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Step 4 – (Upper left) – Wednesday evening I started filling in the top and four lower hats. When I paint, I mix on the canvas – scumbling in one color into another. In this painting I am applying one color to each hat, then adding another darker color, then a lighter color and white.

Step 5 – (Upper right) – Saturdays I paint at Adobe Gallery and greet gallery visitors. Today we several international travelers – I met people from Britain, Germany, and an artist from Denmark, I believe. I added more color to the hats, then the black, and the upper right. Looking at the original photograph, you won’t see the upper right hat. It was added it to balance out the top of the composition. You can also see that I corrected the curve of it’s brim. There is now a small problem in that two hats of similar color are together. In the next session, I will darken the top hat with a darker blue gray that is truer to the color of the photograph. This will help to balance with the lowest dark hat. It might be a good time to remind folks that as a color blind artist – I chose to change up colors to my liking. I am not a realist painter, so exact color representation in not critical. As I paint, I load up my brush to get thick strokes of paint. For my brushed paintings, I feel texture is equally important as color in telling the story of the subject on the canvas. Today’s colors include Grumbacher Indian Red, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt and Raw Umber, and Naples Yellow, and Ivory Black.

Step 6 – With each of the hats blocked in, I painted the background white. The paint again is brushed on thickly, but loosely – blue beneath is allowed to show through. This will be the 2nd of (probably) 3 layers of color. I like to layer backgrounds with color allowing each layer to peek through here and there. It allows the color to blend optically. In the next session I will continue working with the hats.

[Back story] Neal – the owner of this collection of hats – is retired after 20 years from the United States Border Patrol. Neal has worked his share of hot days and cold nights doing a job that many wouldn’t do. His temper can get up, and he’ll “spit his bit”, but he is a solid guy – he’ll let you know where you stand in no uncertain terms. He recently returned home (Lubbock, TX) and fell deeply in love with his high school sweetheart Deb. Up there on the Caprock, under a sky full of stars, they are both living large as Texas.

– Mark