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Old 07-20-2009, 11:19 AM
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Elia Cid Elia Cid is offline
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"Druid Dreams" rough conceptual drawing WIP by Alex Castro

Hi everyone,

I'll need a few weeks to finish up the "Haitian Spiritual Singers ," but I'll have to wait until I'm finished with Conan the Conqueror statue that is due to arrive this Tuesday.

That being said, I started drawing a composition I dreamt about. As soon as I dream up a composition, I have to draw it otherwise I'll forget the composition. I 've had been thinking about a composition concerning Stonehenge for awhile so when I had this inspiration I immediately started drawing and researching the pieces to the puzzle.

When I I'm working with a composition I have dreamt or have a real fuzzy idea about it, I often time go thru a lot of drawing , most of which goes in the trash! I have thrown this drawing in the garbage a few times and re-opened it and started drawing on it a[FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']gain,
which is why it looks so wrinkled .

For some artist everything come to them alla prima . This is my forth attempt, so much for alla prima... Ha!!!

I'm also in the process of doing some research to back up my dreams! Next, I will tackle the l right hand (the one thats missing ) and a bit more of the body. Then the dress wear may need to be changed as well. I'm thinking of incorporating a crow in flight or a few crows on the ground to the l right. I would also like to add a bunch of mistletoe that was sacred to the druids and a sickle called a bolline often used for ritual functions.

These are just some ideas I'm throwing around and may be adding to the composition.

The Dawing:
In the large area I wanted Stonehenge completely visible as a esoteric and historical backdrop to set the theme and mood for the composition,
but I also wanted the druid to be the main player in this composition . I want her to be waking up from a dream in front of Stonehenge. The issues so far have been the following: the girl ' s face and expression since I didn't want her too old or too young ; I didn't want her to look like a fashion model or a beautiful cover/ pinup girl; the nose since I didn't want it to be too tiny and perfect; I added a slight space to her teeth. Of course she needs to appear Scottish, Irish or an English looking lassie so I will also add some freckles and she will definitely be a red head.


Thanks ,
Alex

P.S. This rough conceptual drawing will be painted on 23″ x 44″ custom made oil primed Belgium linen panel.
"Druid Dreams"


Close-up ,"Druid Dreams" 23"x 44" graphite pencil on tracing paper, work-in-progress by Alex Castro


"Druid Dreams" 23"x 44" graphite pencil on tracing paper, work-in-progress by Alex Castro


"Druid Dreams" 23"x 44" graphite pencil on tracing paper, work-in-progress by Alex Castro
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:28 PM
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Re: "Druid Dreams" rough conceptual drawing WIP by Alex Castro

Looks great
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Old 07-21-2009, 09:51 AM
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Re: "Druid Dreams" rough conceptual drawing WIP by Alex Castro

I have ideas in my mind but can never put them on canvas unless I can have the person or object to look at. Did you have a model for the girl? I can never get the proportions right just from my mind.
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:39 AM
kentiessen kentiessen is offline
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Re: "Druid Dreams" rough conceptual drawing WIP by Alex Castro

I really like the girl's face and expression- I don't think your concept could or should be done alla prima- it requires sketches, planning, and revision.
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:09 AM
Barbieanne Barbieanne is offline
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Re: "Druid Dreams" rough conceptual drawing WIP by Alex Castro

I am excited about your drawing. You have captured the almost still in the dream/awake look in her eyes. Would you please post your progress with this? Barbieanne
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Old 01-23-2010, 12:48 PM
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Re: "Druid Dreams" rough conceptual drawing WIP by Alex Castro


Rough conceptual drawing that Im getting ready to trace on canvas panel, which will be painted on 27″ x 43″ custom made oil primed Belgium linen panel. Drawing by Alex Castro

My apologies for the delays on this piece; between teaching, painting the miniatures, developing three other complex compositions and my website, my plate is pretty full. That being said, Im glad to be back with you and doing what I love the most. I have a new website that is currently under construction. The paintings are up but I need to redo the reading material, www.alexcastro.com

The Druids Dreams, is a composition of a young girl dreaming, but at the same time she is the dream. Overall, I wanted to create a mysterious and esoteric mood in this work.
There are compositional considerations that have gone into this piece. The overall piece is a wide-view landscape with an image superimpose on it. At this stage, I wanted to get a few variables balanced out: the solidity of the stone work versus the softness and the transparency of the girl (Yen & Yan). Also the composition is static in nature. To balance this out, I suggest movement in the clouds as well as movement with the girls hair.
The panel board I used is from a company named ArtBoards ([email protected]) from Brooklyn, New York. They handle all my canvases and panels.
As you can see on the picture above, I use a large roll of tracing paper ( Sallys Wax Free Artists graphite Paper) to sketch and compose the original drawing. This avoids the extra step of transferring the drawing from paper to tracing paper!

