Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Winslow Homer I'm not...

I love Winslow Homer's watercolors, many of which were done early in his career. In particular, I have always admired the way Homer handled light and shadows in his figurative work. "Spring" and "Blackboard" are fine examples of his skill in this regard, as is "Boys and Kitten (1873)," which is in the Worcester Art Museum's collection.  I was at Old Sturbridge Village recently, and the scenes there were straight out of Winslow Homer -- which I took as a challenge. After snapping more than 200 photos, I selected several which, for me, evoke this "Homer-ish" quality, and began a sketch of a young woman seated outside, next to the sheep-shearing. She and a companion were washing wool -- not a particularly enjoyable task on a hot, sunny afternoon. Both women were taking a break, and this gave me a great opportunity to get some good photos with high contrast.

Here is how I've started a watercolor study for "Well-Deserved Rest" (reference photo shown at right).
I'm working on Lanaquarelle hot press paper. Not my favorite, but it allows for details which are more difficult even with a good cold press paper. (Fabriano soft press might work well, too.) I'm sticking with a limited palette, and using both cadmium red and cadmium yellow deep for the skin tones, and cobalt blue and Winsor violet for shadows. The dress is done with a mix of Winsor violet and cadmium yellow deep; the apron's pattern will be predominately cobalt blue. 
As I post this, I can see some problem areas, esp. in the placement of the eyes (they're too high at present...). 

"Sunbonnet Girl"   6" x 7"    
available at my Daily Paintworks gallery

And here is the finished work 

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