Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Brought Out The Brush

Most of this has been done with a painting knife, but I thought it might be nice to bring out the brush to diddle around a little. A small brush is good for fine lines and the wide, flat brush was good for hitting the branches for a gauzy foliage look. Once I got some of those droopy branches and foliage in, I didn't want to mess with the background so much. It didn't need it, other than me wanting to lighten a path through the left side which will draw the eye beyond the tree trunks, which I'll get to eventually. I am having a mental arguement with my style, wanting to be so much looser. You'd think, using a painter's knife, that I would be producing something pretty loose. I guess it'll come when I'm ready for it. Maybe more plein air painting will get me started. Since it's no longer freezing outside, I'll have to make a plan to get out there and do it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Love The Large Format!

River Trees 30x40" One can't tell from a cropped photo how large this painting is. I ought to not crop it one of these days, so you can get an idea of how much it resembles a window's view of the river outside (I wish!). It sits in my dining room, when I'm not working on it, giving me the impression that there's a lovely flowing river and, now that I have it at a point where it doesn't bug me, I find it very relaxing and soothing to look at. It would be a nice thing to gaze at in a doctor's office or auto repair shop...two places that cause anxiety. I'd been missing the layer upon layer of painter's knife painting that made up the entire "Storm Wave" painting. It was so freeing to go in with bright colors and then hit it with duller glazes of blues and greens, come back with more brights and lights and then bring it closer to reality. The layers look so good with a top coat of varnish because you can see the under layers peeking through. Lots of depth. So, the trees got a little of that action the past couple of days and then late yesterday I went after the rock walk on the right. I saw blue undertones in the rock, so actually did a pure color glazing of Cerulean on different spots and went off to do something else while it dried a bit. When I got back, there was still enough tackiness to it that I could work it in with a lighter pinkish lavender mix and so it developed some grays in spots. But, right before I gave up for the night, I didn't like what I had and decided to chance mixing right on the canvas with some Titanium white knifed into the tacky paint. It worked a treat! I only mention my success with this as a lesson on how not to listen to your teachers, haha! Mixing pure pigment on the canvas is usually a big No No, so I was mentally slapping my hands even as I was finding it working so well. Another life lesson, brought to you by the Bonga. Feel free to use it, but don't tell anyone I told you.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Out, Damned Pink!

"River Trees" 30x40" The pink trees may have been restful, but I think I was just reading a bad photo copy and not staying true to what I know these trees to be. BUT, I will concede that there was a bit of sunset light playing on them, so the pink is there to some degree. Anyway, I'd gone so overboard with it that it annoyed me all day and finally, while my soup was simmering at 6:15, I went up to the studio for 45 minutes to see if I could rid myself of the worst of my annoyances. I knew I didn't have energy for more than a bit of glazing, such was my day (or allergies). It's getting there...slowly, but surely.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

River Trees

This first picture is of the beginning of the painting. Wednesday morning was icy and cold and not sunny, so I attempted to photograph this from inside, with my spots in the diningroom. I'm almost embarrassed to post the picture of the second stage of this painting, because it's such an awkward stage. I painted for 4 hours, late yesterday, and believe that it was 1 hour too long. But, the water looks good at least. I also was on the phone about a brother's medical emergency and keeping a daughter company as she drove back to Richmond from D.C., which is a little distracting to the painting process. But, the water looks good. And maybe, if I keep mentioning the water, you won't wonder too much about the pink trees? Cuz, the water looks great! It's okay, though, because I'll do a glaze over the pink and bring the values down, then move on to the background and then come back and see what I can do about the rock walk on the right without making it too chalky looking, work on all the roots and check on the trees again to see what else they'll need before the final work on the tree limbs. I always wish that I had given myself a larger block of time to work, because I always seem to stop before I've finished a stage, but this painting showed me that 4 hours is too long and you can get ahead of yourself to the point of no return, if you're unlucky. I'm lucky, though, and can see where to go next. Phew! And doesn't the water look great?

Monday, February 07, 2011

I Love A Good Experiment, Don't You?

I had a couple of hours free, and a cheap 16x20 canvas (sure seems small after my 30x40's), so decided to work through the same experiment with looseism (yeah, I made up a word, but I bet you know what I mean!). I thought the best way to start was to work from my previous attempt, instead of having a photo reference. I can remember some of the photo, and just did a bit of creative color choices in the foliage (which will have to be lightened up at the top), but really tried for nice strong strokes of the painter's knife and let each stroke stand. Problems that occurred: the bridge still stuck out like a sore thumb because I had made it so defined. So, after I'd closed the lid on my palette and was about to call it a day (in disgust), I took one of my painter's knives and blurred the definition with large strokes. Then, it was just one brown blobby thing, so I stole some excess pale blue from the water and went over the large pillars to give them some light. It is what it is, but I am relieved that I could do it and now feel like I can move on to another composition, though I can't recall having anything in mind for my next painting! I've been going like gangbusters here for a couple of weeks, and loving it, so I guess I need to slow up and do some research on what to do next, where to go and how to get what I want from it. I'll take suggestions if they don't involve animals or bridges, haha!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Two, Count 'Em, Two Done!

