Friday, August 28, 2009

A Note to self for Next Time!

I have been painting long enough now, that you would think that I would remember a few basics!  I'll blame it on being too busy, but I did manage to forget an important detail. 
If you have visited my website ( ) you will have noticed I am a bit of a detail freak.  I love putting in detail.  I have tried to be "looser" in my painting, but invariably fall back to the detail.  This is one of the reason I generally paint on masonite or MDF if I use acrylic or canvass with oil, or illustration board for my gouache paintings. 
The reasons are fairly obvious...oil, I can't manage the level of detail I do in acrylic, so I use canvass.  Gouache tends to sit "lightly" on canvass or MDF... result, I use absorbant illustration board.  Acrylic I like detail, so the smooth surface of MDF or masonite is ideal.   Close to 20 years of painting, you would think I would remember these points.
Well the painting "Bridal Pair" is acrylic, but I'm doing it on canvass.  The only saving grace for me...fur on deer is not heavily textured; so I can "fudge" that it is not as detailed as I would normally do.  Really notice in the faces.

So for those of you who plan to start a painting...think of the detail level you plan to put in the painting, and choose your substrate accordingly!  Note the face of the deer.

Till next time!

Cindy Sorley-Keichinger

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Working the kinks out

I think I mentioned before that antlers are as individual as hands. Well after consulting with friends, hunters, the Internet, and my own observations; I ended up using my hands as models for 3/4 view antlers.

Some things I learned about antlers...Whitetail antlers at least...even a trophy set of antlers have two little guys up front and a further 4 prongs further out on the wrack. These can vary in length and thickness. A young buck will have dainty thin with only 2 prongs on his wrack. A mature buck will have the full 4 that are thick and robust.

Now there are some out there who may say that "I've seen buck with 5 or 6 prongs besides the initial 2", but from what I've found out, that generally means they have a fork on the end prong, or they are an atypical set of antlers. (And trust me atypical can get pretty out there in the prong department!)

In the end I had to use my best judgement, had a photo as a guide but ended up using my hands held in an antler manner to get the view of the antlers I wanted.

Sounds very strange I know, but hands are roughly shaped in the same manner as a wrack of antlers (and wing tips, but that is another story).

I've also changed the position of the bucks legs from before. The first set up sort of made me twitch. Could not figure out why until I noticed that my buck was about to trample my doe. Now he walks past her. Amazing how relaxed you can get when the twitch factor of a picture is removed!

Many of the in between steps on this picture are now posted on my website. If you are interested, take a look.

Ciao till next time.

Cindy Sorley-Keichinger

Monday, August 24, 2009

Making a painting to spec!

Who knew that when I offered to make a painting for my Son's wedding, the challenges it would present! My first clue should have been when I got the answer to..."What do you want in it?"

Answer..."A Doe and a Buck (with really large antlers), a fall scene, water, trees, the deer on a rise, sunset, fall lighting, and they threw a combine in just for good measure! I drew the line at the combine; but to fit it all together so they would like it and so would I? Wow!

Took ages to come up with something that they would like and that I wanted to paint. Finally did though, but let me tell you, I know more about Whitetail Deer antlers, than I care to know.

Did you know that when you really get looking they are as individual as people's hands? I didn't, but do now. Some are narrow and point up, some are wide and elegant, some are between the two. It goes on and on.

I'm about 3/4 done now and have finally started on the Buck. I procrastinated big time on that. Total by gosh and by golly as all my reference photos were of doe deer, or antlerless bucks!

Getting there though. Above is the early stages of this challenge. We'll see how the next stages go!