Monday, March 18, 2013

Provence Time VI, 8x8

What is this urge we humans have to beautify our world?  From the ancient caves at Lascaux to the petroglyph decorated boulder at the north end of this island.....and to a doorway somewhere in the south of France, we seem to have a need to decorate.  Ourselves, our surroundings, our walls.  It's a nice urge.

Maybe that's a reason why we paint.  We're decorating. 

That....but I think more than that.  Color is certainly exciting.  I like using it to halt time to entice your eye so we both can see and share something for just an instant.  Our worlds connect.  When it works, our minds make a fleeting communication....and we know each other better.

But it's more than color alone.  Shapes and forms, values, mystery, belief, history, dignity, angst, edges and edginess all play a part in the depth of our communication....even in something as simple and direct as a pot of flowers on the steps of a very old home in Provence....placed there to decorate the world.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Beach Apple, 8x10

iFLOPS.  With this blog post I am suggesting we 'locals' start a new organization.  There's PAWA, the organization of Washington Plein Air Painters.  There's OPA, the Oil Painters of America....but no iFLOPS.......the Flat Light painters of Puget Sound.  I think I got an idea here.

These thoughts occurred to me late yesterday afternoon as I was standing in the rain painting this lovely little wild apple tree on the shore of Pleasant Beach.  Flat light has its challenges.  Flat light with drops rolling down into my eyes presents another.  BUT, after several years of driving past this little wonder I finally painted it.  It would have been so much better with a little sun.

I wonder how it got there.  Did an apple drift to shore....or did someone toss a core out the window as they drove by?  Did you know that you can't plant an apple seed and actually get the type of apple you planted?  They all revert to their wild state.....which was somewhere in Kazakstan.  All those Red Delicious, Braeburns, Cameos, and all the others came from grafted trees.

My goal is to educate.

By the way, the 'i' stands for 'idjut'.

(Update a few days later.  I've been informed that this is a plum....the apple is just down the beach....does this mean someone threw out their pit?     ....nah, flowering plum)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

In For Groceries, 10 x 12

'How do you know when a painting is finished?' asked someone in class the other day.  I smiled politely and muttered something unintelligible.  I can usually tell when the dishes are finished, the gas in the car is finished or the day has ended.  Paintings, at least in the case of this one, seem to go on forever and stop only when I am lying on the pavement or studio floor gasping for breath.   (That might be a bit of an overstatement.)

I still puzzle over how some simple subjects can be a struggle and seemingly complicated ones can roll off the brush.  This is not always so but often enough that I take notice of it. 

Attracted by the orange/blue thing of the boat, dock and water I was unaware of how delicate a balance they had with each other.  I still don't think I it is 'right' but got tired of picking myself up one more time to give it another go.

At this point in my life I know nothing more to do so I guess it's finished.  Time for another one. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Forest Spring, 20 x 36

Rob Weiss and I had planned a day of painting yesterday but he got called away to help a rather than re-figure my Monday I headed once again across the driveway.  Despite many interruptions here is the result, which I like but, of course, if I painted it again I would.....(absolutely never satisfied).

This is one of the larger plein air pieces I've attempted and I don't think it would have been successful without the study 'Caught' from a few posts back.  That was done two weeks ago and much in the forest has changed as well as the light being very different.  All those branches and twigs were fun to paint even though there always seemed to be one more that was forgotten.  So many decisions about what to include and what to leave out.   Just under four hours with a bit of studio tweaking.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Backwater Seclusion, 24x30

Cruising down Bainbridge Island's Eagle Harbor you would never see or guess that this little stream fed backwater was there.  You can't see it from the main channel.   I've drawn or painted it several times and finally did this studio piece just to explore the color I was seeing.

 That was a year ago and running across it the other day I realized that I hadn't posted it.  A year isn't very long but already there are parts I would paint differently if done today.  I suppose many areas of my life are experiencing subtle adjustments, changes and growth that I'm not really aware of in the moment.  How reassuring.

I rather like how the bluish water reflections dance to that far shore.