many hours of work have already been invested in the painting.

 I've got to decide first on what I want to paint

    With this painting I knew it was going to be a Wildlife painting.  I've been wanting to paint another Elk too.  So I started thinking about Elk and their environments.  I watch videos on YouTube of Elk in the wild.  I also knew that this painting will be put up for Auction in Price Utah, so some place in Utah.  When I would talk to people about this painting, I would tell them about the Elk then I kept saying it will be in the Uintas somewhere.  So it is going to be an Elk in the Uintas.  Also after talking with a guy I work with at the Provo Temple.  I told Him I wanted some type of fury small animal hidden in the rocks up front in the lower right corner.  We tossed ideas around of various animals, weasel, ferret, wolverine, marmot, wood chuck and so on.  Then he came up with the idea of a wolf.  I suggested not up front being too large an animal there, but in the back ground, hidden in the trees.  So now I've got an Elk and a Wolf.  Having the Wolf will add a bit of tension and excitement to my painting's Narrative.  But I still need a small animal in front.  So after pondering about it, I came up with a Female Grouse and a nest of eggs.

Research Time

    Now that I know who, what and where it is time to do research into those areas. 
  •  Knowledge about the subject: history, location, structure, anatomy and so on
        I started by doing more research on Elk, Wolves and Grouse.  Also I did research into the habitat of these various animals and the Uintas.
  •  Plein Air
        I went out a couple of times to do some plein air paintings for this painting.  The first day I got chased away by a lightning storm ( I didn't want to get struck by lightning in the middle of an empty meadow).  Then on a second day I just couldn't find a place that had what I was needing.  So I'll just use some of my old plein air paintings as reference.
  •  Reference photos, both on site and internet
        While out getting chased by lightning I took plenty of pictures.  Also I spent a few hours on Google doing image searches.  These I just use as rough references.  I don't copy any of them.
  •  Early sketches
        Once I know roughly what I want, I start doing sketches to work out many of the problems of size and arrangement of the various elements of the painting.

The are sketches from an earlier post
Couple of oil studies of Elk with different painting techniques

  • What size
    Well I knew I want to go bigger then what I usually go with, because this was going to help this sick little boy.  Bigger is better.  After spending time looking at canvas of various sizes I first decided on the standard size of 22 inches high by 28 inches wide.  But as I thought about it maybe bigger was better.  So now I'm going with 30 by 40 inches.
  • What am I going to paint it on
    At first I wanted to painting this on a board.  Either canvas board or Hard board with 4 - 5 coats of Acrylic Gesso.  But I didn't have anything of the sizes I was looking to paint on laying around the studio.  So I went out to see what various art and craft stores in the area had in stock.  But no had what I was looking for in boards.  So I went with a canvas instead.  Plus a canvas at that size (30 x 40) will be much lighter.
  • Time of day
    Evening, magic hour.  A time of warm light and cool long shadows.
  • Direction of the lighting
    Right to left with the sun way off of the canvas to the right.
  • What will be the narrative of the painting
    I'm still not completely sure of this.  But it is taking on a life of it's own as I place the various animals and elements in the painting.  For me personally the Elk represents a feeling of grandeur and noble strength.  The Wolf hiding in the shadows of the trees, darkness and ill intent.  The Mother Grouse sitting on her eggs, innocents and motherly protection.
  • What over all feeling am I looking for
    I'm just going to see where this one takes me.
  • What two main colors will be represented in the painting
    Yellow-Orange / Violet.

Meditation / letting all this information just sit and Stew

Hours spent just sitting and/or laying on my back thinking about and visualizing all the various elements of the painting.  This is the goal setting part of the painting.  If I don't know where I'm going how will I get there or know when I've arrived.

Once all this is done and I've rough the painting in I'm finally onto the next stage, Inking.

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