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Monday, December 10, 2018

The light refraction from the door on the wall.  A simple daily reminder of the beauty that surrounds us.  If we choose to look we will see.

Friday, December 7, 2018

15x18 graphite on museum  board.  Sunset at Crescent Bay.  In order to get the darks dark enough I had to expand my materials and techniques.  I first tried using a litho pencil.  Although it helped darken areas that needed it, it still had too grainy a finish.  I then rubbed down the drawing with rubbing alchohol.  This did darken and blend the drawing but it also made it impossible to erase or blend further.
This was the first time I tried this technique.

Technique is a function of the artist's need.  To further your vision you must be willing to take chances and risk the outcome in order to grow.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Fall Morning in the Canyon

A quick sketch to place the shapes.  Early corrections completed before moving to the next step in the painting lead to a better overall painting.
In this painting, I wanted to establish the atmospheric perspective at the beginning.  
Normally I would establish the darker colors first and then work semi-progressively towards the lighter colors.  
The main shapes are in place.  There is room within the shapes for the values to get darker or lighter.  You can see how glossy the surface is from the saffron oil.
Working to get the shapes and the values of the shapes adjusted.
Adding the smaller shapes within the composition and balancing them to the other shapes in the painting.
It is critical at this juncture to not disrupt to proceed too quickly.  The accuracy of the shapes and the placement of them must keep evolving in relation to each other to make the composition believable.
I now have 28 colors in my pallet.  I am not sure how I would characterize my pigment choices.  You could call it a split compliment or prismatic pallet.  My most recent additions are transparent orange and brown pink.  I know a lot of painters talk about keeping their pigment variety simple so that they can master their paint mixing.  I really enjoy the mystery of the possibilities.  The discoveries made are not slavishly committed to memory.  What is the benefit to dialing in your four color pallet if all of the colors you can make with it are dull and uninspiring?  I believe in complexity.  I like the idea of having a lot of different paths to finding a color.

As the painting progresses, I am using additional colors and values to redefine the shapes and add progressively smaller and less critical shapes.
Refocusing on the atmospheric perspective by making the shapes in the foreground darker and the background lighter.  Balancing all of the values between to insure a natural flow.
Creating larger contrasts in value in the foreground will make the background push itself back further.
Developing subtle changes within the shapes and adding smaller and smaller divisions within the painting.
Now some of the highlights come into play.  Trying to push myself to push the value dynamics.  How far can I push the contrast between the lightest lights and the darkest darks?
Bringing the middle ground into balance with shape differentiation, color variance, and value.
Final value adjustments.
Final details being added and refined.
Is it done?
The finished painting 24"X 36"
The value shot.
The detail shot.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

New Process and Materials

It has been over a year since I have used pastels to paint.  For this painting I tried out UA 400 grit paper for the first time.  My love of sanded paper led me to UA with the unavailability of Wallis paper.
I bought two different sizes of paper.  I used the smaller size because I was not sure how my first experience using rubbing alcohol would turn out.
Because it was my first attempt at using alcohol to build the under painting, I will reserve my judgement on the process.  I blocked in the rough value and colors of the composition and sprayed the rubbing alcohol out of a spray bottle.  I did not use hard pastels and I did not use a brush or cloth to blend the colors.
The effect of the alcohol did seem to mute the colors a little and it did fill some of the tooth of the paper.  It also seemed to soften the edges of the marks that I had made during the block in.

I worked to evolve the shapes, values, and colors to strike a balance.  Of particular interest to me were the shadows on the path and the subtle values within the woods.  
The absence of context increases the abstract nature of the sub-elements of the painting.
The variety of color, pressure, and mark making increase the implication of detail within the painting.
The overall idea about the painting enables the diversity of mark making within the painting to be pulled together within the composition.
Simplification is not an objective it is unavoidable.  It would take every moment of my life to recreate the detail in this one painting.  The simplification of the painting is the rationalization of the mind when confronted with complexity of nature.
These marks are a unconscious system of short hand abbreviations.  They enable me to react to the landscape without becoming bogged down.
I approach the development of the painting as a series of veneers.  Each veneer is laid down over the one beneath.  The objective of each veneer is to combine with the others to move closer and closer to my vision of the painting.   Each layer may address different needs within the painting.  For example a layer may be about correcting values.  Another may enhance shapes.
While there was a need to darken the shadows among the trees there was also a need to lighten trees in the background.
There is also need to clean up the shapes of the shadows on the path.  They are too jagged.
The pattern of values in the foreground is disruptive to what I am trying to convey.
The finished painting feels right.  It is not as accurate as I had hoped for, but it gets me close to the feeling when I walked upon this shadowed path.
Evolving details become more supportive to the overall intent of the painting.
As some details become simplified, others evolve into more complex ones.  Here the sunspots have become less detailed while the transition from the trees to the path have become more detailed.
The unusual handrail across the bridge are added in at the very end.  There is only one chance to get this right.  
Changes within the painting spawn changes throughout the painting.  One reaction leads to the next and to the next until the entire painting has moved to the point in it's development where you can just let it go.

The final result.  Shadowed Path soft pastel on sanded paper.  20.5"H X 27" W
The value shot lets me know if I got it right.  If the values are right that is more than half the battle.
The detail shot allows me to compare the paintings within the painting.