"What's Next?" painting stage 4
This is what I often refer to as the "teenage phase." Parts of the painting are still very awkward, yet other parts seem to be working. Artists will often refer to this and the next several layers of applying paint as a push-pull process. I tap into my left-brain (analytical) to check on the composition and value relationships, while relying on my right-brain (intuitive) to mix and add colors, and to maintain the mood I want to convey. Notice also, that I have painted just an impression of the background hills & fields. I have only used a palette knife up through this phase of the painting.
How are you liking the development of the painting?
"What's Next" - painting stage 3
I keep forgeting to mention that I am using a palette knife and will continue to do so for another layer or two of painting. You can see that I have added texture for the stone wall and the stone steps, as well as on the rocks. It is during this stage, that I begin breaking down my large shapes into smaller ones, and I begin to give depth to the painting and model those parts that I want to read 3-D.
So were you correct in guessing the subject matter? FYI: these are centuries old steps going up into a dungeon high on a hill in Montcuq, France.
Jeff sitting on our cabin deck, just days before his death
On Sunday, my husband and I hosted our beloved friend's, Jeff, memorial at our cabin. He loved the cabin in the mountains and helped us maintain it. 30+ honored him and his life on a beautiful 44 year old, 6'5" man had a huge and generous heart. His tragic death (resulting from a deer hitting him on the highway while on his motorcycle) is difficult to process. He will be deeply missed.Comment on or Share this Article →
"What's Next?" - stage 2, oil on canvas
During this stage of the painting, I begin to refine my values yet maintain my large shapes. (For some reason I often "cheat" with my sky!) The colors are beginning to move toward the mood I am creating with the painting. I am always thinking about how these first layers ultimately support the idea I have in my mind's eye. Notice how the painting is becoming "warm" in color temperature. These early stages are also about creating the foundation or structure of the painting, therefore, I do check to see if I like the composition of the abstraction. This is a good time to turn the canvas side ways and upside down.
Should I keep it more of an abstraction or move onto the original subject?
Pigments used in my green-red palette
Collectors and viewers often mention that they like the use of color in my paintings. My goal is to create a sense of harmony throughout each piece of work. One way I do that is by using "harmonic" pigments. For every painting, I choose one of three color palettes based on color opposites - the blue/orange palette, the yellow/purple palette or the green/red palette. Typically, most artists have just one palette of pigments with which they paint.
For my current painting, I chose the green/red palette. I do not know if you can see the colors very well, but the palette consists of pigments that are dominantly from the green and red hue families. (The combination of pigments is different for each of my color palettes.) Notice also, that there is a large pile of neutral color toward the bottom right hand corner of my butcher palette. Before I begin any painting, I mix up this color using every pigment that is on my palette, and then I mix a little or a lot, depending on my objective, into EVERY mixture I create through out the painting proces. This is an additional way to create harmony in a painting.
Under painting for "What's Next?"
Whenever I have been in a mental funk or feeling sluggish, painting has always been my solace; it gets my juices running. As I process the tragic death of a generous friend, I pushed myself into the studio today to begin a new painting. Interestingly, the title, so far, is appropriately "What's Next?"
The inspiration for this painting comes from one of our castle explorations during our recent trip to France. This is an underpainting using colors straight out of the tube, with the exception of mixing with white where needed. (I believe that it is easier to dull a color than to brighten one.) I always attempt to keep the first layer of a landscape to 7 or fewer shapes. The shapes, or puzzle pieces, are based on those areas of the painting that are in the sunlight (i.e., yellow, pink, lighter pink & orange) versus those that are in the shade (blue, aqua & magenta). I also keep my darks connected. Acrylic paints are used for this stage of the painting.
My painting surface was previously gessoed using a large palette knife; this adds an overall subtle texture to the painting.
And the subject of this painting is? Stay tuned!
Just a quick note to let you know that I have not been able to write because we lost a very good and wonderful friend this past weekend. A deer hit him while he was motorcycling down a major highway. Such a tragedyy drains energy and time, and of course, reminds me to be grateful every day. He was a great cheerleader and will be sorely missed.Comment on or Share this Article →
Artist Jean Rougerie in his studio
We had followed signs (located in a very small country French village) to Jean's studio a week earlier, but he was not there, though we spoke with his wife and identified two paintings we were interested in purchasing. Despite my limited French and she not knowing any English, I was able to communicate to her that we would be back. Sure enough, a week later we returned and Jean was there to greet us. We chose to purchase one of his highly textured paintings (poorly photographed here) and I thoroughly enjoyed trying to understand his painting process. It was a heartfelt exchange and I wanted to spend 2 hours with him (with an interpreter!). Hopefully, some day I will be able to meet up with him again. Jean was very generous and we had a great time together.Comment on or Share this Article →
Field study: Vert River/Castelfranc bridge
Here is the result of my plein air painting (6x8 pastel, field study) along the Vert River with a view of the old bridge. How do you like the impact of the purple underpainting? The jury is still out for me, but I am encouraged and will continue to experiment with the idea. Now I will have to see how I will like it if I apply the purple underpainting in a studio painting. Stay tuned.Comment on or Share this Article →
A Glorious Day Painting in France
On our last full day in France, I had to paint outside one more time. The weather was ideal. Tired of driving, I knew the village of Castelfranc was full of possibilities. Just a few blocks from where we were staying, I walked down to the Vert River. Here you can see the image I was attempting to capture, and yes, I am but a few feet from the river.
For some reason, I decided to experiment during this excursion, and I painted the entire surface of my pastel paper a blue violet. After applying the pastel, I then brushed it with rubbing alcohol for a permanent and solid color. What do you think of my idea?
Why purple? Besides being my favorite color, purple is a wonderful mixing color and it can easily shift between a cool or a warm color depending on the color next to it. Final version will be forth coming.
We have clocked over 1,000 kilometers, via car, over the past week and it still feels like we have only just begun to see this region of France. Fortunately, the weather has been superb and the spring colors have been glowing. The digital camera allows me to take photographs at every corner, yet they are limiting in telling the true story. I hope to get in more painting time before we depart, but rain could curtail that.
I was deeply humbled by the real cave drawings. It was an experience of reverence as I stared in awe of those early artists. The Montfort Castle demonstrated the marvels of the 11th-century architects & builders. All of this history inspires many moments to pause and attempt to process who and what went before us.
This will be my last entry from France as we depart early Thursday. Thank you for joining the ride and I will post more about the trip next week.
Painting a field study of Montclera Castle
Acclimating to a foreign landscape is similar to meeting a person for the first time – Who are they? What do they do? Where do they come from? What are their aspirations?, etc. It takes time to learn a new landscape in addition to processing all of the new sights, sounds, smells and signs! Never one who is satisfied with the surface of things or people, I like to know and experience more. Hence, our first few days were spent exploring the countryside of southwestern France (and getting adjusted to the time zone change).
I had the initial expectation of painting a “unique” landscape, but learned that the cliché sights of France were so new to me that I had to begin painting them. My logic being that afterwards, I would perhaps have time for a more in depth subject. Two weeks will not allow for this, so I have had to lower my expectations and enjoy the sights, of which there are so many to choose from, in front of me. The photo shows me painting a field study of the 15th-century Montclera castle. How many castles are there to paint in the U.S? It was a beautiful spring day and I relished every moment.
P.S. The only coffee I have found in France, is some form of expresso, and you receive only one cup, no refills.Comment on or Share this Article →