The purpose of this blog is to show off John Lofgreen's Alaskan world through his wildlife art and nature photography. It will explain his painting techniques, and report on his latest activities including exotic journeys around the world.
The photo above is a detail of the latest new painting.
It all started out with an 8x10" gray gesso board, which I sanded smooth. Then I sketched out two Trumpeter Swans that I photographed at nearby Sixmile Lake on the airforce base.
I painted the top and the bottom dark blue, while the middle layer of the board was a medium blue-gray.
Then I took an old toothbush and flicked on a fine spray of watery, pale gray paint on top of the middle layer.
Next I blocked in some base tones on the swan's bodies.
I tried to blend some blue-gray with warmer buff tones into the foundation of the swan's bodies. This is a technique that I have attempted to perfect many times when painting white birds, but it needs further refinement. By the time I get it right I will lose interest in the subject. And so it goes with just about everything in my life.
Next I added whitish surface feathers on the rear swan. I also added light highlights on it's beak.
A detail of it's head. You can see the light flecks from the toothbrush. They are less prominent in the actual painting.
I realized that the rear swan needed a thicker neck, and I added some light highlights on the front swan's body.
After refining the front swan's plummage, I added the swan's reflections in the water. I also put some pale washes across the middle level of the painting. Then I covered the whole painting with a thin glaze of burnt sienna. At this point I thought the painting was completed, so I signed it.
After a day I realized that the painting needed a few refinements. I brightened the intensity of the sunlit feathers, and added some light washes to obscure hard details of the swan's plummage. Now it's done.
Last year I painted this seascape, Wildscape, 16x20". I know it will never sell but I figured I could at least improve it a little.
First I worked on the gull a little, and repainted it's legs. Then I put a pink wash on top of the background to obscure it somewhat. I also brightened some of the highlights of the sea foam.
A detail of the gull. Is it any better? Is it finished? Who knows?