The Woodsman

A work in progress at the final stages . Follow the blog below to see how I did it.

The composition starts with an idea . I use reference photos as memory joggers.

If an idea sticks with me long enough I will at some point take the painting idea a little farther. I do some hunting, most years, in October when I spend a lot of time with my dad . He is a true woodsman . He lives off the land , hunts wild game and also cuts his own firewood . I first called this painting " The Hunter " but the title "The Woodsman" suits it best. I had a few photos that sparked an interest.

The cropped section in the top photo created the greatest potential for a painting. The photo section below taken from that original photo has a composition that I believe may work as a painting .

I sealed a 14" x 18" hardboard panel with acrylic matte medium and when it was dry I added a layer of white gesso , let dry . Then a second layer of gesso with paint pigment in it was applied. I got a color that I thought would be a good base using raw umber, ultramarine blue, , yellow, and a dab of crimson . I applied brush strokes in a way to form grass texture in the foreground. In the background area I used diagonal strokes from the top right corner down to the middle of the panel. I intend to have light rays beaming down from that direction later and the diagonal stroke will help with that. I wanted a color that if it bleeds through a bit it would be an enhancement to the top colors not a hindrance.

Then I added my background color in acrylic . I used raw umber, burnt umber ,ultramarine blue, naples yellow and yellow ochre combined to get the colors in the background. This gives a much better tonal effect then if I had tried to use some black pigment mixed with yellow for example. The grasses were done with a pizza cutting wheel . The paint has to be diluted enough to flow easily without dripping off the wheel.

I rubbed the background color a little before it was completely dry to expose the under painting gesso color. I didn't want to lose that yet. I should note here that the green grasses under the lines I created with the pizza wheel was scrubbed in with a course wide brush before the top lighter yellow grasses was applied.

I added the orange dot at the location where the head would be. This gives me an idea as I proceed , where the figure will be in relation to the background.

I wanted the dark area to have a kind of shadowed evergreen tree color. So I made a glaze with ultramarine blue, yellow ochre, and raw sienna in it. There is still a little of the underpainting color bleeding through and that's what I want.

I made a glaze mixture with ultramarine blue , a dab of white and a micro amount of pthalo green . ( pthalo green is a very powerful pigmented color , too much and it overpowers the other colors) I uses a mid size round brush and painted this glaze on in diagonal lines moving down from the top right. I was trying to get sunlight rays peeking through the trees and crossing the dark background. It seemed to work but it needs another application yet. I put in the fluffy grass top highlights with a small round brush using naples yellow.

I worked on those grasses some more. I wanted to deepen the foreground and put some variation in the grass colors. First I used combinations of raw and burnt umber's and a little burnt sienna in the bottom area and rubbed it into the texture . Then I wiped off some of the excess dark's . On top of this I painted grass blades using a green made from hookers green and cad yellow light . I used the same glaze as before on the dark area using those diagonal strokes from the right top downward.

I added a burnt sienna glaze over the entire panel . I was very surprised at how it unified the whole thing and brought a warmth that I was very pleased with. Next, I etched markings in the top left corner with a sharp tool to simulate grass or twigs . The etching exposed the base gesso grey-green color under the acrylic paint layer. It may be hard to see this on this small format. I will be putting other glazes over this yet so it will cover the gesso color a bit.

I added a little more grass stubble into the background and rubbed in a little yellow-brownish color into the shadow area . I then added the figure and refined the grass more . I still need to work on the figure a bit more yet.

I scratched the shaded area up a bit, to expose the under painting to make it look like twigs or grasses .

Then I made a glaze with pthalo blue and cad red and covered the entire panel
I highlighted the off white grass tops in the foreground only to give a greater depth of field . This made the figure seem to move farther away in picture space. The color I used for the grass tops in the foreground was naples yellow , raw umber and raw sienna.

I put another glaze over the entire panel using raw sienna.

I can still see the underpainting color bleeding through in the shadow area coming through all those glaze colors. That worked well and it was a success . This is where it is now.

Detail 1

Detail 2