After a long layoff of painting abstracts/nonobjective paintings, I began to wonder if I could, indeed, do it again. Painting linemen, stilllifes, teaching, presiding over a large national watercolor association, working part time, etc. all take their toll on developing one’s skills in the art world. My dear wife has been challenging me to do more of these kinds of works. Alas, I am as most of the other artists I know . . . . .afraid I might not be able to do it once again.
watercolor, 22 x 30 inches
I just finished this piece. It was a challenge in color management because I first tinted the paper with yellow. As you already know, the addition of violet would be grayed and any blues would appear green. So, I had to play with pigments to get the desired effects of a sunny haze.
As I am preparing for Open Studio, which happens Oct 9,10 and 16,17 here at home, I am often hammered with the desire to escape from all the work and just paint. Making this event happen is fully three to four weeks of continuous work from framing, to tidying, to building display facilities in the yard to sorting the piles of work to see what qualifies and what does not. Since I am not one who does well in boring tasks, this big chore pushes me every year close my eyes and forget it. I suppose, the deeply felt urge to paint is an excape . . . . .but I painted anyway. And it is a good thing I did. The act of painting, for most of the painters I know, is a positive energy tonic for us all. It felt so good, I just HAD to paint another . . . .which I will post later . . . .and have ideas for more.
Oh! You are invited to my open studio. If you didn’t receive a card in the mail, send me your address and I get one into the snail mail right away.
I suppose vacation is something few artists ever get. Just look: I go on vacation and what do I do? Paint, of course!
It has been a while since posting last. To get back into the painting mode I will sometimes take on a familiar subject and ‘let her rip’ by applying the paint in ways that are completely different than my normal painting ‘style.’ In this painting I used wet paper and an oil painting filbert brush to scrub in the paint. This yields wild and brilliant colors but also opened the door to using line in an otherwise different way. In the end, all of the elements (7 of them) are present, but some are emphasized in such a way as to attract attention.
This painting of half dome in Yosemite was more of an experiment than a painting. It may never see a frame or a mat, but it certainly allowed me to ‘get off the leash to run’ and get the crazy urges out of my system. It served another purpose: discovery. While fooling around in a free fashion, I found a few little ideas (like red shadows) and using dense, opaque colored line (integrating gouache into the watercolor pigment) atop the trees. This shifted the focus from the dome to the trees and the white shape behind them. These discoveries of how to exploit the different elements of design can often lead to new approaches in more serious paintings.
Open Studio is finished for 2009. Now I am putting everything away for next year and attempting to get back to living a normal life. Thanks to all who came and a special thanks to all my enthusiastic patrons.
As you already know, I have been working on many different versions of this same still life.
Nothin’ new, you say?
I would beg your indulgence for just a moment. Playing “What If” is no boring pastime. It is the sure path to discovering something new, something unusual . . . . .and certainly the path to finding one’s personal voice in painting. Y’see, when the artist has nothing to lose and it doesn’t matter what others think about a piece, that artist is much more willing to take chances and try things that may not make sense or to take risks when more ‘serious’ approaches would cause risk avoidance.
As this painting was finished today, there was a missing element in the lower right foreground. It was here that the risk was staring back at me and mocking me to go ahead. The pattern of “dotted i’s” on the green vase needed another repetition and that lower corner needed some of that neutralized green to balance things. So, there it is. Could I have spoiled the painting? Yep. Was I taking a risk (can’t erase here with all that surrounding texture)? Yep. Does it make sense or seem ‘real?’ Nope. Did it work? Yep.
I think, frankly, that little silly touch is actually funny. The entire tone of the painting (mood) is sort of tongue in cheek. The entire painting is constructed of “what if” shapes and colors and values. Reality is suggested when it couldn’t possibly be that way. So, the doodling around with an old theme, just messin’ with ideas to see what would happen exposed some new approaches having to do with repeating patterns, gradations, shapes and color intensities. I learned more today!
Isn’t that what this painting business is all about? Growth and learning?