Monday, November 16, 2009

Art Lesson: Details and Surface in Oil

This is an 8" x 8" oil painting of one of my friend Meghan's chickens. Meghan has eleven chickens and is my source for all things chicken. I enjoyed painting this piece quite a bit for the following reasons:
- there is a good amount of inconsistent pattern in the feathers
- there is a lot of little detail in the face area
- it is just fun to paint chickens

The feathers in particular were fun for me in that I had to create a changing pattern that was soft and feathery. I layered the black and the greys in the feathers several times to get the pattern I wanted. While building up each layer I would stroke one color into and through the other to get the feel of individual feathers laying over other feathers. Once I was happy with the pattern, I took a dry sable brush and gently stroked over the wet paint on the surface (this technique is actually called feathering) to give a soft feel to the surface. I would stroke mostly in the same direction as the wet paint strokes on the canvas, but would occasionally "feather" at angles to give a more random effect.
Before creating this odd face with skin folds, individual hairs sticking out here and there and areas where it meshes with beak and heavy feathered areas, I first created the skin surface (middle picture). In this earlier stage you can see how I developed the surface of the skin before adding the smaller detail on top of it. In this earlier stage you can also see the body feathers after only one attempt to block in the pattern.
This last image shows some of the detail in the head area. I had to use very small brushes to produce individual feathers. Stroking them on with one stroke did not look good. The feathers looked like paint strokes instead of feathers. So I went back in and painted around the feathers with the skin color. I also stroked over each individual face feather with some grey. Between these two techniques each feather began to feel part of the face instead of being a paint stroke on the face.

No comments:

Post a Comment