Friday, December 21, 2012
Just a quick little note to wish you all holiday greetings and to say thanks for following my blog. The comments and feedback that you all contribute are very appreciated and I thoroughly enjoy reading them all.
I'm looking forward to a busy, but hopefully exciting 2013, with some workshops to teach, conventions to attend and a solo show that I'll be talking more about soon!
Wishing you all a fantastic 2013!
Friday, December 14, 2012
|Work in progress (not yet titled), oil, 14x18|
Because of holiday commitments closing in, I may have to put this piece on hold for a bit. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to squeeze in some more time on it next week. I usually don't like to have such a long hiatus between the start of a painting and when I can continue on it. Often I lose sight of what initially inspired me to paint it. Hopefully, though, I've captured enough here to keep me going once I have time to continue.
I've come to think that one of the most important aspects of the the beginning stages of a painting is to keep things changeable and not overdefine too much. There are sometimes key elements that I do want to lock into a specific spot, but otherwise, I want to keep my edges sort of "mushy" so I can tweak them this way or that as the painting evolves. This also helps me to keep my edges soft in less important areas of the painting.
Below are a couple of other examples of paintings in early stages.
|Initial underpainting for "December Heat Wave"|
|Roughly the middle stage of "Rum River"|
This example above is a little further along, but I still held off as long as possible to define many details. And even when I decided the painting was finished, I left some areas undefined that I originally thought I would work on some more.
Now...to the gift wrapping and cookie baking!
Friday, December 7, 2012
|River Magic, pastel, 12x16|
Back in the studio I looked over some photos I took of the scene. I also tried something with the photos that I hadn't done in awhile. I went into Photoshop and increased the color saturation...not a lot, but just enough to have some additional color information to work with in the painting. Since it was somewhat of a backlit scene, the light was pretty flat in most areas except for the thin highlights on the trees and in a few spotty places on the water. I needed to find a way to create interest in the water and background trees without the use of very much value contrast. When I don't have value contrast to work with, I often make use of color contrast to create interest.
|Increasing the saturation in Photoshop basically exaggerates |
what little bit of color is already present.
|my plein air version (oil)|
The dramatic highlights on the trees were what originally caught my eye when painting this on location, so I still wanted to be sure to capture that in my next attempt. I think I did manage to get some of that down in the plein air version.
Since I decided that color was going to play a key role in my pastel version, I started with a more colorful underpainting rather than my usual monochromatic value structure.
A few demo shots of the beginning stages...
|initial layers using Nupastels|
|getting the background going|
I have many failed plein air paintings, but I consider each and every one very valuable time spent. Each one represents more time studying the landscape and learning its nuances. For this particular one, I wanted to try the studio version very soon after the plein air attempt so that much of the scene would still be fresh in my memory. It really was a very beautiful, magical spot along the Chattahoochee River on the day I painted there, and that's what I wanted to capture with the dramatic backlighting and subtle color contrasts. It's a nearby location for me, so hopefully I'll be back to paint there many more times!