" Monticello Fall Tree" 30x40 oil on gallery wrapped canvas "Monticello Woods II" 24x36 oil on gallery wrapped canvas Not signed, but I am calling two paintings done! The Monticello Woods II was a no brainer...add some foreground leaves and "leaf" the rest alone. That was the intention, but I did work in some more depth in the foliage all over the painting, BUT I left the ground plane and the trees alone and that's a big step for me. Fall Tree, which will be renamed, "Monticello Fall Tree", just for the heck of it, needed work on the tree trunk. It was driving me crazy with its cool tones which, surprisingly, didn't work well against the warm foliage and warm ground plane. So, Transparent Red Oxide went to work again. Love that paint color! I combined it with Ultramarine Blue, in various mixtures, and reworked the foreground tree and the background tree. Then, used a glaze of Transparent Red Oxide on all the foliage and came back in with the yellows and orange tones to finish it off. I feel like it flows better now, colorwise, and I can relax and...sign them!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Monticello Woods II

Sometimes it's good to let a painting rest before you go in and muck it up. Because of that, I have TWO paintings resting in my dining room which, along with other finished paintings that I want to hang or are waiting to be framed or are waiting to be delivered to a show, is starting to look like my studio annex instead of the entrance to my home. Kinda colorful, I must say! So, what do you do when you want to give a painting a rest? You start a new one. I believe I've said that just recently and that's why I started "Barton Creek Bridge" on Sunday. Now THAT one has to rest and I started a new one yesterday. And nearly finished it, too! As with "Monticello Woods", this one went quickly but I was able to go even further with it because of having done the other one just last week and stopping it at an earlier point. So, now I have a little bit more to do: I have too many "sky holes" that require a bit of overlay of leaves so they don't stick out holes. And, I think I will leave it be after that. I am learning, in my exploration of this "less is more" technique, that the dense application of paint sometimes makes the painting more flat and has less of a glow about it. I also see that some of the energy dissipates so I'm going to see if I can manage to get what I want in the first paint application so the glow of the white canvas beneath the paint remains. I think it might take making several paintings of the same composition, like Monticello Woods, to help me with the more a la prima technique that captures the energy and glow. I'll let you know how that goes and what I'll be able to do with the paintings that are "resting" to recapture some of the initial energy and fire.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Spent Some More Time With This

3 more hours of work on this and am somewhat satisfied with the results. I don't know if I'll work on it today, because the power company has asked us to cut back on our electrical usage due to the huge drain these frigid temperatures have put on the grid. Rolling blackouts are plaguing the state, though my house has been spared so far. My appointment got cancelled and the grocery store blocked off the frozen and dairy aisles because they've been losing power off and on all morning. Were I to decide to paint, I'd have to power up my laptop for the photo, turn on the overhead fan and my work lights, which isn't saving much power.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

No Exactly What I Planned

So, Monticello Woods is now signed without me putting another touch of paint on it. Unusual for me to call it finished before I get into lots of color, tones and texture, but a friend begged to buy it at this stage. I couldn't deny her and also thought that it was pretty cool and said a lot with just those few lines of trees. I think I probably would have only brought in a few foreground leaves on the trees and maybe given more dimension to the larger trees, so it's okay to stop. And, what do you do when you'd planned on a week of working on a painting? You start a new one. And the new one, originally, was going to be another Monticello Woods with the added touches that I hadn't gotten to do. But, best laid plans... I was on Facebook and saw a painting a friend, Scott Ewan, did of a river/lake scene. So loose and abstract and inspiring! The reason that I took up the painting knife was to get to that point. I am so inspired by the work of Alex Kanevsky and, in my heart, am heading in that direction. So, with those two artists' work in mind, I started a new painting from photos we took on our walk around Town Lake last year. Best intentions though, were foiled by a bridge! You know me and man made structures. I cannot figure out how to let them be loose! My other complaint will get fixed today and that is that the drawing was fine but my looseness got all over it and messed up the angles of the bridge. Frank noticed it right away, but to give him credit, he first said "Whoa!", which is a compliment if you know my hubby.