Next I start working on the middle values.
First is the background. I pull out my number 1 filberts, rounds and flats to put in the shapes.
Working back to front, I move toward the middle ground and then lay in the first layers of the pasture. As I move forward…the brushes get bigger.
After I get the middle and foreground covered, I move back to the background to finish the details. I finished the out-building and fencing there. I can’t start the oak tree canopy, until the background is finished.
Next I put the first coat of paint on the gate and foreground fencing.
I also layed in the first grapevine leaves on the top of the butterfly gate. These strokes were thick and free-spirited. There is already a couple layers of paint on the pasture behind the leaves and since these will be very detailed at the end, I used more of a 3d modeling effect with my brushwork to make them pop out at the viewer.
The painting starts looking a little flat right about now, but that’s ok. In the final stages of painting, I will be putting in the darkest darks and highlights to accent the details and make it come alive!
The underpainting is done and just in time for the weekend. I will let it dry for the next few days before I begin again.
I made sure I was pleased with the distance mountain range and the far edge of the property on the horizon before I quit for the day. These areas must be completed before I can start to work on the middle and foreground. In landscapes, you paint back to front and everything underneath another element first. This is why the fencing and gate will be the last items I work on.
I finally get to enjoy the wonderful smell of my oil paints and feel the brushes in my hands. 😉 I begin the underpainting.
Oak trees are the most amazingly shaped trees on the planet and probably the most fun to paint. It almost looks like I have tried to finish the foreground tree trunk…but no. That is just decades of studying the abstract shapes in the trunk and branches of these majestic trees and utilizing my brush strokes in a way that the very thinned down oil paint pudddles where I want it. As the Turpenoid dries (very quickly), I am able to achieve a sense of form and tiny shapes.
Once the painting progresses, all that you see now in the tree trunk will be covered up with subsequent layers. However this initial modeling with the thin paint helps me to make decisions for later. I am sorting out my final choices in values of light, darks and shapes to see how they will influence the perspective. A process that all artists must constantly be aware of from beginning to end.
Starting a new piece is always exciting, but you can’t get your hands in the paint, until all the compositional details are worked out.
This landscape was more of a portait of a property than anything else, so I had to be true to the elements in the piece. But I did take artist license with illimination of many items on the property that were not vital to Ranchita’s identity and that would ‘clutter’ my composition.
I also struggled a bit as to whether or not I wanted the 3rd horse…and where it should be placed. So as I often do, I made a thumbnail clipping and moved it around the canvas stuck with tape.
In these initial planning stages, I am building a map that I want you to use as your eyes travel around the painting. If you have a poor map, then your viewer’s eyes are going to go left to right, by nature, and then be finished.
To keep their eyes traveling in circles around each piece with gentle stops on my points of interest, I use composition, value changes and lighting. I double-check it in my mirror to fool my own eye and then when I am happy…it’s time to get the brushes out.
Starting a new piece called, Ranchita Arroyo Grande Morning. It will tell a story of one of the most serene places I have ever been to in my life. “The Making Of..” pics will follow soon.
I wish I would have found ARS sooner! Since March of 2011 (almost a year!), I have been form-filling and letter writing trying to get my copyrighted artworks off of Photobucket’s website. ARS stepped in…and in 1 day, yes, I said it, 1 day…they got Photobucket to comply. Thank you ARS!
Fellow Artists…if you have the same battles with copyright infringement of your artwork that I do, don’t hesitate to contact ARS for help. Here is their info:
A R S
Artists Rights Society . 536 Broadway . Fifth Floor . New York, NY 10012
(P) 1.212.420.9160 (F): 1.212.420.9286
Capriole, Vienna, by Bj. deCastro, was the Featured Art-Of-The-Day painting at Azoony!
Italy 528 received a really nice write-up in the epicurian section of The Age magazine in Austrailia, which featured a photo of the wall-sized print of deCastro’s painting that was custom-made for the restuarant.
“My browsing the web led me to your site. I love the way you take inspiration from the many beautiful places you’ve seen in your travels. Your paintings vividly capture the spirit of these places and make me yearn to once again meander through the cobblesone streets of Rome, or while away the hours in some French cafe! ‘Memoir de Paris, France’ and ‘London Bridge, England’ are particularly striking to me. Marvelous Creations. Glad I stopped in!” – Willow Johnson, Assistant Editor, “The Medium” Webzine.
“Thank You Bj…The journey we took together to design my logo of Old Growth Oak Morgans was one that I will always treasure. You placed on canvas a picture of the devotion and passion I feel for this breed. You are not only a talented world reknown artist but a fantastic writer and friend. I cant wait to begin our next adventure!” – Wendy LeGate, Old Growth Oak Morgans