Saturday, January 28, 2012
As I was posting, this story came to mind:
We used to have a beautiful Sheltie named Blue. He often needed a walk so we would make a circuit of the neighborhood.... but I'd get bored. As a result, I would pick up rocks to throw at telephone poles. Keeping loose track of my hits and misses something very interesting happened. At night, when I could barely see a thing, I would hit the poles about 80% of the time. In broad daylight, when the pole was in plain sight, I'd hit it 45-50% of the time.
How can this be? Did lack of visual detail allow more accuracy because it simplified the world, eliminating unnecessary information? Did the lack of light take away the pressure of having to make a hit?
Glacier Park, August. It had been a long day of painting but, spotting an easy turnout, I thought maybe there was at least one more painting in me. The only place to set up was on top of a large boulder in the center of the stream....but I had to keep one hand on the easel so it wouldn't slip off.
By the time I finished there was very little light and it was seat of the pants painting. The colors on the palette were almost invisible. I couldn't see a thing...and yet here are the results.
Whacko! Another telephone pole.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Anders Zorn, the John Singer Sargeant of Sweden, used a limited palette of colors often referred to as the 'Zorn Palette'. That palette was just black, white, a yellow and a red....but, in truth, he did use more colors, just not very many. Known not only for his oils but also for his etchings and watercolors, he is a Scandinavian legend. Zorn, Sargeant, Sorolla and Mancini were powerhouse painters from the turn of the last century.
When I find my portraits slipping in color relations I'll often go back to his palette to get re-anchored, and that's what I'm doing here. I love this guys lower lip and actually reduced how much it stuck out because it looked like a mistake when painted accurately.
Try his palette. When you do, notice how you can actually get lavenders and greens out of just those pigments.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
I got an ironic kind of chuckle out of this.
Scheduled to teach the beginning of a six week oil painting class we had a snow storm move in, canceling most everything.....including getting down our driveway. Emailing everyone as quickly as I could before the power could go out I tried to accommodate as many folks as I could with suggestions for a make up session.
Waiting for the emailed answers to come in I painted this out our kitchen window. Two colors. (For the painters it was Transparent Indian Red and Ultramarine Blue.)
Finishing I went in to check the email. Almost everyone had replied but as I sat there another whooshed in. Two students had decided to bag it, cancel my class and go to Tucson for a month.
Like the hummingbirds that left the feeder for warmer climes, so did these folks.....and they didn't take me with them. Ah well. I bet they'll miss the rain.....
Thursday, January 12, 2012
We were having this discussion about painting from photographs and how there seemed to be something lacking, no matter how hard we tried. Cathe, my good friend and author of a foundational book on landscape painting (HERE), said that it was all about the asking. I said that it was all about not having something speak to me. As it turned out, we were talking from different sides of the same coin.
When Cathe goes outdoors to do art she asks for a painting and says the world eventually answers with a gem of an idea. When I go out I wait for something to catch my eye and I respond to it. Call and response, but in one case the artist does the calling and in the other the world speaks first. Which are you?
The other day I wondered just how many paintings out of the thousands I have done were from photos....so I counted. There weren't many so it was easy to do. In this blog you are looking at number 11 and 12, Evening Lighthouse, 10x12, and Dry Land Desert, 11x13. The last blog entry, Deanna's Sunflowers, was number 13.
I find photo painting a stretch because not only is a lot of information not there but nothing vibrant and living is speaking to me. As a result I have to work hard to generate that missing stuff from imagination and memory as best I can.
Call and Response. What is your experience....and how do you deal with it? I'd love to know.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
'Sunflowers, I hope.'
'No, what is that stuff you are using?'
'No, opaque watercolor. It's spelled g-o-u-a-c-h-e.'
'Oh. Why don't you use pastel?'
Once again it was time for the Artwalk and, as the crowds swirled their wine and the band played, I painted....and answered lots of questions which I enjoy. While I seldom work from photos (more on that in the next post) this was a good time for it and, since it's so freeing, I painted in 'goosh'.
Classes are starting up again and I've taken on more than usual. Weekly instruction in Drawing for beginners and intermediates, the on-going Painting group, a workshop on working in Goosh, er, Gouache and another workshop in Portrait painting and drawing. Plus I'll be doing another workshop in Ballard during the weekend of March 9-11....more on that soon.
You can find out about the classes and workshops HERE at the Winslow Art Center terrific new website. It is a nice facility with easy access and a great covered outdoor area. Come join us.....we have a lot of fun! (and you can call it goosh if you want to)
Sunday, January 1, 2012
There wasn't much room for art but I did find some time today to get out sketching for an hour. The speed and simplicity of marker drawing still mesmerizes me as a blank sheet turns into shapes and forms. The location of the dock scene is right behind the second drawing of Santa, the Grinch and a Snowman as they deflate themselves into 2012. I think they will be back because they've been up there every December for the last ten years....
All the best.