Monday, 12 April 2010

More Indian Paintings

Crow Eagle. Schut Vivace 115lb. 15" x 11" Not

Two Hatchets.115lb Schut Vivace 15" x 11" Not.

I much prefer the `Two Hatchets' painting to that of `Crow Eagle'. They were painted because I wasn't happy with the originals and several others have finished up in the recycle bin in the interim. Paradoxically the resemblance to the original photograph is less but I prefer the result above to my original effort.

With both I studied the two paintings of Joseph Wolfskill in Charles Reid's `Watercolor Solutions' book and tried to emulate the combination of   hard and soft edges while putting in `small areas of detail'. Charles's approach is quite abstract, apart from those small areas of detail, so I'm not trying to do a `chinese' copy. From what I've seen on the three painting courses I've attended other more accomplished painters than me find this difficult.

The other major hurdle is that the photographs are in black and white, taken in the 1800's, and tend to be just that black or white. There is not much variation between the extremes and this, together with  not knowing what colour the clothing was, means a fair bit of guesswork is involved. I've also tried to alternate warm and cool.

Colours, various mixes of Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Yellow Light, Raw Sienna, Cerulean and Cobalt Blue for the skin tones. I tried Permanent Alazarin Crimson in an earlier painting instead of Cadmium Red but didn't like the result. The reason I did that was because generally speaking, although not universally so, Indian complexions were and are swarthy.Colours in the clothing, and some in the hair,  included Viridian, Golden Lake (supposedly Quinacridone Gold PO49?), Ultramarine Violet and Raw Umber. Ultramarine Blue mixed with Burnt Umber or Burnt Sienna was also used for the hair and darks generally. My paints are mainly a mix of Maimeri, Windsor and Newton and Daler Rowney. I do have a few colours from other makes. Why the mix? I'm an impulse buyer and buy when paints are on offer but the high cost of Artist's paints is also a factor so any cost savings are welcome. 

Summing up I think it is worthwhile as an exercise, especially as I'm interested in American Indian history, and starting from my original efforts improvement is taking place although I realise I still have a way to go. Any comments? 


Mick Carney said...

I agree that the second is the better picture and my reasons for saying this relate to drawing, value and colour. The second picture has better lines and gesture and looks as if you took more care with the drawing. The value range is better balanced and it is the darks that lift it. Your colour is more vibrant and the better warm/cool relationship gives it greater interest and immediacy. Good work Peter.

Peter Ward said...

I shall have another go at `Crow Eagle' Mick because I'm still unhappy with the latest result. Thanks for your comment on `Two hatchets'. As I continue to look at that one I'm fairly happy with it AND it looks better in the flesh than the reproduction above.