Post image for The Lady of the Rock Work in -Progress

The Lady of the Rock Work in -Progress

by Alex Castro

Hi,

I’m dedicating this post primarily to my students, but of course all are welcomed to read and enjoy.

I would like to comment on finishing a painting. I should have finished the painting a week ago. I just have a few rock formations on the right hand side.

That being said, there is a difference between completing and finishing a painting. By completing, I mean that everything in the composition has been done. For me that’s when the hard work begins. I then start the process of “perfecting.” This basically means going over any issues that require more attention; and more importantly having an artistically honest conversation with myself questioning what was my original intent and did I accomplish my goal; keeping in mind that there are no references in originals works of this kind to compare with. Therefore, the only time I know what I really want is when I have created it. It is in a way a battle of tenacity and determination.

A master once said to me,”the elementals of art respect only one thing, character.”

In about a week, I will come back with fresh eyes to scrutinize the painting both outdoors as well as indoors. Once I have satisfied myself artistically, then and only then will I sign the work.

Stay tuned for the conclusion of this painting in the next few weeks.

 

 Dear Friends,

I had mix feelings in showing the “The Lady of the Rock ” as a work in progress, for a few reasons. I knew it would require hard work and more importantly time. I was also concerned about copyright issues and having my concepts and original works placed on the Internet!

That being said, I decided to go on with it at the urging of friends, students and fans. But more importantly, Frank Frazetta’s words ” Why aren’t you painting” still hunt me because I really didn’t have a good answer!

I have a passion for the miniatures and they will always have a place in my heart. However, it’s time for me to move on and embark on a new path I strongly feel I was born to take and share with the world . My personal new age concepts of life for the most part will be executed in a realistic style but will not be limited to it! I will use any technique, approach and painting style as they are means to an end , that will act as a vehicle to express these concepts.
The only consideration that will be driving my work is the universal spiritual concepts expressed in the compositions I create. My painting motto is “Saturation , Isolation, Containment ”

Stay tuned for the next stages as I bring this “The Lady of the Rock” to life.

Thank you for looking,

Alex

P.S. The sky ,mountain range , river and lastly the foreground will follow, since I’m right handed and will finish this painting from left to right approach .

“The Lady of the Rock”

The Lady of the Rock” (20″ x 27″ ) Oils on wood panel, work-in-progress by Alex Castro ©

A word on finishing (Stopping):

After spending, weeks, months or even years with a particular painting, you establish a relationship with the piece. Oftentimes one can overwork the painting even when the piece is screaming Stop!!

Step back and stop painting for at day or two and come back to the painting with fresh eyes!

A good indicator that you reached that point is that no matter what you do, you don’t improve the piece. In fact, it my look worse, that’s when the painting looks back at you and says stop!!!

Once I technically finish the piece, I will analyze what I have done, tweak any minor issues, then give it a low sheen varnish to even out the shine created by the oils and protect the piece.

A strong drawing is the foundation of a great painting !

Graphite on tracing paper.

In this picture I started painting in the skin tones and developing the rock work.

I also started laying down my tone value and blending skin tones.In this picture I use flake white , ivory black ,yellow orchard raw umber. I laid out the sky to establish tone values and light source .

“The Lady of the Rock” © (20″ x 27″ ) Graphite on paper then oils on wood panel, work-in-progress by Alex Castro ©

Students should consider looking at the parts as a form within a form in their compositions . I find that this helps me to visualize the parts as different forms and images and how they fit and relate to each other, as well as understanding and respecting the negative spaces in the composition as well .

Example: The eyebrow and shadow over the eye resembles a dragon; the space directly above that looks like a bird perched on a branch; a dolphin shape under the chin; the unpainted rock from behind the lower jaw looks like some sort of skull.

The Lady of the Rock” © (20″ x 27″ ) Oils on wood panel, work-in-progress by Alex Castro ©

Note;
How lightly the the graphite is traced on the wood panel. The toning of the wood panel in raw umber, not only allows to establish values quickly but also serves to integrate the graphite and make it easier to cover up with a thin wash outline and not have the graphite show through.

