Sneak Peak #4 • February 20, 2016
Good Evening All –
Progress was made again today but it was comprised of lots of little moves that while making a difference, don’t really show up well in a point-n-shoot view. So it has occurred to me that we ought to chat about the involved prep required after I decided to head in a different direction.
First however, the photo below shows what the drawing looked like before I started back in. It was a really aggressive, mark-driven image I liked a lot. My thought was to have a whole forest of dead, standing tree trunks, almost phantom like in appearance, that marched down the mountain’s slopes into the foreground. I felt they ought to be highly suggestive, so I used a knife blade to scrape them in – thus creating a broad area of vertical, raised scars. These could be accentuated here and there if I dragged an almost dry brush over them. You can see where I did it in the lower center (the horizontal brush swipe in the white area that has grainy, upright lines in it).
While this was all pretty good thinking, I began to feel something wasn’t quite right about the picture and my plan. So I turned to other things and months went by.
One day, I decided to play with my picture on the computer, so I photographed and imported it into Photoshop. Then I went onto the web and snapshotted some woodblock prints by a Japanese artist who was named Joichi Hoshi. He did GREAT trees that I’ve always admired. I’m a good thief – these are the trees I purloined:
And this is what they looked like after I messed with them in Photoshop and dropped ’em on top of my own picture:
Now I had something really, really interesting: it was an odd combination of detail and realism in big, powerful foreground trees that ghosted right over the far less realized mountain behind. Too cool. But there was a big problem: the steely, cool-toned gray of the mountain was achieved by literally driving black ink clear through the sheet while it was wet. It’s a wonderful, strange effect, but it meant there was no underlying white paper left to scrape or sand my trees back into. I had to have a fresh area to work in. So, it was time to lay it in.
In the view above, the gray and textured underpainting for the tree at left is done, and I’ve prepared a patch in two parts to go over some of the mountain on the right. You can see the pieces of the patch laying on my worktable, and in the next photo (below) you can see them in place. The irregular edges will help camouflage the patches – you won’t be able to see (or even feel) where they are once the trees are done.
The final step in my prep was to figure out just how my own version of these trees would look. While I was quite content to borrow some of the sensibility of Mr. Hoshi’s trees, I couldn’t actually copy ’em now, could I? And besides, I need pine trees in there, so I had to do some working drawings. They were enough to get me started – and so on I trundle. When you see the end result, you’ll be surprised by how far I’ve moved away from the trees I stole to start with!
I’m not going to get much done on my picture tomorrow – gotta visit the accountant (it’s tax time again). And there are other chores. I’ll be back in the studio on sunday though, so hopefully you’ll see my next update that evening.
Your Buddy Bill
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