Monday, June 6, 2011

"Earth and Sky" Silverpoint and Acrylic WIP Completed

My husband and I were going to make a journey via train to visit my in-laws.  It was our first overnight train trip and we were looking forward to a new experience.  I keep a good daylight lamp with a magnifier at their place so while I'm there, I can still work when there is time.  I thought I would also be able to work on the train to help fill the time.  As usual when I know I will be working while visiting, I have to get something planned out and started.  I had been wanting to do another silverpoint work, and already had some paper prepared with silverpoint ground.  I knew I wanted to do something with lots of texture and with color like I do when working in graphite and film.  After looking through my photo library, I decided on one of a piece of driftwood that had mushrooms growing out of it.  It had the perfect bit of color and all the texture that I needed.

I drew the study for this work on film.  I have found that film works really well in the planning stages.  It erases so easily and I can do smaller studies and lay them on top or under to arrange the composition.  Above is the drawing with the reference photo and the prepared paper with the drawing transferred on.

I did a small study of the mushrooms on a bit of silverpoint ground to see how the acrylic looked with the silverpoint and to work out the colors, etc.  I was happy with it at this point so it was time to get started. 

I started on the upper left with the silverpoint.  But before I got very far along, I knew I was going to add something else for color balance.  I decided on a butterfly with wood nymph markings, or my interpretation of one.

Because this was going with me on my journey, I wanted to get the painting parts finished first.  Better to have that all completed BEFORE I invested the time on the details of the silverpoint drawing.  

Here's a closer view of the mushrooms.

A closer view of the butterfly.

I made a traveling portfolio to use as a drawing board on the trip.  It's two pieces of foam core hinged on the inside.  I kept the drawing with a sheet of mat board to cover it.  The thing on the right side is the wedge to sit it on.

I cut the wedge from the same piece of foam core, same width as the portfolio.  I cut it in three pieces, but not all the way through so it would fold.  Then I used the velcro that came on heads of lettuce from the supper market. (I save everything!)  I glued this on the end and then used it to wrap around the wedge to help hold it in place.

This is at a table in the lounge car on the train, the windows are large and folks come for snacks and drinks, to just read or play games, or look out the window at the beauty going by.  It's also a fun place to take photos if you can avoid the reflections on the windows.  Now if only they would get an espresso machine!!

This shows the wedge with the work on top.

I've attached a small magnifier to it here.  Everything worked out great, except the train didn't cooperate!  There was far more movement than I thought there would be and I could not work!   I did see another person with a sketch book working on some ink tatoo-like drawings but it wasn't working for me.  Also, there were far too many distractions with all the abundance of scenery, water fowl and other wildlife to look at!

Finally, when we got to our destination and I set up my work space, a card table with my daylight lamp, I was ready to get started!

I know the photos are strange with the light being warm sometimes and cool another.  I think it depends on the light in the room or if it was day or night.  You can see the silverpoint reflecting in the upper right.  In the photos below, you can see the reflection of the warm colors from the butterfly in the upper left. 

I was able to make much more progress when I got back home. 

It seemed to take longer than I thought it would.  Perhaps due to not being in my own studio and not having worked with silverpoint in quite awhile.  Everytime I do use it again, I learn more.  One thing I have to remind myself is not to become rushed, to go slowly!  The layers need to build up slowly, I got heavy handed in a couple of places.  Fortunately, they were in a place where I ended up cropping anyway!  Also I was reminded not to make the point too sharp, it can scratch the surface of the ground!  I also remembered the beauty of the lines and the changes in the silver color and how it warms.  I could see the difference from when I worked before I left for the trip and when I arrived and started working again.  It all evens out and becomes the same warm color.

Earth and Sky  © Barbara A. Freeman
Silverpoint and Acrylic on Prepared Paper  6 1/2" x 7 1/2"

This is the final cropped version.  Showing more of the background rocks seemed unnecessary and I thought it took away from the focal point.  Now your eye goes directly to the mushrooms! This work is all about textures, from the detail of the driftwood to the smoothness of the mushrooms, the underside of their gills, as well as the smooth river rocks and then the delicate wings of the butterfly.   This work in silverpoint and acrylic was submitted to a local competition, no theme.  I'll show it again after I have it framed.  I should find out this week, so I'll keep my fingers and toes crossed and let you know!  For now, I need to come up with my next project. I have several things floating around in my head so it's just a matter of working it out. I do have to get some miniatures finished for the fall deadlines, but I think I have one more non-miniature to do first! Until next time...Thank you for taking the time to read about my work. 

Oh and by the way, the train trip was great and we will do it again!  It's so much better than flying, much less stressful and without the invasive security!


Dors said...

An interesting and enjoyable posting Barbara. Glad you enjoyed the train ride. You silverpoint work is so beautiful and to see in all the stages is wonderful is wonderful.
Thank you so much for sharing.

AutumnLeaves said...

I wondered how you'd work on the train, Barb. Still, the thoughts and intentions were wonderful and I too have wanted to travel on an overnight train. It always looks kind of glamorous in the movies. This piece is beautiful and the color is so rich!

Gail Hayton said...

Good luck on the competition!

Tatiana Myers said...

Barbara, this is amazing! Thank You for showing all the steps of your work. Results are like usually - just beautiful.

Barbara A. Freeman said...

Thanks to all of you for your comments and support!

The train is so much fun, but not exactly as glamorous as in the movies, unfortunately!