Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Ugly Stage

December Glitter, oil, 16x20

You may have heard the comment that paintings sometimes go through an unpleasant but often necessary ugly stage. To be honest, sometimes I get frustrated when I get to this phase of the painting process. I've made the mistake of abandoning paintings at this stage when I should have known better and kept with it. This ugly stage is usually when an area has the large simplified shapes painted in, before smaller or contrasting details can be added. At this point, certain important relationships and contrasts haven't been defined, so much of the landscape doesn't make visual sense yet.

The two progression shots below are from early in the painting process, shortly after the block in (sorry for the glare in the upper left of these shots...it unfortunately adds to the ugly factor). I kept it to just the big shapes here, with just a few indications of where I'll have some finer lines/details.

In the large snow covered ground area, I gradually made small shifts in the value and temperature of the bluish snow, but since I hadn't yet added any warm highlights (which I couldn't wait to add!), the snow covered ground didn't yet have any dimension to it. At this point, I wasn't sure if I liked the painting ... it didn't have any life to it. 


After tweaking the blues of the snow some more to make sure I had the correct value, temperature and chroma (saturation), I began adding the warm highlights ... just a little at a time so I wouldn't overdo it. I knew it would be the sparse, subtle appearance of these highlights within the large area of snow in shadow that would make them more dramatic.

I kept the trees fairly undefined so that I could use the additional details of the snow on the limbs to define the form of the trees, without distracting from the drama of the highlights on the snow.. The snow on the trees also created the warm/cool temperature contrast that finally gave the painting the additional life it needed, while the definition of just a few areas of the finer lines of the foreground grasses gave the painting additional depth from foreground to background.

December Glitter, oil, 16x20

Upcoming Workshops:

Cincinnati, OH - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop -- FULL/WAIT LIST
Jan. 22, 23 & 24, 2016 (Fri/Sat/Sun)
Cincinnati Art Club
1021 Parkside Place (beautiful, historic Eden Park area near downtown Cincinnati)
Cincinnati, OH 45202
$400/member; $425/nonmember

Bridgewater, NJ - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Feb. 26, 27 & 28, 2016 (Fri/Sat/Sun)
York Art Studio
350 Grove St. #4, Bridgewater, NJ 08807
Payment will be made to Barbara Jaenicke. Contact Barbara directly at barbarajaenicke@msn.com to register.

Mt. Vernon, WA - 3-day PASTEL workshop
March 10, 11 & 12, 2016 (Fri/Sat/Sun) - these dates have shifted slightly from what was previously promoted!
Dakota Art Center
17873 State Route 536
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
888-345-0067 ext. 5

Lewisburg, West VA - 3-day PASTEL workshop
April 25, 26 & 27, 2016 (Mon/Tues/Wed)
Carnegie Hall West Virginia
Kellar Art Studio
105 Church St.
Lewisburg, WV, 24901
$295/member; $400/non-member
Contact Jeanne Brenneman, 304-645-3050

For full workshop schedule, visit www.barbarajaenicke.com.

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