Bear With Me

An abstract shape as a starting point is a good way into a painting: I have a composition and design that shapes the narrative, is dynamic, and frees me from the restrictions of realism before I’m ready to tackle it. The bonds of purely realistic painting chafe me a bit. This may be just a personal preference on my part, based on my own limitations. And why not embrace my own limitations when they offer themselves up so generously (and often)?

As things progressed, however, the crow looked like it was plastered on top of the white space at the lower left rather than occupying space in the air, with a strip of unrealistic white keeping it away it from the bears.


As an experiment I scumbled in a burnt sienna wash around it and, voila, the bird flew into the foreground. Reality can be useful, judiciously applied.

I did, however, lose the zig-zag in the design. I will try to get that back.
Also, you will note, I performed a head transplant on the bear cub. Much better!

From there I began to imagine rocks sliding down a slope, and with the random patterns in the scumble those were easy to see and enhance. When it got too prominant I pushed it back with grayed down pinks, ochre yellows, lavenders. A snowfield began to emerge behind the bears, with highlights glinting here and there. I opened a jar of thick gel medium (I’m painting in acrylic) and mixed it in for fun with peaks and blobs. I brightened up the blue lupines. I called it a day.

Now I have turned the painting to the wall to let it ferment a little. I’ll come back to it in a day or so with fresh eyes and see where it wants to go.

2 thoughts on “Bear With Me

  1. Julie Zickefoose says:

    Wow wow wow. This second cub head is so much better, as are the head/leg proportions. The first one looked to me a bit like a shrunken adult bear, but this one looks young. Bigger ears, longer legs, etc. Really nice! Great facial expression. And SO COOL how the crow is now integrated with the scene. Beautiful handling of the light on its back.

    I have been playing with that very thing (the integration of different elements in a single drawing) in some simple pencil drawings (and with 8o some more to do, I have lots of time to think). Sometimes a single line or bit of shading can connect two birds in a plane and bring the whole drawing together. I’m into minimalism; my deadline’s mid-December. Sigh.

  2. Zeladoniac says:

    Well, you’re working fast from what I can tell! 20 down, 80 left to go. Bird by Bird, as Anne Lamott sez so wisely.

    It’s great how that light comes on every now and then; it’s a nice reward for all that work and hard thought. Mid-December is farther away than you think when you’re being efficient.

    Thank you for the comments on the cub and the crow (I think I just found the title to the painting). They
    look so much better-glad you noticed!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s