Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Walk Along The River

"A Walk Along The River"
24x30 oil on linen panel

I was recently commissioned to do this painting of the St Croix at the boat launch on the WI side of the Interstate Park, a place I have painted frequently in the past in all seasons. On this painting I used my field study that I painted a few years back. I've had many opportunities to sell this particular piece but there are some paintings that are much more valuable to keep. I've ended up using this study for many larger versions of this place, each painting always ends up having a life of it's own.
In the beginning stage of each making a painting, I think it's crucial to have first a good concept and second a good composition of strong shapes that support the idea or concept.
Here I show my 'wash' of my composition using transparent oxide red and mineral spirits, there might be a little ultra marine adding in the cast shadows along the shore. . . . . .
. . .developing my darks a bit more. . .
at this point in the painting I like to start working in large masses
There gets to be a point that once you get a mass massed in, you really need to work into another mass connected to the one you were working on for relativeness. I do not ever finish an area entirely until I have the shapes at least massed in since they are all relative, especially when you are working on subtlety. In my masses I'm always thinking of developing the form of the shapes.
Time to get the sky started. I usually start with a cooler pool of color like in the image above and then mix a pool of warmer color to break in on top of the cool. It helps to create vibration in an area.


My study is to the right. I 'use' my studies for information, I don't copy them. I wanted the large piece to be softer and warmer than the study was.
Cast shadows are starting to appear on the shore line. I usually spend quite a bit of time working on the design of these. I always think of the fact that shadows tell the tale of form.
One of my favorite parts of painting the banks of the St Croix is the sweep of the shore line and the warm rich color of the sand when it's sun lit. Here I started getting that in along with the water. The St Croix has a unique color due to the Tamarack roots up north affecting the color of the water. It's warm and rich colored like root beer. I don't ever use any white in these areas as it would cool the color too much. I use yellow to lighten it if I need and try and stick with transparent colors such as transparent oxide, ultra marine, and aliz and thin it with mineral spirits.
here comes the wind sheer and sky reflections

at this stage the little subtle exceptions come in.
Note the color of the finish piece and this last one are a bit off. I'm working on color with my new computer, it's actually somewhere in between the two but you get the idea. . .:)

15 comments:

Denise R said...

Wow Kami! This is so awesome! Thanks for showing your process and progress shots in this post. It is so interesting and loved reading what you were concentrating on in each step. It really helps new painters like myself to see this. I am sure the painting looks even more beautiful in real life!

Shelley Smart said...

Thank you so much for posting your process in this beautiful painting! Currently I am struggling with a landscape but in seeing your steps, I see where I think I got off track! My original composition is weak so I will step back and re-work that. Thanks again!

I am continually in awe of your work!

Judy P. said...

This painting has such a sense of light and atmosphere and depth; I will be reading this demo a few times to try to understand all the details.
Too bad the OPM demo got delayed- especially since the weather turned out great; next time's the charm!

3darchitect said...

Wonderful to see the process, Kami. It still seems a bit like magic in the final stages when block-ins suddenly became magically moody scenery. It is your remarkable ability at blending in the different areas into one balanced scene that I envy. I still seem to have three different paintings within some of my work. Have to keep plugging at it!! Thanks again Kami.

Karen Hargett said...

Thanks for sharing the process - it is always exciting to see things come together. Beautiful.

Kami Polzin said...

thank you Denise! It's so nice to hear that this helps other painters. :) Thanks for checking in!

Kami Polzin said...

It's my pleasure Shelley! I hope your composition is going well. I checked out your blog, nice photos! :)

Kami Polzin said...

Hi Judy! I'm glad you like the painting and demo. :)
I too was pretty bummed about OPM being cancelled as well. . . . . well, we'll have a good time in the spring! Happy Painting!

Kami Polzin said...

Thanks Karen, I appreciate you checking in! :)

Kami Polzin said...

Thanks '3darchitect' :)
I know what you mean about ending up having 3 different scenes, that's easy to do. Part of having and keeping unity and harmony in our work is to have unity and harmony in our color for one, and two - allow the edges to meld together to become one cohesive statement. I always think of what 'Sargent' said, something on the lines of 'allow one edge to be painted into another to become one . . . ' I love that. :)

Jesus Estevez said...

I love this painting,you did a very good job, like the step by step , it is very interesting, thanks for sharing.

sam said...

I loved seeing your work-in-progress, beautiful painting.

Kami Polzin said...

Thanks Sam! I love your cow paintings!

Marian Fortunati said...

A fabulous demonstration and a wonderful wonderful painting, Kami! Thanks so much!

Mimi said...

Thanks for showing your process. I must say whatever happened between the penultimate and the last photos seems like sheer magic!

another wonderful composition!