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The making of Ovine Joy, for Landscape and Light translation project


Ovine Joy
by © Cindy Schnackel

UPDATE July 7 2012: Ovine Joy made the home page!

Other examples from the Landscape and Light workshop were on the home page too!
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June 2012 Juried Invitational Exhibition

Landscape and Light was another of Solo Exhibition group’s translation projects, and the third I’ve participated in now since last year. Photographers offered photos to be translated into traditional or digital art. I chose Peter Hammer’s Sheep Country, a beautiful mountain meadow scene with sheep that seemed to glow orange in the light. Below is my translation of Peter’s photo.


Ovine Joy (translation of Sheep Country by photographer Peter Hammer)
by Cindy Schnackel

And here is Sheep Country:


Sheep Country
by Peter Hammer

Below is a journal I kept of the process, with Work In Progress (WIP) images. The original painting has sold now.

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JUNE 6 2012

1st WIP so far:

Materials used:

  1. Ultramarine blue
  2. Iron oxide red, transparent
  3. Green Gold (Golden Brand paint color that I like; not actually metallic)
  4. Yellow oxide, transparent
  5. Titanium white
  6. Glazing medium (slower drying acrylic medium)
  7. Fluid acrylic medium (about the consistency of heavy cream)
  8. one-inch wide synthetic sable flat brush
  9. palette knife
  10. sponge
  11. wet paper towel
  12. linen canvas panel

The sky, clouds, and farthest mountain were based in with ult blue, a little white and a tiny bit of iron oxide here and there. A lighter version with some mixes that were warmer and cooler were used to base in the sky and suggest clouds. The foreground was based in with yellow oxide, green gold, white, and some cooler colors from the leftover blue, deepened here and there w/some red oxide. I used scumbling and spattering to give the foreground some more texture, over the brushing. Anything that was too bold I smudged with the paper towel, particularly things farther back. I roughed in the small nearer hill with deeper tones of the above colors, same for the right side clump of distant trees on a hill. With the palette knife I added some detail in warmer tones and white to the mountains. The Nearest trees are mostly sponged in. Nothing’s done yet in the background, but I’ll decide on where the main sheep go before adding more definition to anything. Compositionaly, I may move the near hill so it’s not right on center, OR it will probably be partly obscured by a foreground sheep or something, so it may not matter.

WIP 2 and 3 combined. The sheep shape is only done in Photoshop as a test for placement and is not part of the painting.

Added more warm and cool glazes, (ult blue & red iron oxide) to the mountains and textured it with crumpled plastic wrap and a wet paper towel. Added color and dimension to the clouds and mid ground tree line. At this stage I’ve used some anthraquinone blue which makes greener greens than ultramarine, for foreground and middle ground greens, as well as some deep violet to get a reddish purple and bluish purple cast here and there. The trees are various dull orangey colors and greens sponged, brushed and smudged. I suggested a few trunks with a combination of ultra blue and iron oxide. Will add some light trunks later.

The sheep is drawn in Photoshop! It’s not part of the painting. It’s just there to test the placement idea I have for the main sheep. To do that, I took the lasso tool, drew the rough outline, then gave it one swipe with the eraser tool set big and on about 50% opacity. (The type mask tool and eraser are also how I added the “WIP” text to the images.) The biggest sheep will be on the left side to balance out the biggest mountain is on the right side.

JUNE 7 2012 Background mostly done, sheep roughed in with titanium white

I continued to layer glazes and details in thin layers, with the palette knife, brush, and wet paper towel, to adjust color temperatures and details. Last, for today, I roughed in the sheep with a slightly thinned down mix of titanium white and water. I did not need to blot out all the background color, and actually want a little to show through, as those colors would be in the shadows and light of the animals. Mainly I just wanted to make sure I had a fairly opaque, light surface to work on that obscured obvious background.

JUNE 8 2012, FRIDAY


Last night and this morning: worked on adding warm and cool tones and shading and detail to the sheep. I thinned out some white with a bit of acrylic medium and made numerous overlapping, circular thin lines with a small brush. Though not highly textural, it’s enough to give it a wooly appearance that will show thru, hopefully, as I add glazing layers. Also fiddled a bit more with the mountains and treeline, added some light tree trunks.

When it was good and dry, I laid it face down on a sheet of baking parchment and attached my label, and some info about Peter Hammer’s photo, and Sojie 16. (All of my SoJie translation paintings have accreditation info attached to the backs.)

Same Day, later

The sheep in Peter’s photo have a lovely warm orange glow that I want to retain. However, for the style of my work, I think I need to have a higher color contrast between the sheep and at least some of the grass and trees. So, I decided to green up some of the vegetation. The sheep got a glaze of acrylic medium, red iron oxide, and Quinacridone Nickel Azo gold, (which is not gold metallic but a sort of transparent burnt orange that is fairly ‘hot’ but not totally unnatural looking). I also felt that with the changes in scale of the sheep, the little hills behind the treeline were distracting, so I combined them a bit and cloaked them all in distant trees.

Before putting it to bed for the night, I coated it with a thinned down layer, (nearly half water), of clear acrylic gloss medium. This isolation coat every so often helps give work luminosity, and makes it easier to work over it with more layers, especially in our dry air. Additionally, some thinly applied paints do not stand up well to aggressive techniques done over them, but the isolation coat protects them from being rubbed off.

JUNE 13 adjusting colors, and adding details

June 14, more flowers, building the wool, adjusting colors here and there, and adding details.

Journal Comments

  • LoreLeft27
  • Cindy Schnackel
  • F.A. Moore
  • Cindy Schnackel
  • virginian
  • Cindy Schnackel
  • Lucinda Walter
  • Cindy Schnackel
  • Damienne Bingham
  • Cindy Schnackel