For as long as I can remember in my painting life, painting rocks and water has been an endless fascination. Reflections, currents, textures, shapes, and the contrasts between granite and fluid draw me into a state of which I cannot describe.
I remember the day well. I had risen from breakfast to go outdoors to paint. The weather was perfect. But where should I go? There was so much from which to choose. Then it struck: rocks in the river!!!!!! I couldn’t get to the car fast enough!!! It wasn’t long before my shoes were wet and I was assembling my easel as fast as my hands could move.
In reviewing the paintings made in Yosemite, this week, with a friend, I commented that I got the same overwhelming calm and simultaneous excitement when I was fishing at the edge of a small river or creek. I have experienced that feeling since I was a little boy and can remember well being at a certain spot when I was six years old picnicking with my parents.
Then there are the towering rocks of Yosemite. When I am there, they fill my dreams. And I like very much the sheer fun of painting bizarre designs from sketches and memory. In those paintings I allow myself the freedom to Play. While at creek side, however, I am swept up in all the dazzling light, the movement of the water and the glory of the fresh air and wildness of it all. It seems to me that I could no more shift into the ‘play’ mode there than to fly.
But put me into the studio without distractions . . . . .anything can happen . . . .and that is for another post.
A few posts ago, I mentioned that I have been fooling around with opaques. Namely, I have been using gouache in addition to using the transparent pigments in the same painting. The opaques have been used separate from the transparents to provide a subtle contrast. For example, the tree in the foreground uses gouache in foliage. While this helps the foliage stand off the underlying colors and values, it also has the effect of making the tree advance in the space . . . .or seem as though it is standing freely in space.
In addition, the opaques are used in parts of the sky to lend the atmospheric effects and the effects of diffuse light. Obviously, there is much much more to learn with these pigments and the ideas are literally keeping me awake at night! That is the exciting part of being an artist! The newness never seems to wear off . . . . .there is excitement at every turn for me. Many of my blog readers know me and can vouch for my enthusiasm over painting. It seems just as boredom begins to lurk, some new idea comes up and springs me into action . . . .and then the energy kicks in and I am off and running to paint a bunch of new pieces.
The last several paintings on this blog have employed the use of opaques in a variety of places. Maybe you can see where. Or better yet, why not come by the studio this weekend to see, in person, the paintings. As you already know, it is open studio weekend join us!!!
After a long, long break, something in me snapped. I rose from the bed yesterday absolutely committed to go make colored puddles on paper . . . . .to sling paint and just get used to the feel of it . . . .go ruin some paper, Mike! . . . .just practice what you preach! Forget all the mind chatter and get out there to move some pigment around.
So, I did. It isn’t up to the normal quality that I expect of myself, but that was not the goal. What a great feeling to throw something down with no expectations . . .just try something.
I have much to do in order to gain back my ‘touch.’ But. after yesterday, I am sure I can ‘come back.’
It’s good to be ‘home.’
I suppose this is the only place one can come to toot their horn a little bit. Maybe a place to complain a bit now and then, too.
Failure is my companion every step of the way. It is part of the process. The trick is to work the painting until it is finished: Never give up. Think think think think!!!!
But that is not what this is about. I am giving a big painting demo Sunday, Jan 24 at the Hoover Community Center in San Jose. Start time is 1:30 PM. . . .ending at 4PM
Look up Hoover Theater or Hoover Middle School in San Jose. The center is part of that complex and faces Naglee Avenue.
I would like to give an address, but, darn it! I don’t have it. So, the next best thing is to get to the Hoover Theater at 1677 Park Avenue in San Jose, stick your head in the door and ask where the community center is. There will be people there to direct you.
Sure hope you can make it.
P.S. “Big” Demo means painting a big landscape on a “Big” piece of paper. 😉