Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Dust and Thunder" Completed

Dust and Thunder
18" x 24"
Color Pencil on Uart 600

Upon completion of Dust and Thunder yesterday, I couldn't help but think about how much I have learned from this drawing.  Much of it's process has been an exercise in managing discomfort -- a frequent and nagging sensation that what I was attempting to do each step of the way may not get the result I was going for.  In retrospect, this feeling was probably born primarily from approaching a subject in ways quite foreign to me..........the dreaded unknown.  

During a previous blog post I discussed how controlling contrast can impact composition.  Effective handling of contrast can help to lead a viewer's eye through a painting or drawing, and ideally the focal point should have the strongest contrast of edges.  With Dust and Thunder, I attempted to impact the contrast through color and edge control.  My previous assertion that my goal would be to make the appaloosa horse the focal point, may have been unrealistic -- given the prominence of the two largest dark horses.  However, I attempted to draw attention to the appaloosa in a couple of ways.  First, in my reference photographs the brightly lit area behind the horses did not extend as far left as it does in my drawing: I extended the brightness behind the appaloosa, to create contrast through both the use of values and color.  Secondly, I attempted to keep the edges of this horse's neck and head fairly sharp, as hard edges also increase contrast thereby drawing the onlooker's eye.  For similar reasons, I had to work very hard to keep most of the foreground foliage very loose and soft: too much detail there (hard edges) would have distracted from where the areas of interest needed to be.  As it is my tendency to feel as if I must place every little detail (okay....yes....I have control issues), this was quite an undertaking for me.  Finally, because colors of high contrast or intensity at the margins can pull a viewer's eye out of the image, I attempted to slightly darken the values of the sunlit dust on both the left and right-hand margins.

I have the distinct feeling that the process of this piece and the many things I have learned, of which the above is just a sampling, will change my future artwork: how and to what degree, I do not know.  Clearly in both life, and art, there is a lot to be said for pushing oneself beyond one's comfort level.

Thanks for reading.



23 comments:

  1. It's gorgeous, powerful and simple all at the same time. I can't wait to see it in real life. Kudos.

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  2. Fantastic work Lynda. Well worth the wait!

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  3. This is your best yet Lynda! As Debbi says powerful! This piece will represent your growth as an artist and person....WOW! What a woman! Congratulations!

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  4. Thank you all for your very kind words. I have been giddy simply with being DONE. Now tell the truth Debbi and Dianna: aren't you glad I won't be WHINING about this piece anymore? : )
    Peter, its a good thing I have a submission deadline......because this is the type of piece I could have tweaked for weeks to come!

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  5. WOW!! it's pretty amazing, nothing I can say that everyone else already has other than I wish I could put into words the process of my work as eloquently as you. Job so well done :)

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  6. Just breathtaking, Lynda. All your hard work was certainly worth it.

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  7. Aw you can always whine to me! ;-)

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  8. Excellent job Lynda. I think this was the first post where you noted the size and then I fully understood everything you went through on it. Covering that size with colored pencil is a real undertaking. Good luck with it at CPSA!

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  9. Hey Elizabeth!...and thankyou. Well, I certainly am glad that what I was attempting to describe made sense. I think there are some artists who just seem to innately understand these things -- I am not one of those! lol. I have to intellectually learn why ' a + b = c '..... then, it makes sense.

    Thanks so much, Holly. You know, your previous comment concerning how your eyes moved through the piece was very helpful to me. Sometimes when one stares at something too long, its difficult to just let the eyes relax into that.

    Debbi, you better be careful what you say! : )

    Thanks, Michael. Incidentally, the piece was originally 20" x 30": I cropped it when I started to realize there were going to be some problems with the composition......But can you imagine??? I think I would have been pulling a few all-nighters! (And I really WANTED it to be 20" x 30", but I learned through past mistakes to not sacrifice composition for size.)

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  10. A truely masterful piece. Beautiful!

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  11. Thanks so much April, and welcome. I looked up your work and your lovely stones pieces (I too, have a 'thing' for stones). You may be interested also in seeing the work of a friend of mine in Massachusetts who did a series with stones: http://www.dlfriedman.com

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  12. Beautiful finish Lynda, congratulations!

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  13. Hey Toni, thanks.....I noticed from your blog that you just signed up for the big wait also! Best to you -- : )

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  14. Lynda, thank you for the link to your friend's site. I enjoyed the works there. Thanks also for the follow:-)

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  15. Lynda... this is such a gorgeous piece. It is so powerful... you have a real winner here. I just love it!!! You are so talented and I am in awe of your work!!

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  16. wonderful work :) you get a good sense of the power that a horse has

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  17. forget to mention, love how you have done the dust/sand effect :D works really well

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  18. Masterful and so beautifully powerful- I can't wait to see what else you'll have for us to see this year.

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  19. April -- next time I talk to her, I will make sure she has the URL to your site also.

    Gemma, I've been wanting to tell you -- since you completed that lovely raccoon piece some time ago, I think of you EVERY evening -- when I arrive in the barn to feed my horses and have to continually find new ways to outwit the mama coon in order to make sure that my cats actually get some of the cat food!.......Thanks so much for your very kind words. Looking forward to Dallas and seeing you, as I will be there with bells on regardless of outcomes.

    Jennifer, thanks so much........lol, because if you had any idea of how much time I spent whining while attempting to execute that dust! It was quite challenging for me, but I will stop right there before I slip into whining again............... : )

    I truly appreciate your words, Denny............and I can't wait to see what else I have in store either! hahahaha......well, I am not TOTALLY clueless on what I am doing in the coming months. My best to you on your exhibition; sure wish I could be there.

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  20. Fantastic Lynda!!

    Sorry, have had enforced break from computer/blogging for a few weeks so just catching up.

    I have to keep looking at this work - I love it. Wasn't there another horse to the left of the main group originally? - or am I having a Senior Moment (again)!!

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  21. Hahahahaha.......you caught me! No Sue; you are not having a another "senior moment". There was a horse near the left margin originally, and the further along I got in the drawing the more I thought it would better serve the entire composition to remove it - so I cropped just inside of where he was positioned. It was a tough decision, but because that horse was angled ever-so-slightly outward I was concerned it could pull a viewer's eye too strongly to the margin. In retrospect, I'm glad I made that decision......I guess thats what we would call 'artistic license', eh? : )

    So, your memory is intact and working well! Thanks so much.

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  22. I just knew you would get it. Perfect. You really nailed this one Lynda

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  23. Gary, how very kind of you. I think you had more confidence in me than I did! Thank you.

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