Friday, March 30, 2012

6th Canvas

Remember this canvas? 
It has turned into this:

(Please pardon the glare.)

11x14, oil

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Progress on the 7

I'm still intrigued by hollow trees. This one was incredibly fun to paint, but the product turned out looking a bit too flat. Any thoughts?

I just sanded this one down. More to come.

Creating the analogous gradient as a ground was a joy. Working toward another tree portrait. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Challenge: Simplify

I've been reading Terry Miura's blog, loving his tips, demos & progress posts. He extended a challenge to his readers to paint a particular cityscape, simplifying the scene. Here are the details.

I did some photo documentation of the process.

My guide lines to simplify the scene:
1. More negative space. (lower horizon, expand space between cars)
2. Move the eye through the painting quickly. (clear path for the eye to follow the path of the road, narrow cropping)
3. Emphasis on on subject. (subject=where road leads, so up the contrast between the road/rest of the painting)
4. Keep one dominant color (easy, just like the photo)

thought i was done. 

then decided to tone that car down.

oil, 9x12"

Friday, March 2, 2012

7 canvases

There is so much I'm still figuring out. Through art school I relied on my draftsmanship, my ability to draw what I see, every detail of it. It's still what carries my art. However, a well-rendered drawing does not equal a successful drawing.

I have an itch to play around with my method. Break out of it, let it evolve. Find thrill in the creative process again. I've set aside 7 canvases for experimentation and practice. Two down. One major flop.  It was exciting -- I probably learned more from that flop than I did from the successful painting.

Here are a few of the things I'm focusing on with this project:

1. Paint only the details that are essential. NOT painting extraneous details.
2. CONSTANTLY assessing the focal point & how every part of the painting relates to it.
3. Invent things. Change the shape/size/texture/color/adding/removing things. (This is what got me into trouble with one of the paintings. Learned: Don't sacrifice proper perspective in effort to create a more interesting composition.)
4. Soft edges. Need more of them. This goes back to #1.
5. Painting from across the room. This hasn't happened much so far because of how much I'm running. Legs are tired & I end up sitting down.
6. Be more conscience of the flow of the eye through the painting. Use brush strokes, values & lines to keep this up through the painting process.
7. Choose a mood or feeling or some mood or quality I want to communicate (or let it choose itself) in the painting and be more conscience of aiming the painting toward that goal. This might change as the painting unfolds, but always have a conscience goal.
"There are times when I have started a work with an end in mind, but then, for one reason or another, as my picture unfolded, it emphatically suggested another direction... I always accept the risk and go for it. I'm convinced that at such times my painting is wiser than I am." Richard Schmid.
8. Don't wait to stop when the canvas is covered in paint, don't stop as soon as the canvas is covered with paint. Stop when the point of the painting is communicated.
"How often have we all come to that crucial point in a painting where it is practically 'begging' us to stop before we ruin it? We have all had that experience and we risk failure, or at the least mediocrity, if we ignore the voice in our art." Richard Schmid.
"The strength and clarity of the picture you envision at the start will tell you when you are done. You are finished when you have said what you wish to say, when nothing added can make it better." Richard Schmid.
9. Create a painting, poetry with lines and shapes and colors. Don't copy a scene. (I'm so guilty of this over and over and over.)
10. Take B&W photos during painting process to assess the value & shapes.
11. Simplify.
12. Paint faster.
 "Paint like a pig eats." Richard Schmid.

I'm enjoying painting with no pressure to produce something final. I've wiped out 3 underpaintings so far. Like I'm back in painting 101. A bit of fresh passion perhaps? I've been painting in my dreams again too. Feels good.

P.S. How great are those Richard Schmid quotes?

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