Monday 6 February 2012

First Flight

First Flight

Wildborn Series.
©Ralph Horsley.
Acrylic, Approx  26.5" x 18.5"
Original artwork for sale: SOLD
Image available for license.

'The first flight is always the hardest.'

I have already shared with you a number of pieces from my Wildborn series, but this was actually the first I started on. For some time I have been wanting to create personal pieces, both to allow for my own expression, and to create some paintings I would own copyright on for license.

Typically I jumped in at the deep end and sketched up a very large piece, which although completed for the start of 2011 I didn't have the opportunity to start painting until late summer. The process all seemed very novel, in effect writing my own brief, editing the resulting sketch and then beginning the painting all without the need to get on the PC to scan and email the progress.

Oestensibly I have considered a lot of my stages to be for the benefit of the commissioning process. I quickly realised the error of this assumption. I now lacked a scan of my sketch to reference, nor had I a working value study.

The painting quickly felt like it went off track, and I lost the vision of what I was trying to create. At this point I put the piece aside, and I didn't know whether it would be revisited.

The painting as it was left unfinished.

However I hadn't lost the desire to create some personal work, and I had learnt a valuable lesson about the benfit of the work  methodology I have developed. November came around, and freshly inspired by Illuxcon, I embarked upon some personal work, but this time I went for smaller pieces that could be completed  in hours, rather than days. Thus the 'Wildborn' series was born.

I have derived  a lot of satisfaction, and positive feedback, from the series, whilst also finding these smaller pieces possible to fit into my work schedule. Of course whilst painting these the neglected Dragons remained a nagging thought; I still saw a lot of merit in the sketch, and din't like to see the work i had alreday done go to waste, but I knew I would have to take a fresh, bold, approach.

I began by completing reworking the sky and background. I upped the ante on the drama, and repositioned the sun to really focus on the parent's head.

The change felt substantial and inspired me on. I worked through all the key elements; background to foreground. Simultaneously I softened the existing high contrasts and overworked lines to bring the piece all together.

After stumbling so heavily first time around the painting did feel like it took flight this time around.

Finally I ended up with a painting I am pleased with, and that taught me a lot about my own process. The latter being especially valuable.