Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
The canvas is on the easel and I have carved out enough time to lay in the composition and color of the painting. I first have to establish where the horizon line will be, that will dictate how everything else will relate in the painting...how many fields there will be and how big the sky will be in the painting are all determined by where the horizon is placed in the composition. At the same time I'm thinking about what time of day it is in the painting, this will help me decide what color I'm going to try in the painting.
Once the composition is worked out, I then start to lay in the color that I think will work in the painting, making slight adjustments as I work. I make the color choices in my paintings based on my memories when I am outside looking at the landscape. I don't work from photographs when I am in the studio. The colors I choose are based on my visual vocabulary that I have built up over the years of looking at and painting the landscape...so my color decisions are based in my personal experience, not second-hand information from another source.
This process may, on larger pieces, like this commission, take the better part of the day to get the first layer of color on the canvas. On even larger canvases it may take several days to lay in the color on the canvas. I try to work as quickly as I can so I can have something to work against when I work on the painting in the coming weeks.
When I have the color laid in, the whole process tends to slow down. I refine the relationships of the color in the painting making them work more effectively together. This process may take some time...when I first lay in the color on that first day, I usually think that the painting is almost done when I leave the studio that day, but when I come back to the painting the next day I see things that I did not see before, problems that need to be addressed and colors that do not work well as well together as I thought they did. The fine tuning of a painting can take weeks and even months. As I work on the painting the relationships in the color of the painting grow stronger, more cohesive, working together to make the piece a more effective painting. It is only when I feel that the painting is working in concert and nothing is detracting from the overall feeling of the piece that I can call the piece complete.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Friday, March 23, 2007
This is a painting that's just fresh off my easel. It is for a commission I did for a couple in Missouri. I am quite pleased with how it turned out. The painting process for this piece and how it was finished was fairly typical for me. So I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about how I make a painting from start to finish.
This painting was started, since it was a commission, by deciding with the collectors how large the piece was going to be and then I stretched the canvas. I would normally just stretch a variety of sizes, which are sometimes based on thumbnails than I've been doing recently. Most other artists I know do not stretch their own canvas, but I simply can not find any canvases that are prepped the way I want them, so I do it myself, the old fashioned way...two coats of hide glue and oil ground primer. It's simply the best canvas surface I have ever painted on.
So once the canvas was ready to go it sits in my studio until I have the nerve to start on it...
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
A painter in his most basic function put blobs of color on a flat surface in a certain order on that surface to make a painting. It is the COLOR that makes the painting, all other things are subservient to the color. Sure other things are important, but means little if the color sucks.
Artists often go on and on about loving the light when they are painting, but I have found that light has little to do with painting and has everything to do with photography and the fact that many artists think that photographs are how our eyes see the world. You see, without light photos could not exists. Light has to enter the lens to make the image. That's the only way a mechanical eye ( the camera) can reproduce what it sees. I'm still looking for that light color on my palette...hmm, I don't think it's there. That means that I am only left with color, so I am going to base my paintings on the paint on my palette and not some color and value structure that has nothing to do with painting.
Someone recently made a comment about Afterglow and asked how such a dark painting could have such a sense of wonderful light and color and if I could teach her husband how to paint like that. "Well" I answered, "I could but he would have to look at the world in a completely different way than he does now."
I don't see light, I only see Color.
My days are spent in my studio working with color.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Warm Evening, oil on panel, 8 x 10
What a day... I really hate spring forward. The kids get all screwed up and they never know when they are supposed to take naps or go to sleep. You wouldn't think that one hour would cause that much havoc...but it does. But what a beautiful day. Nothing could spoil this, even if the kids that are not sure when they are suppose to sleep.
This is a painting I did a couple of weeks ago...and I saw the sky tonight our first warm evening of the early spring after church. Some days, I see things so clearly and everything is a painting. I thank God for days like today.
When is Monday going to get here? I want to get back to my Studio and get to work.