joan l. garcia  

PHOENIX, 16" x 20" oil on gallery wrapped canvas
My current work in progress is Phoenix; commissioned as a gift for her owner's kennel, Summer Rain Kennel in Washington State. An Australian Shepherd, Phoenix is a champion with striking eyes and a stately pose. 
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SIBBELL, an American Hero, 16" x 20" oil on board
This is a painting of my interpretation of a little known young woman from the American Revolution. Everyone has heard of Paul Revere's famous ride to warn friends and neighbors that the British were coming, but there was someone else who rode through the night with a warning. Sixteen-year old Sybil Ludington became known as the Female Paul Revere. Her ride took place during a significant event in American History designed by the British Commanders to bring an end to the Revolution. The composition was developed using various historical records regarding her ride. The people depicted are my illustration of how I believed them to look, they in no way portray actual individuals. (There are various spellings of her name, the title I chose is that used on her headstone. Sibbell, Sybil, Sibyl)
Sketch transferred to the board. the ride occurred at night so I base coated the board with Paynes Gray.
Since Sybil's ride was at night and it was raining, I've painted in a dark stormy sky with white, paynes gray and ultramarine blue. In addition, there was a 3/4 moon that night. I also blocked in a base coat of raw umber for the trees.
After completing the sky background and blocking in the trees, I added the glow of the fire (when the British burned Danbury) using various yellows and reds. The colors were blended and smudged to show distance.
A three-quarter moon is pretty bright so I need to show it's reflection against the trees. I added detail to the tree trunks with raw and burnt umber and the highlight with white and ultramarine blue.
British were sacking Danbury, CT. I loosely sketched them in the background.
Painted section of the British with very little detail.
Beginning to add the foliage on the trees. A mixture of sap green and raw umber, masses of color and no detail.
Completed the background. Trees in various shades of sap green, viridian, cobalt blue, umber and white to develop green tones with a slight blue tone because of the night sky. I highlighted edges of the tree trunks and foliage with ultramarine and white to show the touch of moonlight.
To make Sybil’s face glow in the moonlight. I am using a technique called Verdaccio. Verdaccio is a technique used by the Old Masters, which will bring out the vibrancy of flesh tones by using a greenish-tinged underpainting. Green being the complement of red.
Closeup of Sybil's face. Yes it does look a little strange.
Next added the mid-tones for the shawl and shirt.
Finished the clothing. Sybil ran upstairs and put on an old pair of her father’s pants tucking them into her boots, her brother’s long underwear shirt, her mother wrapped her thick cotton shawl over Sybil's shoulders and she  tied her hair back with a string.
Time to paint, Star, her horse. Assuming Star, is a Cleveland bay I painted the base layer in burnt sienna. Adding the star-blaze and highlights and blue-gray of the snout.
Nearly finished Star. I still need to add to the mane and the "hempen" halter.
During Sibyl's ride she was attached by highwaymen. I have him sketched reaching for her.
I had sketched the Highwayman reaching for Sybil and now it’s time to paint. I started with his face, mostly covered by a bandana, and his hand. Then I blocked in the darkest areas of his great coat.
The highwayman's great coat is various shades of paynes gray, ultramarine blue and  white. The moonlight shines on his out stretched arm.
Highwayman is complete. I used viridian for the bandana to provide a contrast to the various darker colors and grays. The headscarf is alizarin crimson for the same reason.
The finished painting; since this depicts the ride which was at night I added more shading using, violet and ultramarine using Gamblin Galkyd to make a see-through glaze. I shaded the right side of Sybil’s face a little more since it would have been in deep shadow and added a few more moonlit highlights.
Working from a number of photos of Phoenix, I like the one of her in the snow.
I base coated the canvas with a blue gray mixed with gesso. Then added a paynes gray underpainting of the dog's body and sketched the features in white.
Working on Phoenix's face. It brings the painting to life for me to start with the eyes and the face. I started with the light colors to define the areas working with paynes gray and white. Then the darks with paynes gray and raw umber. Then yellow ochre and burnt sienna for the golden areas/
Added the basic colors for Phoenix's body. Naples yellow and white add dimension to her chest.
More detail, added layers of color.
Added more highlights to Phoenix. This gives you another view.
Added white highlights on Phoenix's chest
Adding the background along the horizon. Winter trees added with yellow ochre and burnt sienna in a scumbled technique.
Finished the tree line in the background with very few details.
Blocking in the snow.
First layer of ultramarine and white to begin painting the snow.
Another glaze for the snow.
Close up of painting snow
Painting snow at our beach house. My portable setup.
As the oil dries I add additional highlights and details to enhance the color.
Phoenix is finished
Gallery wrapped canvas painted on all sides. It can be left as is, or framed.