I love it when I find an artist who knocks my socks off. Today I found just such an artist: Steve Huston. This image of one of his paintings-in-progress showed up on one of my friends' Facebook pages today:
Haul (in progress)
Oil on canvas
© 2014 Steve Huston
The vibrancy and strength of this work-in-progress is really impressive. You can feel the weight that this guy is putting on the line, and feel the push in his legs. Every line is correct, yet every line is vigorously done so that each has strength and character of its own.
Once I got over the immediate visual impact, I looked at how he might have done this. I believe that he toned the canvas with a muted yellow. Hard to tell from a jpeg image, which almost certainly looks very different on my computer than it does in person, but he might have used yellow ochre and/or orange with a good bit of white to mute it. Then he let it dry completely. Next was to rub a muted red wash over the whole thing (maybe a terra rosa toned down with a green?). The torso was then drawn by wiping out the highlights, and the jeans and shoes drawn with a brush and a very dark, almost black, mixture. The torso, head, and hair got some additional paint added to establish solidity and color. So now I'm going to give this approach a try.
Then I looked up Steve's web page, starting with his paintings. Turns out that almost all of his paintings have this sort of strength. His subjects are frequently working men, like construction laborers, heavily muscled in a working-man way (as opposed to bodybuilders with their exaggerated physiques). Others are club fighters. A few are females. All have great energy and presence.
In addition to his web page, Steve also has a Facebook page. Go take a look and see for yourself. This guy's good.