Happy Memorial Day! If you read my last post under the radishes, you read about my disappointment at not being able to paint two gorgeous trees. I had to go elsewhere. Sometimes, misfortune is the best way to steer ourself away from a certain kind of trouble. I had a ‘scene’ in mind that afternoon. Now that I think of it, it was way more complex than I should have been painting . . .too many ideas and not enough emphasis of one thing.
This painting and I were out in the field for four hours . . .and I came away disappointed. I had an epiphany in the shower this morning about making some key changes in it so I ran to the studio to implement the changes. This is the outcome.
For you painters out there, these eucalyptus trees are absolute rascals to paint. I am beginning to understand the nuances I must build into these beauties to really set them off and it seems those nuances and subtleties must be laid in first. Next time, I ‘ll be wiser. Already, I can see progress from the first of this month. We may only gain inches, but we learn best by hard won experience.
Hope your weekend is wonderful!
Last night, I spent 90 minutes jumping through hoops, showing charts, wheels, paintings and scribbling on the white board about the four aspects of color: Hue, temperature, intensity and value.
It is always amazing to watch the looks on peoples’ faces as the truth unfolds that few painters are willing to face: It takes work and study to fully internalize these aspects and be able to mix colors well. The blank looks and twisted brows say much about wanting the ‘quick secret.’
There are countless hours under my belt doing these studies about intensity and how that differs from value. There is as much or more study about how temperature changes imply light and shadow and can reveal depth much more so than a simple value change. I received an email from a long time friend this morning which said, “To be a great artist you have to work harder than other artists. . . .and that isn’t so difficult! Most aren’t willing to put in the work.”
I have much more to master with color and much more work to do to really make it become second nature. As I painted this subject, two hours into it and nearly done, I happened to actually see some new colors in the shadows that I hadn’t noticed all morning. A small little dark shadow edge, right under the edge of the carrot, showed up as violet suddenly! Why didn’t I see this two hours ago, I asked? It must be that my observation powers click into gear after spending a LONG time looking. Or is it that after almost 30 paintings . . .and a dozen more practice workups . . . .I am beginning to see? It that possible?
And someone in class, last nite, said that shadows were gray! I wish they could have seen what I saw this morning!
No chance for plein air work today. Real Estate duties beckon . . . .actually they are screaming! . . . . . . and I have to teach class this evening.
This piece is that little vinegar jar again. It has a beautiful glaze on its surface with all manner of blues, greys and violets. The textures and reflective surface makes for an interesting lighting challenge each time I attempt it. As for the geranium . . . .this time, I wanted to simplify it down to its essence . . . one or two simple strokes of color for each petal, then leave it.
The end result made an interesting abstraction of contrasting sizes from multiple tiny shapes against the larger negative shapes. Just another in the endless string of ‘experiments.’
Aaaaah!! A nice dose of vitamin D was gathered yesterday. I got out into the beautiful day and painted en plein air! Whooopppeee! It has been three long weeks!
What is it about the successful painting experience that gives us artists such a high? After a day standing at the edge of our lovely town, looking at the waves and foam, breathing the fresh, misty air . . . and making a painting that sings when in a frame, I am so high I can hardly sit still!! And that is no exaggeration. I feel like singing at the top of my lungs!!
I can remember when I was first learning to paint and how I carried frustration most of the time (this is years ago) . . . . but when I got one that spoke to me at the finish, I was high for a full week. There must be a huge endorphin release when we have a successful experience. Maybe that is why we artists are on a continual chase for more paintings!
This little painting took but 90 minutes and really feels like the conditions of the day . . . .a slight mist hanging over the cliffs as the sun penetrated in and the glare from the water bleached all color from everything near it. Wooo Hooo!! I feel good!!
Schmutz? Whaaaat? You don’t know what schmutzing is? Well, doesn’t the sound of the word sort of suggest what I’m doing? Making little schlimey schpots! 😉
Well, after yesterday’s vow to go out and paint, the world caved in here. Never made it out. Maybe today. Nevertheless, I rose early to insure that today received its creative beginning.
I am feeling more comfortable with the paint and the techiques, but I still have a long (and exciting) journey of discovery ahead. Glassware is a major challenge of observation and subtlety of paint. Jeff Hayes arouses envy in the way he makes use of color and value in his glassware paintings. I have much to learn!
Also, thanks to Ed Terpening for the suggestion about photo images. The shine is driving me nutz! I’ll have to explore that, Ed.
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.