Monday, April 03, 2006

Symphony in Blue

This 24" x 24" portrait has begun as a study in blue. It’s two black dogs, but the sheen on their coats hovers between a light blue and lavender. Contrasted with the deep violets and indigos of the shadows, and highlighted by orange and golden eyes, this will be stunning when done. And it’s the perfect excuse to try out an idea I’ve been fascinated with and working on and off with mixed results – using tonality, yet achieving great depth.

What does this mean? I want a painting that is primarily one hue, yet sings with color. It also must have a believable depth of field. Can I do it? Like the little engine, I think I can.

So here’s my underpainting, after a couple of hours of work. I’ve used primarily light ultramarine blue, Prussian, and pthalo. I’ve also added smidges of quinacridone red and Indian yellow.

I can see right away that my background is too intense. I need to gray it out and take it down at least two values in order to push the dogs forward. And I can also see some places where I’d like to redraw certain elements.

Next step will be to increase my range of values – right now I’ve got about 3 or 4, and I need to expand that to at least 10. I’ll also put some warmer shades into their muzzles, and start on the eyes.

And I’ll need a title, too.

Just a few things to take care of tomorrow!

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