"Early Light in France," 14x19 pastel
Did you discover the tall, narrow tree in the background grows right up the middle of the picture plane? It is too late for me to change its location and I am not all that bothered by its position because of the how the roof line on the left comes into the painting. Your thoughts?
I wanted to point out that I had to "cool" down the yellow highlights on the trees behind the bridge, to make the warm highlights on the bridge pop out with more dominance. There is also some additional visual interest coming from the left on some vegetation next to the building.
What are your reactions to the painting? Does it feel like early light in France? This painting has been entered into a juried pastel art show, it will be interesting to learn what the juror thinks of the painting.
There is not much to write at this stage, because I continue to fine tune the image so that it begins to approximate what has been in my "mind's eye." I do, however, notice that my digital photography has altered the overall color of the shown image; this image is a tad too blue. As I post this image, I am able to see a significant design flaw! Can you "see it?" This is a perfect example of catching myself NOT testing out my designs before I over commit. After the initial blocking in of shapes, I should have turned my surface upside down and then I might have seen my "mistake." Which is ...?Comment on or Share this Article →
The focal area for this painting could be several places, but I want it to be the light hitting the protrusion in the middle of the bridge. During this stage of the painting, I am establishing where I want the warm and cool colors to be, as well as the lightness and darkness of each. The water could easily be the focus of the painting, but I want it to only serve as a backdrop. In the previous stage, it looked like a grassy path, now it is just beginning to look like flowing water. I have given the sky some variation and I decided that I wanted to viewer to feel as if they were right along the river's edge, hence the grasses to the left of the foreground post, versus feeling like they were "in" the water.
What do you think I will work on next?
Three to four layers of pastel have been applied
As you can see, I have started to break down the initial large shapes and have applied colors that are closer to what I want the final colors to be. Though it is always difficult to see in digital images, the various layers of color add interest and depth to my paintings. The layering of color is also a way of "mixing" colors; such as putting a piece of blue-colored glass over a piece of red-colored glass.Comment on or Share this Article →
First layer of pastel
Did the solid purple underpainting inspire you or did you try to imagine what you might do if you were the artist?
As you may already know, I love purple, so I find it a pleasant color on which to paint. Here you can see that I have started with the large shapes of the painting, which gives it structure. The warm and cool colors convey the areas in sun light and those that are in shadow.
Is the subject evident to you? What do you think it is?
14" x 19" pastel paper painted with acrylic
This is the first stage of my painting. Purple was chosen because I plan to use my purple-yellow color palette. I again experimented, and used a light layer of acrylic paint and it worked well; by this I mean that the professional grade pastel paper kept its sand-paper texture. Some pastel papers do not allow for moisture to be applied and when it is, the grit moves and you have a mess on your hands. You will notice that I was not overly concerned about getting an even coat of paint and the evident brush strokes are acceptable.Comment on or Share this Article →
Pastel boards painted with rubbing alcohol
Since I liked my experimen-tation in France, as discussed in the May 11th blog entry, I wanted to create the same colored underpainting that I did in the field study (see May 13th blog entry). In my studio I painted several different colored pastel surfaces. The smaller sizes will allow me to take them along when I paint on site. Most painters who work with pastel and oil, begin their paintings with the surface painted in a neutralized warm or cool mid-tone, such as a burnt brown or blue grey. I have never liked to begin with a dull color because I believe that it is much easier to dull a color versus to brighten the saturation of a color.
To create these boards, I scubbled on a solid color using a stick of paslel and then, with a brush, I "painted" the color with rubbing alcohol. Here, I have painted upon professional grade pastel paper that has been applied with rice glue to rag mat board.
Which color would you like to start with? My choice tends to be very intuitive.
"L'Escalier de Montcuq," 16x20 oil on canvas
[First I want to apologize for the delay in my blogging. While I was out of town this past week, I was not able to access the internet, odd but true.]
"What's Next?" has been officially re-named to "L'Escalier de Montcuq," or in English, "The Stairs of Montcuq." Lots of fine tuning has occurred since my last entry. Areas have been warmed with various hues of orange, others toned down with glazings of blue, contrasts have been emphasized, and the focal area at the top of the stairs received more detail and more saturated colors. Notice that I interjected some wild vegetation in the lower right hand corner to help bring your eye back toward the stairs.
Montcuq is a medieval village built on a hilltop in southwestern France. These stairs go up into the well known dungeon of Montcuq.
Would you climb those stairs? How would you like the view from there? Subliminally, I hope that painting does ask you a few questions about yourself.
"What's Next" stage 6
That big empty right hand corner now has more sky color and clouds. The clouds are designed to bring your eye back into the painting. The back wall has been darkened to help pop the stairs more and additional rendering has happened all over the painting. This is the beginning of the fine tuning. I turn the painting upside down to see how it reads, I look at it in a mirror and I might take it to a fellow artist to solicit a critique. At this point, it is often hard to see the "trees from the forest" because I have been looking at it so intently for so long. I also ask questions, such as: Am I accomplishing what I intended when I began painting this image? Is there intrigue? Is the focal area where I want it to be? Do I warm up the big rock more? Is there enough drama? Are the colors harmonic?
...and your answers would be?
And I think I am going to change the title of this painting.
"What's Next?" stage 5, 16"x20" oil
During this phase of a painting, the process becomes a little more methodical because I need to be a bit more purposeful with every application of paint. You will notice that I have begun to fill in the grasses in the foreground, as well as further developed the vegetation on the left side. My intent is to "imply" all of this vegetation, and I do this with varying the way in which I stroke a palette knife. It does take practice to develop the hand and wrist motion to create different textures. I have added a few more cloud shapes and varied the blue and made it darker on the upper portion of the sky.
After this stage, I let the painting sit for a day or so. This will allow it to dry to the touch. I want the surface to be dry to allow for me to begin glazing colors with a brush over parts of the painting. This will be more evident when you see the next phase.
Do you want to climb those stairs? Where do you think they go?