The negative spaces form and define many of these shapes in this composition. The dark areas in this painting have depth and texture, even in the darkest areas!

The breast in this composition will be painted and integrated with the cliff side. The concept in mind is to have the shadow look natural and part of the cliff and at the same time represent the outline of the breast in a subliminal manner.

I’m dedicating this post primarily to my students, but of course all are welcomed to read and enjoy.

I would like to comment on finishing a painting. I should have finished the painting a week ago. I just have a few rock formations on the right hand side.

That being said, there is a difference between completing and finishing a painting. By completing, I mean that everything in the composition has been done. For me that’s when the hard work begins. I then start the process of “perfecting.” This basically means going over any issues that require more attention; and more importantly having an artistically honest conversation with myself questioning what was my original intent and did I accomplish my goal; keeping in mind that there are no references in originals works of this kind to compare with. Therefore, the only time I know what I really want is when I have created it. It is in a way a battle of tenacity and determination.

A master once said to me,”the elementals of art respect only one thing, character.”

In about a week, I will come back with fresh eyes to scrutinize the painting both outdoors as well as indoors. Once I have satisfied myself artistically, then and only then will I sign the work. Stay tuned for the conclusion of this painting in the next few weeks.

I had mix feelings in showing the “The Lady of the Rock ” as a work in progress, for a few reasons. I knew it would require hard work and more importantly time. I was also concerned about copyright issues and having my concepts and original works placed on the Internet!

That being said, I decided to go on with it at the urging of friends, students and fans. But more importantly, Frank Frazetta’s words ” Why aren’t you painting” still hunt me because I really didn’t have a good answer!

I have a passion for the miniatures and they will always have a place in my heart. However, it’s time for me to move on and embark on a new path I strongly feel I was born to take and share with the world . My personal new age concepts of life for the most part will be executed in a realistic style but will not be limited to it! I will use any technique, approach and painting style as they are means to an end , that will act as a vehicle to express these concepts.
The only consideration that will be driving my work is the universal spiritual concepts expressed in the compositions I create. My painting motto is “Saturation , Isolation, Containment ”

The sky ,mountain range , river and lastly the foreground will follow, since I’m right handed and will finish this painting from left to right approach .

A word on finishing (Stopping)

After spending, weeks, months or even years with a particular painting, you establish a relationship with the piece. Oftentimes one can overwork the painting even when the piece is screaming Stop!! Step back and stop painting for at day or two and come back to the painting with fresh eyes!A good indicator that you reached that point is that no matter what you do, you don’t improve the piece. In fact, it my look worse, that’s when the painting looks back at you and says stop!!!Once I technically finish the piece, I will analyze what I have done, tweak any minor issues, then give it a low sheen varnish to even out the shine created by the oils and protect the piece. A strong drawing is the foundation of a great painting Graphite on tracing paper. In this picture I started painting in the skin tones and developing the rock work.

I also started laying down my tone value and blending skin tones.In this picture I use flake white , ivory black ,yellow orchard raw umber. I laid out the sky to establish tone values and light source .Students should consider looking at the parts as a form within a form in their compositions . I find that this helps me to visualize the parts as different forms and images and how they fit and relate to each other, as well as understanding and respecting the negative spaces in the composition as well .

Example: The eyebrow and shadow over the eye resembles a dragon; the space directly above that looks like a bird perched on a branch; a dolphin shape under the chin; the unpainted rock from behind the lower jaw looks like some sort of skull.

Note;
How lightly the the graphite is traced on the wood panel. The toning of the wood panel in raw umber, not only allows to establish values quickly but also serves to integrate the graphite and make it easier to cover up with a thin wash outline and not have the graphite show through.

The negative spaces form and define many of these shapes in this composition. The dark areas in this painting have depth and texture, even in the darkest areas!

The breast in this composition will be painted and integrated with the cliff side. The concept in mind is to have the shadow look natural and part of the cliff and at the same time represent the outline of the breast in a subliminal manner.

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