Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Horses of Roan - Color Study

"Horses of Roan - color study" - 11 x 14" acrylic on gallery wrap canvas.
Copyright 2007 Maggie Stiefvater.
Please click here to bid.

Okay, so I was back to the Sargent drawing board today. I decided it was time to tackle a color study. Sargent did several for El Jaleo, the piece that I'm modeling mine after. See here and here for examples.

It turned out to be harder than I thought. First of all, it takes a lot of work to make it look like it's intuitive. I was thinking about the following Sargent principles while I was working:

  • limited palette - I only used the colors that Sargent used (see my first post with my Sargent sketches for a list)
  • Soft edges - Sargent said that a hard edge was a weakness
  • Strong, confident application of color rather than tentative layers of incorrect colors
  • Get the tone right the first time or begin again
  • mimicking Sargent's reliance on dark values to define his shapes.
  • aiming for realism at 15 feet but impressionism at 15 inches
Hard stuff . . . so much harder than I'd anticipated, especially with little or no reference for much of it. To refresh memories, here is El Jaleo again -- see how the white horse is supposed to draw the eye like the dancer. On the final canvas, I need to move that horse a bit to the left to put him in a sweet spot.

I want to end this post by directing you guys to other blogging participants in the project. And keep sending me your sketches and blog addresses -- I want to do a big post at the end of the month with everyone's efforts. All skill levels are welcome to join in! Supposed to be a learning process, right?

Okay, the links:

Katherine Tyrrell's post: "Realism or Impressionism?"

Helene Keough's blog progress on her piece learning from Sargent

It's only the 8th -- plenty of time to join in! And keep those helpful comments and emails coming. I'm only a baby here . . . I need all the help I can get!


Regula Scheifele said...

This is coming along great Maggie!
You really caught the movement of the dance and the horses seem to enjoy it!
I've been reading along with your Sargent project and learned so much already. I don't know whether I'll tackle a 'Inspired by Sargent' painting of my own, at the moment I'm working on a copy of "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose" - or rather part of it. Beautiful colours and values.

Thanks for sharing!


holly said...

I literally gasped when I saw this. It is wondrous even in the 'color study' stage.

This is just a fleeting suggestion, which I have nerve to even put forth 'cause your shoes have more talent than I do, but - in keeping with 'El Jaleo', should the splashing water be hit with the most light, and the horse on the right have a less-intense value? I don't know how that would work, since the water would then be the focal point, but right now it seems *both* the horse and the water are equally in the spotlight, as opposed to 'just his dancer'.

Not sure that made sense; definitely sure I should stop. And do feel free to leave my ramblings out of your blog.

Thanks for teaching us so much - really enlightening. And what an incredible painting it will be!


Maggie Stiefvater said...

Amira!!! Hi!! If you're blogging about your copy, let me know and I'll link to it!

Holly, definitely keep your suggestions coming. I think you're spot on -- I need to downplay one or the other and definitely move the white horse further left in the comp to boot. I'm afraid to pull out the composition more (zoom wise) but I think that's what I need to do.

MrsSnowy said...

I'm out of my league but loving the experience. Just beautiful and fascinating.

Maggie Stiefvater said...

Thanks so much! I've gotten so much positive feedback over the study . . . even my parents raved. So weird!