Saturday, June 12, 2010

Paintings in Progress vs. Progress in Painting

I believe the beginning of a painting is the most important creative phase whether an artist jumps directly into his/her known rhythm to "find" a subject, or carefully plans with thumbs. Personally, I feel so strongly about this that I set a time to start when there will be no interruptions...sometimes even in the middle of the night. I've come to know that if the painting doesn't connect for me at this point then it never will and there is no point in continuing.

"Sound of Water" (a work in progress)
30x40", oil on canvas

The "Sound of Water" is a work in progress that is currently on the easel. My studio work has evolved over time into applications of light filled opaque passages over the all important initial transparent layers to evoke contrasts in texture, color and depth. Notice the transparency of blocked-in passages. These strong transparent passages are super important to the opaque layers to come. This method of painting takes longer and is in direct opposition to how I paint en plein air.

"Kate and John Exploring", shown here in progress...see finished painting on website.

When painting outside on location, I usually work alla prima which means "all at once". This is due to light changes caused by the traverse of the sun throughout the day. "Kate and John Exploring" is an example of this approach. Somewhat unusual for me, this particular painting was created alla prima, in the studio, simply because I felt it was the best approach for the fresh and crisp feeling I wanted to achieve for the children. Never-the-less, it is a good block-in example of all prima. Each brush stroke of color is placed with the knowledge that it will stand on its own and will not be covered with subsequent layers of paint as in the studio approach. See the difference?

As an artist, my work and procedure of painting continually evolves. These two approaches have, over time, become more separated in my working methods to the point that today I clearly utilize each to the advantage where they work best for me. By in large, I've come to separate what I do outdoors from what I do indoors in the studio and am finding more consistency in my work because of it. Sorting this out has taken time but it has certainly been a wonderful and satisfying experience.

1 comment:

Beth Niquette said...

Oooh, these are beautiful!

I sometimes move in a hostile environment to art. It is considered a "hobby," whereas in truth I need to draw like I need air.

When I was in the hospital a couple of years ago, I found if I was drawing or sketching I didn't need the pain meds.

There is a magical place I go to when I'm drawing--it is hard to explain.

I have to make time for art...some of my need for expression has spilled into photography.

I like what you wrote about finding a specific place or time to be set aside for artistic expression.