Friday, October 22, 2010

Completing "Prairie School"



My earlier post showed the rough-in steps for this painting. With that completed, I begin refining areas. Here I'm using a #2 synthetic sable flat to sharpen the edge of roof against sky.




Next I'm faced with the question of how to represent the siding on the building...whether to stay loose and try to suggest it, or be more precise in rendering. These are always challenging issues for me and I often second-guess my decisions. But finally, deciding the facade is such a large part of the design, I opt for more precision.

Laying the panel flat on a tabletop I freehand the siding lines with a script or liner type brush, using a homemade wooden bridge to keep my hand off the painting itself. Spacing is by eye, and I resist ruling the lines, since I'm still after more of a suggestion of precision, rather than an architectural rendering.




I return to the soft flat to suggest the peeling siding and sharpen up edges and contrasts.




Using bristle flats, textures and subtle color variants are scumbled and dragged across the mid and foreground areas to further define the dried fields. Strokes in the distance tend to move horizontally, while in the foreground short vertical strokes are used. I want to suggest the volume and direction of growth, rather than render individual grasses.




The finished (I think) painting. Click image to enlarge.

Prairie School

Oil on board, 11" x 22"
SOLD

29 comments:

rahina q.h. said...

the photograph doesn't do the prairie school justice as the painting does: echos of children's laughter and games, yet folorn and lost... just beautiful Don. again thank you for the process.

Perry Brown said...

You have the touch of a surgeon. Very nice painting and demo, Don!

Dar Presto said...

Thank you so much, Don, for taking the time to present this. Watching the image come to life is amazing.

Brian Sylvester said...

Don,

So good to see your process, and the end result is magnificent! Well done!

Take care,
Brian

Sheila Vaughan said...

This is so America to me. This is why I chose American studies as part of my major area of study at university. That idea of the ruggedness of the landscape and the tenacity of the people who settled in your country, especially in the "prairie lands" just fascinates me. As someone else said this painting so echoes Wyeth and Hopper. I love it Don.

Don Gray said...

Thank YOU, Rahina.

Marilyn said...

The strength of this painting resonates on so many levels. Paying homage to the Masters, while undoubtedly making it your own, is a wonder to behold. Thank you for inviting us into your studio, Don.

: )

Don Gray said...

I appreciate it, Perry. Always love seeing your latest paintings.

Don Gray said...

Thank you, Dar--glad you enjoyed it.

Don Gray said...

Brian--thank you and welcome to my blog. I'm pleased to get acquainted with your blog--those mandalas are beautiful.

Don Gray said...

Sheila, I always appreciate your thoughtful comments. I didn't know you took American studies...you probably know more about my country than I do!

Don Gray said...

Marilyn, good to hear from you. Thanks for being so supportive. I love your recent charcoal drawings.

martha miller said...

Wow! Kick Ass painting! And such a treat to see your process. You are a master painter, Don! Like watching a magician at work! :^D

Kristen said...

One of my favorites!

SeeJaneBrowse said...

The absolute most beautiful thing you've ever done in the two years I've followed you. Amazing.

mrteague said...

Don,

I love this one. Thanks for sharing :)

Teague

Dogs by Bri said...

You know me, I love to see/show the process. Very cool, and thanks for sharing.

Bri-

Anonymous said...

It was fascinating to see your process, Don. Now, which step was it where you put in the magic? A truly beautiful painting!
Anne Thrower

Ruth Andre said...

Don thanks for the step by step photos of your painting. I enjoyed seeing the painting come to life. Very nice.

Don Gray said...

Martha, you're making me blush with all that praise! I love your new drawings.

Don Gray said...

Thanks a lot, Kristen!

Don Gray said...

Thank you, Jane. And special thanks for following my blog for two years--wow! :^)

Don Gray said...

Hi Teague--thanks a bunch!

Don Gray said...

Hey Bri--thanks for dropping in. "Flora" looks great!

Don Gray said...

The magic?...oh, that's done with mirrors, Anne. :^} Thanks.

Don Gray said...

Ruth, it was my pleasure--thank YOU!

shirley fachilla said...

I think Hopper and Wyeth would be proud.

Don Gray said...

What a nice thing to say, Shirley--thanks.

Susan Roux said...

Don, its so interesting to watch you work. I love how everyone's process varies. You've got yourself a very steady hand! Beautiful results that just leap with light.