Hard Times mixed media still life

Hard Times
As you know I don't do landscapes, I really suck at them as a matter of fact.  I used have big issues with backgrounds too.  Then I found collage.   It seems to have addressed some of my background issues with portraits.   So, I was curious, could it help me with the quest to do landscapes?   So is this experimentation gone wrong?
I have, after seeing a program on Yellowstone buffalo herds in the winter, painted buffaloes before.  Hence the idea of a buffalo in a snowstorm was born.  I wanted to see if I could take the techniques I have been working on in my course on faces and see if I could bring them into something else.

This was done in 3 stages, background/middle ground/foreground.  I put down some charcoal to give me tree shapes, then wet it, added some home made collage paper and several layers of really liquid gesso over it.   (for this painting I made soft blues/grays special paper, trying to give me shapes that would represent trees, the snow drifts, etc) Well, I killed the tree shapes I wanted for the background because I really did need it that dark - boo gesso.  

But persevered and went to the mid ground where I used two different references for those buffalo.   Also covered them with collage paper, then charcoal and tried to add in some gesso to knock them back just a bit.  A better result, but because I am really working loose I now have two really nice blobs.

Ok, hoping that the forward buffalo might save the day!!  Or at least make you think buffaloes in this picture.  I went back and used charcoal/gesso to try to give the middle guys some form and make them look like they are covered in snow.   Then I added the front guy in charcoal.   I started adding gesso blobs over the fur coat to try to capture the look they get from getting snowed on.  Had to alternate the lights and darks, finally had to add in some black acrylic to strengthen some of the darkest areas.  Finishing up the foreground area so that you really couldn't see where the collage dramatically stopped and started, I added in more gray toned gesso, some marks that might look like dead grass and called it a day.

Ok, not real sure this was successful, but I think the general ideas could work, so this calls for yet more practice.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look.


Joan Tavolott said…
This is wonderful! I love how you made the buffalo look like it had been out in the storm for so long and the snow was clinging everywhere. The softening of the middle ground shows the storm. I like that you can still see the shapes of the trees in the background without them being too dark. You really incorporated what you learned so well in this!
Sheila said…
Loved this at first glance! After reading your thoughts, I have a few of my own. Th foreground is excellent. I am thoroughly convinced that buffalo is encrusted with ice and snow. I love the colors, and textures all around. The buffalo(s?) further back need just a bit more definition. maybe, a little more snow on their coats? It took me a minute to see the head of one , and that the other is digging for grub. I thought it was just one animal. But then again, the softness sets them back, and brings the weather more into play. Wind, powder flying. The trees too, I think could be some what more defined. Maybe just one or two wider trunks? Not necessarily darker. But don't mind me. This is wonderful, and makes me chilly just looking at it, LOL :)
Another complicated piece done well. I think the buffalo in the front could be a bit bigger or the one in the middle a bit smaller but that is my only concern with the whole piece. I defifntely get the feel of a major snowstorm. Great job Nelvia.
hmuxo said…
This is painted SO beautifully, Nelvia. Winter scenes are very difficult but you certainly aced this piece. I love these buffaloes .... the colors are perfect.

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