Sunday, February 12, 2012

Working in a series

When I do a painting that I enjoy, I tend to want to repeat the process. The Indian girl with the desert background was a lot of fun to paint. I enjoy trying to create skin tones from scratch because it really challenges everything you know about painting. Warm light or cool? Reflected light or not? What if the sun is setting? How much effect does the blue of the stratosphere have on the upturned planes of the face? It's like a puzzle, and I love trying to figure all the pieces out. I have to admit it's become a lot easier since I started painting outdoors. Natural light is so much better than artificial, when you're trying to judge hues.

This is a loose painting of a Sioux chief, inspired by another one of the thousands of pictures taken by Edward Curtis. I took 20 years off the man and lightened his expression a bit. The original was so sad, and I didn't want a sad painting. I mean, I still want the viewer to feel some empathy with the chief but I was mostly after a feeling of pride and slight defiance. I left the headdress very loose and impressionistic.

11" x 14" oil on canvas

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