The Hawk

I did this series of paintings last week from a photo, and had the forethought to take some photos as I moved through them.  Here's the photo, which I like to show as reference.  This way, you can see where I'm starting from, and how I'm changing things.  Replicating the photo, of course, is never my goal.  It's more like inspiration.


This is the first one, done on a 1/4 sheet (11" x 15") where I was really most interested in capturing the sense of light coming through the tree.  This was accomplished by first washing in the sky (I used Cerulean Blue), with clean water preserving a bright spot of sunlight behind the future location of the tree.  No yellow in the sun area-- I let the white shine more bright, rather than warm.


In this second one, I grew the image to a half sheet (15" x 22") and worked on toning down the colors, and pushing a more natural color scheme.  The brown is a pretty diluted Burnt Sienna. 

I mixed the other areas with Daniel Smith's Neutral Tint.  I also worked at warming up the tree, which had a rather cool silhouette in the first iteration, and repositioned the hawk. Much like in the first one, I get the "dripping" waves of color in the grass by first making a relatively thick wash in an area with a darker tint (Neutral Tint), and then going back and charging/swooping in above it with the lighter color (Burnt Sienna in this one).  The lighter pigment pushes down through the earlier wash of darker pigment, and the two mingle.  If your first wash is too wet though, they'll simply merge, rather than mixing and "mingling", while keeping separate. 

Similarly, when I painted the tree, the darker pigment washes downwards into the preexisting wash.  I then added water here and there, which pushes the darker pigment.


In the last, third go, I came back to my original desire to capture a bit of that light on the lower cut of land (in the bottom left of the photo).  I layered in one wash of Burnt Sienna, which you can see has a dry edge.  On top of that, I lay the next wash, this time with something greener, also with a dry edge. 

After that, I did the same process with the darker washes, charging water into areas and tilting the board.  At the end, I added in some dry brush work with an opaque white mixed with Yellow Ochre, for a few of the highlights on the grass.  I did a few other iterations, one of which I simply cut up into quarter sheets and plan on using the back of, so, honestly, this was the one I was happiest with, and therefore I'm ending with it.


As always, if you're interested in any of the paintings, they are for sale.  Please visit the Portfolio to browse.