Finally! I’m starting on my next big piece. Like Bike Boys, it is based on an historical photo from the archives of the History Museum in Denver. The photo features a group of Native American men, I assume to be Lakota warriors, on horseback, crossing, what I suppose is the Platt River.
I’m changing the figures around to create a more pleasing composition. In the original photo, the main figure sits tall on a horse looking directly at the viewer. He is flanked on either on either side by figures in side or back view. My plan is to flip these figures around so that the new figure on the far left is looking over his shoulder back toward the viewer and the central figure, thus bringing the focus back to the central warrior. I’m auditioning a couple of options for placement.
Option 1: The size of the figures works for their placement, but the depth of water is wrong.
Options 2: I like the diagonal flow of the composition, but the figure in the foreground is too small. Enlarging him will throw off the balance of the piece.
The problem this creates has to do with the depth of the water. When looking at the horses legs and how deep they are in the water, everything gets confusing. The solution is to change the position of the viewer. The original photo seems to have ben taken from the edge of the river, but I will shift the riders so that the viewer is placed in the center of the river, in the deep water, looking toward the far shore.
With that decided, I’ve begun drawing the pattern for the central t rider. He’s so large that I must use my back door for a light table. Unfortunately, sub-zero temperatures are brushing up against the other side of that door. It takes only a few minutes of drawing for my fingers to begin to turn numb from the cold. I find, that if I’m going to make any progress, I’ve got to don gloves to keep my hands warm. It’s a little awkward, but do-able.