The title today relates to what my life is like at the moment: Lots of different things going on, very little of it to do with painting.
Edges are key in this subject. Softer, lost edges don’t hold the eye. While sharper edges grab the viewer there must be a happy medium of the two. Blending the edges between colors is necessary ( I think), but, sometimes, I can get carried away and lose the brilliance I sought. It is all in the practice and learning, I suppose. When enough paintings have been done that one more doesn’t matter, then the artist does things without the worry of failure. That is why it is so important to paint often without concern for the outcome.
It seems I am gaining ground a little at a time. Sort of like climbing a sandy hill; up three steps and slide back two. Progress comes from repeated forward steps, each time with small (but significant) gains.
In every painting there is a concise division of the picture space . . . .or division of space as it is called. I spent a few hours this morning wishing I could do the same . . .then with pencil in hand, I began sketching and **designing** some landscape scenes. What do I mean by designing? Well . . . creating from something already known but fitting something into a divided space. The horizon of the water in this little painting is at a very critical spot on the canvas. And not by accident. The right hand edge of the cliff is also dancing on another division. Notice that edge and the left edge of the painting make a square? Can you see it? (Look at the sketches above. The marks outside the edges of each sketch show the lines on which these lie. See the bottom center sketch.) There is another imaginary square whose lower left corner touches the upper right corner of the cliff. The large square and that little square were set up first before any “Things” or objects were put into the drawing. These two squares came from the GOLDEN MEAN. If you want to know more about that, Google it, too. Mr. Stocks uses it a lot in his paintings.
That space division seems to be a highly interesting set of proportions to us humans. I have no idea why, but the concept has been around since the ancient Greeks put it to use. Once you know of it, you will see it everywhere.
So, I did around 10 sketches this morning trying to put the golden mean to use . . .and force fit a subject into it . . . .then, with the challenge of using only a few simple colors . . . . . .Alizirin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Cad Yellow Medium and White . . .I set about avoiding the typical GREEN tree. I really like the freshness of this piece. I wasn’t concerned with details or things. Just colors and space and how I would fit it together.
It was fun! Yes, I did struggle a bit in the sketching. The trick is to not give up. The stuff is waiting inside of us. We just have to find the access to let it out . . . .and sometimes it takes a while.
The development of the final piece starts here . . . .color variation, edge management, texture, shape modifications, color saturations and temperature adjustments . . .until sunset.
The coast can be damp and cold at this time of year. Yesterday, that just wasn’t so! It was 75 degrees and gloriously sunny at the water’s edge . . .and I couldn’t wait to get out and paint. So, I drove 40 miles up the coast, made a dozen stops and took nearly 100 photos (for rainy days!. I finally landed in this little secluded field, freshly planted with artichokes that were so small I nearly stepped on them. And the light was shifting into afternoon, slanted, shadow producing light that was nearly blinding. In a Tee shirt, I was in a hypnotic state. Whadda day it was!!
Ala Peter Yesis, who lives in Omaha, I am offerring up some progress shots of the day. . . . . . . . …….Thought you’d be interested.
This is yesterday’s piece with adjusments made . . . .
Oh, I know. I am not supposed to paint today. But what if I wanna paint anyway?
Old habits never die. I did four sketches of this flower and vinegar vase in my sketch book trying to decide on a good layout. I like every one of them. So here is another.
I used a neutral background on this painting to set off the tints in the flower. A little bit of Naples Yellow in the foreground and graded back provides a warmth and adds depth, too.
We are headed for the doc for a follow up visit today . . . . .it’s beginning to look like Diana will be permitted up and about. That’ll be good! Obviously, still life painting is nice, but being outside is even nicer. I gotta see my girl through this, in spite of the cabin fever.
Today’s painting is another glass piece. Ed Terpening commented yesterday about how fun glass is to paint. He’s right! There is something about painting glass which really shows up . . . .one MUST develop the skill of truly looking and seeing shapes, values and colors. Then one must paint what is seen . . not what we think is there. And it ain’t easy. Never having done glass paintings before, I really admire those who do it well. My sense is that painting glass is a terrific training ground for learning to see other subjects well.
The challenge for today’s painting was the constant aroma of onions in my studio . . .which added to the “realism,” I suppose. 😉
Well, it showed up again today. That little voice which says, “Don’t paint thaaaat. You don’t have the skills for that. Impossible! Pick something else. You’ll never be able to make this work. Etc. Etc. Etc.”
I battle the voice day after day. Every day. It comes in shouting and is as unwelcome as an escaped felon into my house. But it comes anyway.
This is one of the reasons I believe art to be a great avenue to ‘finding one’s true self.’ By standing up and not listening to the ever present doubts . . .and gradually overcoming ‘the little voice’ . . . .one begins to develop a confidence . . . .an attitude of “Shuddup, already! I can do this!” We all have the voice. That is to say we ALL have one; The nay sayer who sits back and tries to sell the idea of accepting failure. The difference between people is how they respond to the dark sniping negative that chases us everywhere, no matter what we attempt.
Here’s my response to the voice: Shun it and do it anyway!
This morning’s painting said a thing or two to that voice. Nuff said!
Last weekend I had a chance to do a demo for a good sized art group about watercolor painting. My philosophy is simply this: Have fun doing this! That was the reason we all started doing this to begin with, right? So, I have fun in the demo . . .and get everyone laughing and teach techniques and design ideas at the same time. This piece took 90 minutes with a 15 minute break half way through.
The painting is (I think!) number 63 of a series I have been working on of the same still life set up. There will be more about that in future posts. In short, series work is designed to open creative doors that the artist would not otherwise access if just painting one painting. Working in series allows us to take chances to find out what will happen if . . . .
The mood of the piece came out fun . . .eh?