Saturday, May 11, 2013

Glazing over

 Untitled
12" x 24" oil

There is a challenge to painting a fish in water and painting a fish that actually looks as if its underwater.

Fish can look as if they are sitting on the surface of water instead of being submerged under the surface.  This is due to observational skills of the light and value of colours and understanding how water changes form and colour as it deepens.


Colour is subdued as water deepens, similar to the effects of twilight softening lines and reducing colour values.  The water and the light reflecting on fish changes and the water must be seen as part of the fish instead of depicting the fish in clear definition as it would be out of the water.


This painting of a koi is at about the mid stage.  I have the form and value of the fish in place and am adding glazing layers of oils to create depth to the piece and ensure the fish has the illusion of being under the water's surface.


One way I'll do this is to build the shading of the fish with my glaze for the water.  This builds depth without adding strong colour.  The other way I add depth is to have some small particles of pollen or fish food on the water surface.  I've added some of this already as a spatter technique and will continue to glaze over and add more spatters in different colours,  Glazing them makes them appear as if they are suspended in the water's depth with the final touch of brightness at the surface as a final step.   Edges are kept soft and some lost to indicate movement, such as in the tail of the fish.

My glaze is a mix of linseed oil and turps with transparent paint.  I can add it with a brush and rub out with a soft cloth as required to obtain the effect I need.   Surfaces must be dry between glazes or risk ruining a piece very quickly.  The build up of colour adds a richness to a painting that solid painting can never achieve and works especially well in aquatic paintings.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

A brush with the law



Many years ago I had a unique job that dealt with some unique people, many of them with criminal records, social and economic hardship and the school of hard knocks.  It was part of my job to get them headed back on the right path again.  Not always successfully for a variety of reasons.

Because of my work with the criminal justice system and dealing with people's lives I became interesting in pursuing that line of work as a parole officer.  I was accepted into the system, assigned a active parole officer to shadow and then given the curriculum.  Part of which was a long stint of duty at Dartmoor Prison.  Dartmoor is a beautiful part of England and the moor is open, barren  and mysterious.  The prison when seen rising out of the mists is quite the scene.  However  Dartmoor was quite a way from where I lived in Somerset and with two small children and living on my own with no one else to look after them, it would have been impossible to do the necessary training. 

There is part of me that is always interested in what makes a criminal a criminal.  What set of circumstances, what family background, what mental health issues or just bad choices leads them down that path?  And part of me always feels sorry for those who resort to that way of life.

Today, when looking at the local news, there was a story about a woman who'd escaped custody yesterday.  It was her birthday.  Maybe she wanted a chance to enjoy it, but she was soon rounded up and back inside again.   I looked at her image and wondered how she got to where she is now.  What was her story?  This is what prompted the sketch and my reminiscing about my past life.

It reminds me of Karin Jurick's series of 100 Faces done from individuals arrested for various crimes.  I don't think I'll pursue it that far, but a face does say so much, doesn't it?