Meteors and Squirrels

It’s been a couple months since I worked multiple pieces simultaneously. I like having the ability to bounce between works in progress for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that alternating allows me to shift gears and keep my focus fresh on the piece in front of me, rather than getting burnt out banging away on the same composition for multiple days. Thus far in 2020 I’ve been working on small pieces that don’t take a long time to finish, so I’ve not had the opportunity to work in parallel. Well, that changes this week​, means blog updates will have more progress updates along the way and not necessarily include the finished product in a singular post.  
Last week I started 2 new pieces. I’m still waiting for inspirational names, but for now we’ll call them Meteor Spray and Squirrel Dancing Meteor Spray is an actual Mars meteor impact crater, which will be a mix of realism and abstraction. Compositionally I’m already excited, in large part because the splatter inspired block-in stage turned out to be damn near good enough to stand on it’s own as a monochromatic painting. The colors in the reference photo are wild, but might be tricky to replicate. The plan will also incorporate knife work and impasto to build up the texture of the Mars surface. This is a larger piece, oil on canvass board, 24″x30″. 
Back on planet Earth, Squirrel Dancing is a study more than a formal composition, at least for now. I want to improve my skills in painting dogs in motion, so the study will focus heavily on the body language of the dog in an effort to capture an element of motion that gives the piece intrigue. In the case of Squirrel Dancing, the focus is the dog ready to spring into action when the squirrel makes a move. I’ve included a couple of sketches that helped me get a handle on the composition structure. Based on these sketches, I opted for the zoomed out approach that captures the height and separation between the taunter and the taunted. The painting study is 6″x8″ oil on paper. Before painting Wolfy into the study I did a small practice version before committing it to the composition – see the picture with these side by side. 
I’ll keep working on these 2 pieces over the coming week. Stay tuned! 

3 thoughts on “Meteors and Squirrels

  1. Pingback: Meteor Spray – Impasto

  2. Pingback: Dances With Squirrels – Impasto

  3. You are really moving along, Bern! So is the finished meteor going to emulate the colors of the original photo? That would be gorgeous. As for Wolfy, he’ll be thrilled. I like the practice sketches and where the painting is going. Look forward to lates progress!
    P.S. You probably already edited the photo, but you might try a little more editing to bring out more of the brightness and contrast. Would probably help with the challenge of painting some of the details.


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