Using gloves and paper mask, I then take white lead called litharge and carefully paint the canvas. I add some thinner to obtain a thick heavy consistency. Note, I use regular 2 or 3 house painting brushes to apply the white lead paint. The strategy is to apply it evenly over the entire surface at an angle. For texture and impasto effect, I apply the lead paint again in a helter-skelter fashion. Lastly, I stroke in the direction of objects. I consider this an important step because it provides direction. For example, if the clouds are moving left to right, I will start to stroke around the area in a strong left to right direction in an impasto effect, emphasizing movement. If the horizon is going vertical, I suggest but not imply direction. For the stone, I make the strokes vertically. The girls hair, which is blowing from right to left, I stroke it in that same direction. Once again the white lead paint is applied to emphasize texture and movement in a very subtle manner. I let this dry for a few days.

Then I take the carbon paper and gently tap it onto the board, careful not to smutch it too much. I make sure I have good tape that will hold the carbon in place on the board. I gently tape the original drawing over the carbon making sure the composition is where its suppose to be on the board. Then I tape from the top only. The idea is to be able to swing the drawing over the top and out of the way, yet be able to flip it back in place if need be. I use a hard pencil (REXEL Cumberland Derwent Graphic 6H pencil) with a very sharp point to gently go over the drawing, keeping in mind the toning and shadow work is not necessary and that all I want is a very thin ghost-like covering, which can removed with thinner or paint later on.

Note, try not to rest on the work or press on the carbon. This really requires a light drawing touch. Once Im done and convinced that everything is where its suppose to be, I then spray it with fixative. Its better to spray a few times, letting it dry, than applying a thick application that may drip.
I allow the drawing to dry for a few hours.


This rough conceptual brunt umber wet drawing will be painted on 27″ x 43″ custom made oil primed Belgium linen panel. By Alex Castro

Using Winsor & Newton impasto, I mix up a batch of medium and burnt umber, 40/60 ratio (40 medium & 60 paint). I thin out the paint with thinner not oil. The Winsor & Newton impasto (Liquin Original) comes in three thicknesses. Note, depending on the area, I use different batches of medium; I will use the heaver batch of impasto on the same canvas in different areas. The rougher the surface Im painting, the thicker the medium.

I then place gray tone paper under the pallet glass for tone value and I use the same gray paper pallets for my portable pallet as well.
Note, some people consider this stage as a painting stage. I consider it a wet drawing.
I use burnt umber to cover the graphite pencil. I also use it to establish values and more importantly to establish some sense of drama and mood with my values. The burnt umber adds warmth to the composition. This process dries overnight and can be easily removed.
When I apply the umber, I use mostly small bristle brushes. However, I also use my hands and paper towels to soften and smudge some softer areas. I use anything that works to get the effect I want! I also use Q tips to remove lines that are too thick or not needed.


Close up transparent girl in her own dream, done in bunt umber and medium wash wet drawing.
Note transparency and emergence of the image.
This will be discussed later on and will be painted on 27″ x 43″ custom made oil primed Belgium linen panel, by Alex Castro

Some final points:
I try to leave the lighter under canvas come through whenever possible to obtain that inner light look in the clouds and other luminous areas in the painting.
I also try to work the entire composition, making sure I have enough time and energy to finish off a complete section.
For example, if I start the sky I will stay with it until its completely painted.


