Sunday, 19 January 2020

Finishing the beach commission

Today began with a heavy frost, the promised sunshine was nowhere to be seen, but there was a glow to suggest a brightness would emerge soon, so Maggie and I had a lovely walk over the fields.
Maggie loves frosty mornings because everything smells so much sharper, so she spent most of her walk, nose pinned to the ground.
I love those misty mornings where the world is emerging in the distance and the sounds are muffled, but the ice cracks underfoot.

Once home, a cup of tea and one of those brownies from yesterday beckoned me whilst I stood and decided my next painting move.

I began with the Collie, using my number 12 Classic Sable and Lunar Blue (which I love) and Copper with a touch of Raw Sienna, starting with the head and working towards the right.
I used my finest embossing tool to tease out individual hairs whilst the paint was wet.
(these are such useful tools, they come in packs of 3 with 6 different size tips)

Sticking with the same colours I began with the head of the figure allowing the colours to meet and merge as I progressed down the shape, making sure no section dried before adding the next colour.
I will add a little more detail later, but not too much.

Next I add the dog in the foreground, using the embossing tool as before to suggest fur texture.
Then straight away I add the reflections in the wet sections of sand.

Then I have a little think and I begin to wonder if the sand sections are dark enough!

This is not the time to change your mind about this. I should have made them darker before adding the figure and the dogs, but the more I think about it the more I feel I should have gone darker in the first place.

So I paint a darker version of the sand colours on a small piece of watercolour paper and allow it to dry. Then I cut the paper so that the colour goes right up to the edge of my sample. I don't have any white outline showing, as this will distract me from the correct tonal value once I place it onto my painting.
Its important that I can see the colour and tonal changes when I mix my colours, so my palette with shallow large mixing areas is perfect.

So this is what I do.

I lay it on my painting and place it next to the dogs. I move it about on the beach section checking the tonal contrasts with what I already have and my conclusion is....
Yes, it needs to be darker!
This means instead of sweeping strokes over the painting, merging the colours and dropping in colours, I will need to carefully paint around the dogs and the figure, suggesting that the wash went behind it all.
This is not ideal, but once I decide its not right, there is no living with it.
No matter how happy I am with anything, if I see something isn't quite right, I always change it rather than live with a compromise.
This will mean some adjusting afterwards, but that's OK.

And this is the final result. I ended up having to alter the tonal values of both of the dogs, but I used that to add more depth and textures, so that worked out well.
I am happy with how this turned out and its new owner is thrilled, it will be flying over to its new home in Belgium later this week.

It was such a lovely commission.

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