I recently took a whole week off from my professional work, a vacation...to spend the week painting in South Australia at a workshop taught by Jacqueline Coates of Salon Rouge Gallery in Kapunda (right between the Barossa and Clare Valleys, a beautiful area to escape and paint). Jacqueline is an outstanding teacher and I have already done all her large painting workshops, so I was there to explore some new techniques and ideas, bringing a subject of my choosing. This angel statue was one I photographed in March when in Santiago, Chile on a business trip. I had spent a great weekend out and about there, having a fabulous walking tour in Santiago. On Sunday I went to see park up on a hillside in an area called Santa Lucia. I think it was a hospital and there are now lovely parklike grounds you can stroll through and some very pretty statues too. The weather was gorgeous with a deep cerulean blue sky showing through some old trees and I photographed the angel against that backdrop.
The angel is painted in acrylics and I had a lot of fun painting the underpainting of it with a big paintbrush, the style you use to paint walls in your house. I had not used that sort for doing a painting before and found it a great way to block in the shadows and light areas fast and get it all onto the canvas. Great fun and working like that allows you to really get into the spirit of the painting and not overthink things in the beginning. It was wonderful to get some of the emotion and drama into the painting so quickly, which allowed me to decide what I wanted to develop in it. This canvas is 1.5 m high, the largest I have painted yet. I have wanted to have a play with some impressionistic techniques and also make my paintings more expressive and I really enjoyed doing that with this one. The bark on the tree shows some of the impressionistic marks that are inspired by some art books Jacqueline had that we consulted for ideas on how to bring the big tree trunk alive and give it a more prominent supporting role in the composition. There are dozens of colored marks comprising the tree trunk's bark, some light where the sun touched it and then moodier darks like ultramarine helped deepen and push back the shadowed parts. I love how the angel's wing in the sun glows so brightly, as this captures the brilliant sunshine of that day as the sun was moving higher into the sky and it really sets off the shadows that were cast on the statue in the brilliant late morning light.
With a bit more time to continue with this theme, I painted a smaller painting of the same angel, but a closer up and cropped version, allowing more of a study on the facial expression which I wanted to be more serene. I used a more restricted color palette this time, and more golds, sepia tones and also the stoney white colors of the statue. I added a bit of purple madder glaze into the background and also on the wing in the shade, which gave it a look of blood spilled over the wing for a bit of drama to this smaller composition.
More next post, when I will be back with another painting !