The last few weeks I have finally made it out to the summer studio,..my garage. Yes, my garage is the stew pot for creative thought. It's where I can work in oil. I've got my CD player outside, playing David Francey (God, he is a beautiful guitar player-no?) and listening to the CBC.
Did anybody hear the Pre-Juno songwriters circle last week on CBC? Wonderful players. Inspiring. I've never heard of "Lights", but she is AMAZING!! Love her music. Woaaaw.
One of the really satisfying works recently has taken place on old "dogs", and painting over them. I'm not wasting a new canvas, and as any artist will tell you, I feel I greatly improved the quality of art surfaced therein. So very satisfying.
This canvas is,,.....I'm guessing it's 30" X 36", oil. It's an image I've painted before. I love tree lined driveways, around here,..always leading to an old farmhouse. Sweet. It's really an excuse for colour play, I also like the brushwork on this one. Must apologize for the photo however. The painting is really so much more colourful than this. There's a lot of reds and purples in here -- just aren't showing up. I tried photographing it in different lights, and from different directions, etc., and none of them let the reds show up. If any of my photo expert-students have some advice for me not hat I'd appreciate it. Seeing the reds in this painting is key to the sensory enjoyment. It's also a million times better than the painting that is now covered up and underneath!
This il is 24 X 36, and many of you may have seen it on one of several Facebook art group pages. I got an amazing response to this painting, as I woke up at a crazy hour, to get out there, ready to paint as the sun came up. With this piece, I studied the painting I was covering, and used my instincts to keep the colour that I wanted for the next painting, and did underpants on top, some of the area. A lot of the underpainting is showing through. It was just one of those pieces that flowed easily. I called it my sunrise piece.
This is the first time I took rather large canvases out to plein air paint. I usually work small "in the field". It helped that I had a clear vision of what I wanted to happen in the painting, and that the compositions were simple.
I've got some exciting plans coming up this fall, and it involves painting the figure in oil. I haven't been this excited about anything in a long time! So I am reviewing past work and drawing the figure, warming up for the challenges ahead.
Next project: The challenge of Nocturne.
So,....I found this canvas in my garage. 24 " X 36", painted in dull shades of teal and purple. It must have been done ages ago, but I'm pretty sure this was a culmination of leftover paint that would be scraped into the garbage. So I tone a canvas instead. This is proof that you never know when something will be perfect for an unplanned future idea.
#1-The underpainting, and yes, I have lightly drawn out my design in vine charcoal.
#2- laying down the first layer of paint, and processing the value areas.
OOOH. I know. Garish. But, it was needed. It's part to the process. in preparation for this work, I did research several well known artists and their nocturnes. Most have little colour, and based a lot on black and white, meaning a lot of black and white mixed into the hues. One of my ideas here is to try and use as pure colour as possible, and through value contrast, to make the same effect of nocturne. So I am laying down intense colour. All my students know, I go electric, when it comes to colour. So I am liking it.
#3- Refining the colours, developing a soft and gradual sense of reflected light on the road. Paint quality and coverage is much improved.
Working in oil, one must be patient. Sometimes I want to work wet on wet, and other times, I must wait for things to dry. I apologize for the quality again of this photo. Maybe it's the light today, over exposed (?). The actual colour is very pure, not nearly as dulls this. I have to wait for this to dry to add my next layer.
In my research on what makes for a convincing nocturne, I noted that as long as the sky is not the lightest value, you can get away with quite a lot. My intention for this painting was born while walking in the dark,..in the heat and passing this stop sign, with a light above it. Nocturnes are often eerie, and mine is no exception to that rule. My lightest value is being built up gradually, being the reflected light from the street light located behind the stop sign. I plan on making it dramatic. The rest is a colour play, trying to create that night light feeling.
Was anyone out last night? My crappy camera did not do justice to the AMAZING low hanging golden orange moon that was bouncing along the horizon line, just around dusk. And right where this painting is "happening".
I'll finish this post when the painting is done. It may only take one more session. Not sure. I wanted to write about the recent summer happenings and finish today, cause tomorrow is September. My favourite month, a great time to enjoy being outside.
Also, I plan on writing quite a bit about Costa Rica, next month. My next trip is Tuscany, this coming October, but I am looking past that right now, especially in term of marketing, and planning on getting out of Dodge for at least part of the white cold layer of winter. Into the bliss of Costa Rica.
Stay tuned, and thanks for listening.