Monday, May 03, 2010

Work In Progress #1 - Tree Bark

Tree Bark by Lon S. Cohen. Pastel on paper. 19 3/4" x 25 1/2".

This is part 1 in a Work In Progress.

This is a work in progress. I'm tackling a pretty complex piece (at least for me). It's going to be a close up of tree bark that will fill the entire paper. There's lots of details and color changes. At this first step I'm sketching out the small sections of bark. There's a lot of detail. I know I'm going to use the sketch as a guide only. I want to get a feel for the transitions between sections of bark and how it flows on the tree. I'll probably cover most of this with the underpainting of pastel but I like to have this as a guide to where the color changes will be.

In the printouts of bark I did from my online research and from observations I made on trees in my backyard I am starting to envision that there will be a lot of color in this painting. There's gray, green, blue and pink in the bark. While most people will think of brown for tree bark I'm trying to do more with the color. In the end, there will definitely be a lot of brown, no doubt, but I want to bring out lots of other natural colors that emerge.

We will see. It's a pretty complicated design and I'm already kicking myself for attempting it. At some point, I will probably want to quit in frustration but I will have to push through to see it to the end. With a project like this there will be a lot of working at it, reworking when something is not coming out and then ultimately complete satisfaction when I suddenly resolve a problem that seems difficult and daunting. That's one of the joys in the process and it's well worth tackling a piece that pushes you out of your comfort level.

If it doesn't turn out exactly as I envisioned, that's OK too. I will have learned something and probably improved my technique. Every painting is an opportunity to learn, even if in the end you're not totally happy with the results, you can use that experience in the next project.

Stay tuned.

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