this is how i left it the last time i worked on it. by the way, so far these are all indoor photos, with a flash. you can see the glare at the top of the painting. see the last entry for what i did before this.
this is the whole picture. the top half is laid out in pastel, and i’ve covered the bottom half of the water with pale wax.
but this is how it looks outside. i think i’ll forbear taking any more pictures in the studio.
so now these next photos show the progress of one day, every step, or every couple of steps, because really my process consists of slapping on some paint and burning it in while it’s still wet, then slapping on some more. and i mean putting in three strokes of green and then burning that, and then five dots of red and burning that. so i’ve taken a picture after every step, if i remembered. and since this was yesterday’s work, i’m not going to remember very well what i did. i’m just describing what i can see in these progress shots.
for instance, i have put on a nice mixed blue for the reflections of the sky at top of the painting, and burned it in. i also took some gold ochre and burned it in for the orange tree reflections. and then i mixed up some very light pinkish yellow and stuck it on where the water is. my idea is to make the water glow with light while still being darker than the rocks out of water. above is the whitish wax before i burned it in. i wanted to show how much it changes, but so far i haven’t had much contrast in the before and after shots.
in this case, however, because there’s so much white in it, and the white does such extraordinary things (like breaking apart and churning), it really shows a difference. i’ve noticed that white kind of disappears when the wax is burned in. i don’t know whether this is because the heat damages the pigment, burns it, or what. i can’t explain it, but i can see it just go invisible as i’m heating it. that’s another reason to treat white with respect, that most dreaded of colors.
now i’ve gone in and added more gold. i use quinacridone gold (po49) because it’s transparent and very strong. it’s a car color, but they don’t make gold cars like that anymore, so they’ve stopped manufacturing the color, and now only a few places offer it at all, so i got a bunch and i’m using it with abandon.
and now it looks like i slapped another coat of whitish yellow on it, because it just wasn’t light enough. doesn’t it look different every time i touch it?
and i’ve gone and glazed it again with more gold, mixed with raw umber and a little blue.
this is what it looks like close up. couldn’t tell you exactly where, oh yes i could. on the bottom is the big underwater rock on the lower left, and on top of that is a large dark space in the water, with the bottom in between. you can see how much the different wax applications of color have moved, and how the white spreads and flows. it’s really beautiful.
now i’ve gone and put in some fish with the same black/umber/purple i used to outline the rocks. there’s also 2 white fish around the middle of the board. then i added in some mixed orange, and some blue for the reflections. the whole thing looks a bit stark. this is how i left it last night.
this morning i went down to the studio and clean neglected to take any pictures until i was finished for the day. so there are a lot of steps here, and i’ll try to remember them. first i put on another, lighter coat of blue and a darker orange and tried to cover more of the area. i burned this in. then this was too much, and the blue stuck out too much. i decided to worry about that later.
so then i took a whole bunch, most of a pint jar, of bleached white beeswax, thinned it a bunch with citrus oil, and burned it all in. this took the better part of an hour, and that means i was exposed to citrus oil fumes for the better part of an hour, huddled over the board with my heat lamp only millimeters from the surface of the wax, only a ceiling fan on low drafting the fumes away.
and i felt fine. you must remember that i have asthma, and if the fumes are going to be harmful, i’m going to know it.
so now i’m kind of liking the coating of clear wax. it obscures some of the frenetic detail of the bottom. the bottom was meant to be pretty featureless, with light shining indirectly on the water. but i wasn’t getting that, so putting a layer of translucent white wax on top was a good thing to do. as it turns out. what do i know before i see how it melts?
then i continued the blue down into the bottom of the painting, and then i diluted the hell out of the blue that was left and smeared it on the water on the bottom half of the painting, and burned it all in. as a final touch, i mixed up some white and laid it on to be white water, little wavelets.
in the burning in of the painting – i had to burn in the entire painting except for the rocks on the lower left, twice today, once for the clear wax, and once for the blue and orange bits that are everywhere – a funny thing happened to the black fish. now, black does this when heated. it breaks up like white does. but while white breaks into minute particles that then flow and blend, black breaks up into larger pieces, and flows together in the direction gravity indicates. i managed to bump the painting while one of the black fish was entirely molten, and the jostle separated a whole half of fish which floated about a sixteenth of an inch away from its original position, leaving a big gap in the fish. but i haven’t tried to correct it, partially because it doesn’t seem to make much difference in the way it looks at a distance.
at this point i might be close to done with the water. now, however, i have to go back to the rocks at the lower left and really beef them up. they need texture you can see and feel, and right now, compared to the complexity of the water, they’re kind of rudimentary. altho, i had thought them mostly complete when i first started with the water. but of course, nothing turns out like you pictured it in the beginning. at least, nothing turns out exactly as i picture it. i don’t have the skill to exactly realize something i can think up or picture in my mind. or the talent. but wtf, i don’t care.