Sunday, February 7, 2010

Barnyard snow passage

I am going to discuss the making of this piece a little more. Yesterday I showed a series of photos of the creation of the piece. I want to dig a little deeper into my method tonight. Below is how the piece looked as I began to lay in the snow.

Here is a close up of the lower left part of the painting. Above you can see I started by painting white tinged with cobalt over the passage. Next I made a pile of white tinged with cadmium yellow on my palette. I then used that to model the snow. I am painting the white tinged with cadmium yellow down into the cobalt violet and white already wet on the passage. Where it received the most light it got the cadmium yellow, as the forms curved away from the light it remained cobalt violet. Where it went into shadow or a furrow in the snow I hit it with a cobalt blue and white shadow note.

I then accented the few planes that turned towards the raking light enough to catch the full sun with a thick stroke of the cadmium yellow and white mixture. The ruts were actually the footsteps of the group of painters I worked with that day, stomping around and scoping out the various places to set up in the barnyard.

So I built up my snow using an orderly system of putting one color down and throwing a compliment into it in increasing amounts as it turns into, and then is hit by the light. I like to do this with cobalt violet and cad. yellow. But you could do it with many pairs of colors, such as ultramarine and burnt sienna or viridian and cad. orange. I am exploiting the fact that the shadows are the compliment of the light. I am also dropping the value of the halftone parts of the light enough that I can model within them. Had I kept them very light, the sunstruck portions would not have been enough brighter to show up. Keying snow down slightly makes it far easier to model, or show its forms. Just white paint won't cut it.


Mary Bullock said...

Ohhhhhhhhhh I get it! I just had a light bulb minute! Thanks!

Gregory Becker said...

Great post. I love this kind of post the best. This has been a big question for me. How do you get a color that is in the light to travel into the shadow and read as one continuous color?
Are compliments used to accomplish this?
BTW I found 6 hours of figure drawing for $5. Every Saturday. Not a bad deal.

R Yvonne Colclasure said...

I love this painting, Stape. I love the beautiful gray barn. Could you tell us what colors you used to get that rich gray? I usually end up with mud when I try to get the weathered wood color. I am learning so much from the progress posts. Thank you for the extra time and effort you put into these. It is paying off on this side of the posts.

Michael Chesley Johnson, Artist / Writer said...

That's an excellent observation, Stape, about keying down the snow. I find that making the whole snow field at least a half-step darker in value gives me room to play with the highlights. As you say, otherwise you have no room to go with the brighter accents.

billspaintingmn said...

Beautiful painting! Beautiful process! Beautiful post!
...Stape, have a cigar!
You've helped to make this winter
a much more enjoyable time, I am
looking at scenes with fresh eyes.
I had to shovel twice this week, and loved it!
I've never said that before!

Prairie painter said...

"The shadows are the compliment of the light". An aha! Another one to print and hang on the wall. Thanks for that, and I love this painting. I live in a snow bound landscape, but it is prairie; the snow is very dry, flat and smooth, but this has given me something to think about and try.

Mary Byrom said...

Hey Wilek, where are you?? Stape is he with you? He hasn't fallen off one of those snow fields yet has he?

Marian, would you plse check on him?

Oh yeah, the painting is great! See you on the mountain!

JAMES A. COOK said...


Could you show your photograph of this location that you painted so that I may learn how you composed your compotition. Great painting . The keying down the snow when I start painting helps me alot, but it is the footprints and tracks that I am having a hard time with. Other than the high lights that go on in the tracks is ther reflective color going on as well that I am not putting down? great post.


alotter said...

You could have been reading my mind--I was going to ask you how to create tracks in the snow. Thank you!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Light bulb.That's good.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I will return to that. The short answer is that the light and shade are a different color. They may or may not share a common "drone" note.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks, I am preparing a post on that for you.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you. I key a lot of stuff down.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Bill Thank you. I how ever am not beautiful. I am kinda funky looking.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Prarie Painter.
Thank you. I grew up on the prairie.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I think he's in the bar watching some kind of a sportsgame. With the Who in it, of all people?

Stapleton Kearns said...

Will do!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Tracks have been made.