That being said, the girl will require a lot of time and attention. She will have a transparent look to her.
Well this is it for this sitting. I will be painting the girl in with burnt umber in the next sitting.
Thanks and stay tuned.
Best regards, Alex
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Last edited by Elia Cid : 01-23-2010 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 01-23-2010, 04:47 PM
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Re: "Druid Dreams" rough conceptual drawing WIP by Alex Castro

Alex, this looks really exciting. Your initial drawing of the girl looked pre-raphaelite - absolutely stunning. Like Wassie, I am interested in whether you used a model or a photo or whether she came completely from your head.
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Old 01-23-2010, 07:01 PM
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Re: "Druid Dreams" rough conceptual drawing WIP by Alex Castro

this is amazing!!!! I'll be watching, too!

cheers

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Old 01-24-2010, 01:18 AM
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Re: "Druid Dreams" rough conceptual drawing WIP by Alex Castro

awe. This is going to be brilliant...though, It already is.
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:27 AM
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Re: "Druid Dreams" rough conceptual drawing WIP by Alex Castro

Very interesting. Will love to see the next step. Thanks for this great WIP. Lovely work.

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Old 03-24-2010, 10:22 AM
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Re: "Druid Dreams" rough conceptual drawing WIP by Alex Castro

Dear Friends ,

Druid Dreams , is a complex multi-faceted composition ; one of deep meditative beauty . I 've never been to Stonehenge in England . I had to rely on stock photos, the Internet and anything I could get from books for my research. I would have loved to sketched these stones from life and actually touch them. To me they are magical! As for inspiration, I’m a lover of anything that relates to Celtic and always had a fascination for the Druids, Merlin or anything to do with the Arthurian sagas. I’m also a great fan of books byDouglas Monroe, Druids and Merlin.

I have completed the stone work. I will finish the groundwork, grass, for last. In my next phase I will be adding a moon in the upper left corner of the composition, that will add balance and an air of mystery to the painting. As you can see, In the final phase, I will discuss the issues involving the girl.

Final note, nothing is written in stone (lol . That is nothing is final at this point and some areas are still subject to change.

Thanking you for taking the time to look.

Stay tuned.

Alex

“Druid Dreams"

“Druid Dreamspainted on 27”x 43” custom made oil primed Belgium linen panel. WIP By Alex Castro

Composition: Going into this composition, I could think of no better back drop than Stonehenge. That being said, the stones would have to be impressive and significant in themselves but not enough to dominate and overshadow the girl.I used a mixture of elements to compose this composition , like the strong static monoliths, against the turbulent tempest of clouds and movement of a dynamic sky with gray clouds on the move; the ying and the yang, to be balanced out with the moon and the girl.
I have included crows an top of most of the stones, since they seem to be present very often in Stonehenge. They are also symbolic of the black arts magic and Merlin.

"Druid Dreams"44'x 23' graphite pencil on tracing paper, work-in-progress by Alex Castro ©

The painting: I felt that if the composition was to be credible, the stones had to be painted in a manner that they appeared realistic. I started painted the stones from left to right because I'm right handed. As I started painting each of the stones, I was struck by the uniqueness, grace and dignity that each of the stones possessed. I worked one stone at a time. It took me one to two days of painting, making sure I gave each of these stones the artistic attention they deserved.
When I paint, I like to think that each part of my painting is a mini, stand alone painting that could be framed. You can see the quality and detail in each of these stones.


Druid Dreams"painted on 27”x 43” custom made oil primed Belgium linen panel. WIP By Alex Castro
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Old 03-24-2010, 03:02 PM
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Re: "Druid Dreams" rough conceptual drawing WIP by Alex Castro

this is just great and it will even be better with the girl ...

cheers

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Old 03-24-2010, 04:55 PM
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Re: "Druid Dreams" rough conceptual drawing WIP by Alex Castro

Masterful. Thanks so much for posting your technique.
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Old 02-03-2011, 04:37 PM
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Elia Cid Elia Cid is offline
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Re: "Druid Dreams" rough conceptual drawing WIP by Alex Castro

Hi ,
Thank all for your kind words!!

My apologies for the laps on this work Druids Dream but she requires so much time and attention I did not want to attempt her till I felt in my heart that I was truly ready!

That being said, I will be posting her completed face in the weeks to come!

Thank you,
Alex

"Druid Dreams"


Druid Dreams painted on 45x 24 custom made oil primed Belgium linen panel. WIP By Alex Castro
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Last edited by Elia Cid : 02-03-2011 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 02-03-2011, 06:37 PM
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Re: "Druid Dreams" rough conceptual drawing WIP by Alex Castro

I love the texture and colours you have on the stones. I went to Stonehenge on honeymoon way back in the day when you could actually go up and touch them and you really could feel the ages and history in them. A very magical place. Really think you have captured it. Jen
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