Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Sitting Bull

My latest Amerindian is another attempt at Sitting Bull, the famous Sioux leader and implacable foe of the white man. His opposition eventually got him killed while in captivity. He obviously didn't appreciate his photograph being taken, many Amerindians felt the same, mostly on superstitious grounds which is why he usually scowls. 

This is the sequence the painting took, purely to show how I did it, not claiming in any way that this is good or the way to proceed.

I now mainly use the ipad for references due to the high cost of printings photographs on the inkjet.

I made the drawing by drawing visually without using any mechanical measuring aids. This involved a certain amount of erasing and redrawing but (for me) that's normal. A mechanical pencil the Pentel O7 3B.

I began with the eyes then nose and mouth.

The above three photographs show the approximate sequence I followed.

Sitting Bull - 16" x 12" Waterford High White 140lb. (300gsm) not

As I am constantly criticized by my friend Hap, who knows many native Amerindians, about my skin colours not being dark enough I have altered my skin mix, although I'm not confident the above will meet with his approval. Instead of Cerulean I used Ultramarine Blue and cut down slightly on Cadmium Red.I also used some Translucent Brown (Schminke Pbr41). I played around with the combinations and when dry added some pure Cadmium red in diluted form. The hair was a mix of Ultramarine and Burnt Umber, with Ultramarine predominant. Brushes used were my usual Isabey sables including retractables.  

I am reasonably happy with the above result. His face has a `craggy' look so I used a little dry brush and added acrylic white for highlights when fully dry. Texture is difficult in watercolour, although books have been and are being written using clingfilm, gesso, scraping, scratching and heaven knows what else to achieve this. I'm not against any sort of aids but it is easy to overdo it and lose the vibrancy and freshness that is the main charm of watercolour.


Ray Maclachlan said...

You've caught the mood of the subject perfectly Peter. Not sure about the green halo, but overall works well. Nice job.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for comments Ray. I'm not too sure about the `halo' myself. An attempt at complementarities red/green. I'll have to give some more thought to portrait backgrounds.

Oscar Solis said...

Very nice. Regarding the the green it just seems to come out of nowhere with no link to the portrait other than to be a background. Looking at the yellow on his right shoulder I wonder if that would work well for the background color. Hope I'm not out of line, just my two cents.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks Oscar. You and Ray are right I made a mistake with the green. I might have a go at altering it (!).