Monday, February 21, 2011

Sights and Sounds
Mixed Media on Arches Cover Paper
11" x 35"
(matted and framed to 24" x 48")
$950.00 plus shipping
To purchase, please email

These five are members of The Swingin' Vermont Big Band.  We happened upon their outdoor performance on Church Steet in Burlington while visiting our daughter there last fall.  Since I took many photos that day, they have been the subject of several paintings.

Some people have been curious about my painting process, so I snapped a few photos along the way while painting this piece.  The photos were taken with just the light clipped to the top of my easel, so there's a bit of a glare, and the colors appear much warmer than the actual painting above.  Hopefully, you can see past those issues to my thought and painting process...

I keep a stash of paste paper I've made (a process for another post!) on hand so that I have a variety suitable in both color and design for whatever idea comes to mind.  I liked the long strokes of this piece and thought they'd work well in representing the flow of music from the instruments I was about to paint.  Above is generally my set laptop with my reference photo on the left, my limited palette of acrylics front and center, and my water and brushes to the right. After lightly penciling in my subjects, I blocked them in with a light wash.

I continued to build up layers of color, keeping them fairly thin to allow the texture of the paste paper to subtly work its way through.

I tend to work in applications of similar colors...first all the skin tones, then all the hair, then all the instruments etc..  That's partially a habit from my days illustrating, and also a necessity since the acrylics on my palette dry rather quickly.

With the faces pretty much complete, it was time to attack the technical aspects of those instruments. 

Next, it was on to the black neck straps and white shirts...which, of course, were not simply black and white!

I saved the sunglasses for the last detail to complete...kind of the icing on the cake for me! I really worked to let the paste paper act as reflective lenses in their glasses.  Fun!  Lastly, I added a touch of green in the background to give the painting some depth, and to 'pop' the musicians just a bit. 
And, there you have it!


Stephanie Berry said...

Kathy--this is great. I like the way you took all that effort to show your process too. Super!

KT said...

so awesome, loved reading the process

Brenda Ferguson said...

Kath, this is another fantastic piece. All the work that went into it! I love the way you weave the texture of your paste paper into the final painting. So enjoyed seeing your process. Thanks for taking the time to photo document it. Fascinating. Bren

Karen Bruson said...

Nice format. Thanks for showing us your process.

carol morgan carmichael said...

Great Painting! All those faces and instruments! Great job. Thanks for sharing your process. So interesting.

suzanneberry said...

amazing piece!!! i absolutely LOVE this.

DEB said...

Wonderful work Kathy! I've been using the same technique of similar colors for awhile now with my acrylics, but I hadn't thought about it till you mentioned it here. Thanks for sharing your WIP.