Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Harriet Tubman - Second Layer

Because I'm showing the entire process, this is the second layer of paint. Once it's dry, I'll sand it down, and apply a 3rd layer before actually laying down the paint.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Harriet Tubman - Priming the canvas

I think traditionally, when artists prime a canvas, they use gesso. This helps the colors in the painting really stand out. If the canvas is poorly primed, the oil may seep into the canvas and leave dull patches on the surface of the painting. Because I'm going all old school with this painting, I'm priming it with 3 layers of oil paint with liquin mixed in. Liquin is a drying agent that thins the paint out at a faster rate and allows it to flow smoother. Oil paints can take anywhere from a week to 3 months to dry to the touch, that's why they take so long to paint. Liquin cuts that time in half. Too much liquin added and your paint will crack. Because the canvas is porous, I will be applying one coat of toned oil paint, waiting a week, sanding it, and then applying another coat. I will do this 3 times before starting the actual painting.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Harriet Tubman - Canvas Size

While working on the studies - composition, colors, lighting, references, I knew I wanted this to be on a big canvas. I was torn between these two canvases but ultimately went with the one on the right for several reasons. 1. The canvas on the left is thinner and the one on the right is higher quality. 2. The one on the right has more of a 'landscape' feel to it. This is not to suggest that the one on the left doesn't have a landscape quality to it, but the one on the right just 'felt' right, and 3. most of the shows I plan to enter this year won't accept canvases over 48" in any direction and that one lengthwise is exactly 48". What good is doing a masterpiece if you're unable to display it? Anyway, while doing my studies, I went ahead with purchasing the canvas.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Harriet Tubman - Light Study

In the process of painting anything, I believe reference pics (especially the ones you take) are important to accuracy. Taking a pic from the internet really doesn't give you the feel of the environment and even the true lighting. So right on the James River, right off the slave trails, I went out with a friend right after sun set to get reference shots of my own of an old lantern with several candles in it to get a true idea of how the glow worked. These are just some of the nearly 3 dozen pics I got. Yes, I know some of the pics are blurred.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Harriet Tubman Slave Trail Study

While getting ready to paint this masterpiece of Harriet Tubman, I headed over to the Richmond Slave Trails just before you pass over the James River Bridge. Although Harriet Tubman stayed primarily in Maryland during her rescue operations, I didn't have the luxury of going back and forth to those locations that she traveled. Walking along the trail, I needed to make sure most of my reference pics were in the winter, as this was the timeframe she generally traveled. I have a ton of reference photos, but these are just some of the ones I took while out there. It's a very somber feeling, knowing that humans that were seen as cattle, were forced to walk these trails, waiting to be sold. While most of the pics I took were during the day, this painting will be a nighttime painting. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Harriet Tubman Landscape Study

This is the second of two landscape studies I did during the fall for the Harriet Tubman painting. I needed to get way off into the woods for this and went out to Herring Creek near Berkley. The creek flows from the James River. This section was exceptionally vibrant during mid fall, around late October. It was gorgeous out there. In the painting of Harriet Tubman, I plan on having a river in the background, and hope to incorporate this into the painting, but I'm not sure as of yet. 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Harriet Tubman Landscape Study

This is one of two landscape studies I did during the fall for the Harriet Tubman painting. I had no intention of painting a waterfall or anything "serene" in the painting. This is more for landscape study than anything else.