Ravens have long been found in the mythology of many cultures--they are often portrayed as envoys of the supernatural, relaying messages from the gods to mankind and back again. In The Surveyor, I wanted to explore the raven’s otherworldly role by featuring a lone bird perched atop a surveying tool and tripod, scanning a surreal landscape.
The background of The Surveyor is quite a departure for me, harkening back to both my landscape and my abstract art days. I wanted the final effect to be ethereal, so I obscured the sky and trees with bold overwash techniques to provide the background with a ghostly glow.
Perhaps the most difficult challenge with the background was related to the original canvas’s size, which was 42" x 60". With an area this large, it becomes difficult to control a paint wash: too aggressive of a splash or spritz could obliterate the underlying scene.
The surveying tool is called a theodolite--a precision device with a rotating telescope used to measure angles. I found this theodolite, mounted on a painted white tripod, in an antique store in Texas. If you have followed my work, you know I cannot resist a nifty tool, especially one that is this eye-catching.
If you would like to see me paint the background and other aspects of The Surveyor, I invite you to check out my videos on Instagram, where I filmed the painting as I went along: The Surveyorby Richard Hall.
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