Weekend Update

Took a long weekend to get some extra painting time in this past weekend. It was nice to have some time to do a little extra painting. Ended up working on four separate paintings.

It’s interesting, at least to me, as they’re all at different stages so you can almost see the progression of a painting with my working studio practice from these four works.

I have a longer post about this one as I lucked into an extra day to work on it but I did start a self portrait. Here it is at the earliest stages.

Portrait of the Artist (in progress)
Portrait of the Artist (in progress)

I also got a chance to get back to this portrait of Jordyn. This is the second pass at the fleshy parts, still haven’t covered all of the earlier wipeout layer but starting to bring in local chroma.

Jordyn (in progress)
Jordyn (in progress)

Here’s the double portrait of Leif and Tabby. I’m starting to resolve the background before applying the final layers to the portrait. Still a ways to go and the clothing is just early local coloring, but you need the background in before you attack the final layers.

Leif and Tabby (in progress)
Leif and Tabby (in progress)

This portrait of Tayrou is nearly resolved. It needs one or maybe two more passes to just get it dialed in fully. The clothing will be the last step to finishing it off but the background and portrait are nearly there.

Tayrou (in progress)
Tayrou (in progress)

The Wild Animal Sanctuary

Friday was our Wedding Anniversary. I took the day off and we dropped the kids off with Grandma (thanks Rita!) and Julie and I went to The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg just a little ways north-east of Denver.

Apparently they’re the world’s largest carnivore sanctuary with over 400 predators. Mostly lions, tigers and bears rescued from awful captivity situations and rehabilitated to roam on over 700 acres of land.

They have a really neat setup where the visitors walk through the animals habitats but on an elevated walkway. There are fences to contain the animals but the visitors are well above them looking down on the animals from a safe distance. It’s quite an experience.

We arrived just before 9AM, when the facility opens and it was a bit cooler than normal due to a dense fog. That really worked to our advantage though as the fog quickly burned off and it was close to 100 by noon. But early morning saw the animals still fairly active.

Here’s some of the highlights –

There were lots of tigers, most of them were in individual areas next to each other. The staff explained that, unlike lions, tigers aren’t naturally social animals so it takes a lot more time and effort to get them to the point where they can safely be release into a larger group setting. Indeed we watch a pair taking turns stalking each other and lunging at their shared wall anytime the other turned his back.

Their tigers were beautiful creatures and the sole white tiger was particularly striking.

White Tiger
White Tiger
Tiger
Tiger
Tiger
Tiger
Tiger
Tiger
Tiger
Tiger
Tiger
Tiger

Here’s a selfie (of sorts), Julie and I looking at a wolf.

Shadows above a wolf
Shadows above a wolf

There were two separate lion prides on the grounds. We caught them both during a migration out of the sun into their man-made dens. Incredible creatures.

Lion
Lion
Lion
Lion

There were several packs of wolves of different types but all of them seemed to think the day was already too warm by 10AM. Makes you wish you could visit after dark and see them more active.

Grey Wolf
Grey Wolf

The star of the day was a baby bear. They don’t normally have young animals but this was a four month old bear that they rescued from captivity and were trying to place with a surrogate mother. Apparently this was the first time he’d been out to explore his larger habitat. We spent at least an hour watching him running around and then taking a long bath in the pond. It was really fun watching him grow from tentatively pawing at the edges of the water to jumping around and splashing with reckless abandon.

Baby Bear
Baby Bear
Baby Bear
Baby Bear
Baby Bear
Baby Bear
Baby Bear
Baby Bear

Odds and Ends

I’ve mentioned in passing that I have a couple more paintings started that I haven’t posted here yet. I’ve really wanted to finish off some of the ones that are close before starting more but the paintings of Kayti and Nelson are pretty involved and are taking much longer to finish off than I had hoped.

This is one that I’m really looking forward to. Just the linear placement and a quick wipe-out to serve as a foundation but I’m looking forward to diving into this one.

Todd (in progress)
Todd (in progress)

I also have the next in my shushing series started. I’m just starting to block in the colors and separate the light masses. Hopefully it’ll move along quickly once I get into the next layers.

Shh (Linda, in progress)
Shh (Linda, in progress)

Weekend Update

Got a couple of good painting days in this weekend.

Saturday was spent working on the face and torso for Kayti. Starting to get it dialed in. It’s looking less like paint and more like flesh now. Might need one more good pass on the face just to see how far I can push it, also going to need another pass on the arm, tattoo details and the hand. Once those are finished it should be one last pass to unify everything and make final adjustments.

Kayti (detail, in progress)
Kayti (detail, in progress)

Sunday was spent mostly on the faces for this one. I did a quick refinement on the baby’s face and spent most of the time getting the grandfather’s likeness. I feel like I really turned another corner with that last portrait of Paul and I’m really starting to push the painting much further now which is very encouraging. I still need to resolve the background, which I’m hoping to work on this week and everything else is going to need at least one more pass but it’s starting to come together.

Nelson and Theo (detail, in progress)
Nelson and Theo (detail, in progress)

New Toy

So I finally scrapped together enough pennies to get a new lens for my camera. Between Christmas money, birthday money, tax refund money, selling some of old and unused camera gear and buying a used lens I was able to make it work.

So today was the first day I got a chance to get out there and see what all that scrimping and saving had bought me.

Here’s a nice shot of Pikes Peak as seen from UCCS.

Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods

Here’s a zoomed in version of just the peak.

Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak, just the peak

There’s actually enough pixels that you can actually see the structure at the top of the peak…

Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak, just the tippity-top

Here’s a portion of Garden of the Gods as seen from UCCS when zoomed way in… I wonder who owns those giant houses. I’m jealous of their view.

Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods

One more picture of Garden of the Gods.

Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods

I’m very impressed with the new lens. It’s got a huge photo range and it sufficiently sharp for shooting whatever I need to. Really happy with my 2-lens setup now.

Update

I’ve been remiss in posting updates lately. It’s not that I haven’t been working, it’s just that I haven’t posted updates on what I’m doing… But, today I got my Christmas/Birthday/Tax Refund gift – an awesome new lens for my camera that will finally allow me the ability to photograph my paintings in my studio. Huzzah!

Anyhow here’s the first images shot with the new lens.

I’ve been cropping this one of Kayti, so now you can finally see the full composition. I still have a long way to go with this one and my background testing of glazing Alizarine over the Cadmium Red isn’t quite what I thought it was going to be so now I’m reconsidering options. I’m probably going to need to do a few smaller studies to really figure out where to go from here in the background. Part of me really wants to hack at it with the palette knife like I’m doing in some of the other paintings, but as Julie, rightly, pointed out there’s already a lot of texture and details in the hair and tattoo, so I really don’t want to have the background competing with the subject on this one.

Kayti (in progress)
Kayti (in progress)

Here’s the latest on my Shushing painting of Shad. I was really hoping to be done with this one by now and while it’s very close to be finished it’s still telling me that it wants something more. I’m very happy with the background, hopefully you can see the texture there from the raking light. But the clothing feels a bit flat in parts, and there’s still a lingering drawing issue or two that I want to work out. So I think I’m going to put it on the easel again this weekend and see if I can’t get it dialed in just a little bit more.

Shh (Shad, in progress)
Shh (Shad, in progress)