Live blogging… painting in process! Peel back the mystery…

(… I think the real mystery is that any of this gets done at all, because in looking back at this, I still can’t explain anything…)

Ok, I’m going to try something out.  This painting is due in approximately 5 hours.  What better time to show the process of how I put a painting together?  (Of course, this could also just be some fantastic procrastination on my part.)  I apologize in advance for the photos.  Trying to photograph while painting and attempting not to get oil paint on your camera is tricky.
Here’s what it looks like right now.  I drew it out last night and inked it with my fountain pen and sepia ink.

I have no idea what to do with it, or what I want it to look like even, besides a few half formed ideas.  Let’s see…  something with a washy background, maybe some turpentine lifting out.  I’m feeling very Bart Forbes/ Tom Allen inspired today…

Because I never do it at the beginning of the painting process and then always curse myself out, here’s a burnt sienna wash scrubbed in with an old sock.  Background color.  Voila!

Starting to add shape to the horse – just a little extra weight and definition on the shadow areas.  (I really like it right here.  One of these days, I’ll just stop at this phase.)  Decided to give our bay horse a sock and a blaze for added definition and to draw the eye up.

Added ultramarine blue and cad red/ sienna.  Working primarily in glazes and washes.  At this point I have exceeded my “I think it should look like this” point and am now fumbling in the dark.  So, I just started adding more definition, working to the ends of the value scale and then back again.

I added cad orange to the chest.  That was obviously a stupid idea and not right at all.  Removed post haste.

Orange changed to pink.  And now I’ve lost the perspective in that foreshortened foreleg – a tricky area to get right under the best of circumstances.  I also need more definition in the chest area, as all my values are migrating towards the middle.  Need to fix that by going back and pumping up the darks again and then hitting the highlights again.

Here’s where I decided to turn on the light in the studio.  And, because I was losing my direction on where to go next, I started adding white to the breeches and the blaze.  (Studio light is on the cool side, so the color is a little different in the next series of photos.)

 Continued adding definition to the horse’s face, mostly because I don’t know what to do next.  I have now lost all of the luminosity and jewel like tones I had in mind in the first place.  At this point, I’m ready to give up, decide I can’t paint and take up a career as a dental hygienist.

Started going back in with some turpentine and lifting areas of “too heavy” color.  Then (here’s the panic stage)  I actually put the thing on the ground, poured some turp over everything and started blotting with another old sock.

 Reworked the blues and added color to the rider’s coat.  Not sure what color it will ultimately end up being.  My original plan was scarlet and then I changed my mind to black with scarlet undertones and now I have decided to make it blue.  And suddenly, somehow, something starts to happen again.

 Glazed over my freshly turpentined areas with cad red, which pumped the color up dramatically.  I am pleased.

 This is where I’ve stopped for the night.  Total working time : 2.5 hours (some of which I spent jotting down notes here and taking pictures.)  It’s good enough for my purposes to photograph it properly and send it off tonight as a preliminary painting.  Maybe another 2 hours and I might actually have a lovely new piece – assuming I can figure out what to do with it.  And it needs a name.  Any suggestions?

 © Joanna Zeller Quentin 2010.  All Rights Reserved.