Friday, September 4, 2015

The Making of Girl with Collie

 Girl with Collie, 2015
acrylic on canvas board
12" x 16" (30.5 cm x 40.6 cm) 
Collection of Seth Michael Rhodes
© copyright Mike Kraus
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Today, I thought it would be fun to show what goes into making a custom piece of art.
 First, we have to figure out what we're going to paint.  My client requested something "modern, playful, and different" and "with lots of colors."  We discussed subjects and paintings that could serve as inspiration.  After our talks, this was the sketch that was accepted for the final piece.   

 Now I start painting! I laid a cadmium yellow ground to really make the colors pop on this piece.  And I worked it gradually.  Sometimes adding more yellow ground to parts to keep the vibrant glow.  The sun and sky is blended over and over from yellow, pink, purple, light blue, medium blue.  Something that I was inspired from walking home from the ice cream stand.

 Next, I placed the mountains.  A dark blue that I layered several lighter blues on top to get volume.  That was followed by the land.  This inspiration came from a recent trip to the Salvador Dali Museum ( in St. Petersburg, Florida.  The colors of the sky are light and airy.  I wanted the land to be heavier.  So, I did the reverse with the colors.  I started with a dark purple and covered the ground.  Then came a light purple, dark pink, and light pink.  Each with a hint of yellow to keep the brightness.  I then added the road, parking lot, and grass.

 Now for the ruins.  Some of the sources of inspiration for the client were Victorian paintings.  While researching for the sketch, I noticed that lots of Victorian landscapes had ruins in them.  The style of the building was inspired from my recent trip to Montreal and Quebec City.  At the art galleries, there were lots of paintings that used black ground with bright bold colors on top.  And there were also lots of traditional old churches.  I thought it'd be appropriate to this piece.  In the foreground is another set of ruins.  I liked the girl and dog in the interior space, but I wanted to include the depth of a landscape.  Since ruins were to be included, I thought this device would be fun.  Similar to the church, it's black ground with a white layer on top.

 I filled in the foreground with color.  I wanted to re-introduce yellow to give it some brightness again.  There's a little brown added to give it shade.  The floor is checker board red.  I wanted to keep adding depth and color.  I also left the original white because it reminded me of the speckled white tile at my school.  And that speckle could be a good way to play with light.

 Then there's the girl and dog.  What is this girl thinking?  What is is the dog looking at?  How did they get into a landscape like this?  I'll let the viewer try to figure that one out.  haha

Added some details.  Some lines in the road and parking lot.  A little touch up work on the church and other areas.  But, that's a completed piece from conception to finish.  THANKS!

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