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Monday, June 22, 2015

Abstraction Within My Art

When I am painting I am thinking about creating a beautiful and interesting representation of the landscape before me.

 Each one of my paintings is a conglomeration of ideas, feelings, marks, and colors.  These elements rise and recede to varying degrees.  They are controlled by nothing more than my instinct in the split second moment before they appear.  I do not go into a painting with a preconceived notion.
 My paintings are a conscious effort to let my subconscious reaction come to the surface without too much moderation or interference.  By being able to trust my feelings I am able to surrender to the moment.
 I do not go into a painting thinking about the mechanics of what I am doing beyond the basics of the composition and the color scheme.  
I evaluate each part of the painting as it relates to the whole.  The adjustments I usually make in the painting are intended to build strength in the composition and to build harmony within the painting. 
The objects in the painting are made by my choices of color, mark making, and the values.  
I consider my style of painting as Impressionistic.   The color of light in the landscape is the thing that interests me.
The values of the colors bring the shapes together into some semblance of what I am seeing.
To me it seems that the simplification of the landscape, is an abstraction of reality.  The shorthand used to describe is specific to the artist.  It is part of their DNA as a painter.
Here the lines, dots, dashes, and marks combine to create an image.  When you take these subelements out of the context of the painting; what are they?  
It is the intent of the artist's effort that binds all of these abstract elements into something coherent.  
As an artist everyone falls somewhere different on the realism-abstraction continuum.  I do not feel like I am locked into a certain spot on the continuum.  Some paintings are more representational than others.  
When I am doing my best painting, my color choices and my mark making feels like a spontaneous reaction to the subject of my painting and what I have put down as my version.
My efforts at representational painting are made from abstract mark making.  The more layers I have in the painting, the more realistic it becomes.  My best paintings are those that are loose.  The degree of looseness like everything else is on a continuum.  The efforts when I am able to put down a layer of mark making and step away from that part of the painting are the best.
The relative values within the painting bring the composition together. 
Without our most basic understanding of what things look like there would be no reference to what is the nature of abstraction.  Abstraction is the deconstruction of reality. 
All of these are parts of the same painting.
When the parts of the painting are taken out of context; their abstract nature is apparent.
How many abstract paintings does it take to make a landscape painting?
 The paintings within the painting add up to create a level of representationalism in spite of their abstractive quality.  
This painting like all of the others is the sum of its parts.  I do not think in terms of abstraction. Abstraction for me is a rationalization - my version of the truth before me; broken down into bite size pieces and described with my mark making.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Rock Pile

 I got to the beach just as the clouds were burning off.  I searched for a location to paint.  I found a couple of places that would be great places to paint.
 I looked at painting Rock Pile from a couple of different angles.  I found several different spots that looked good for future paintings but they were not right for today.
I found a couple of painters in the gazebo.  This is another place I would like to paint from but not today.  I usually like to paint with others but it felt like there was instruction going on.  I did not want to interrupt whatever they had going on.
 I find myself drawn to this location time and time again.  I never thought I would paint one spot so many times.  I am not sure if these paintings look different from each other and it makes no difference to me.
 Because I paint with pastels, my pallet is limited to the colors I bring along.  I have to believe that if I were painting with a pallet of six colors plus white in oil, that I would be able to make many more colors than the 400 or so that I bring with me.

 Because I paint on boards with acrylic underpaintings, I am able to extend my pallet.  The underpainting changes the appearance of the colors as they are put down on the board.  I green on a orange board looks much different than it does on a blue board.  
 At the end of the painting there is little left of the underpainting peeking through.  The influence it made throughout the process of putting down the pastel can be felt everywhere in the painting.  Every color changes every color there after.

 The majority of this painting was about layering color over color to define and refine the shapes within the composition.  I built the painting from dark and complimentary colors to lighter local colors.  There were a couple of features that I felt were not defined well.  One of those shapes was the last rock in the middle of the painting between the palm trees.  I carved the shape of it by using the color of the water.

One of the things I am working on is the quality of the shapes in my paintings.  Because I do not rework any of my plein air pieces, it is essential that the images within my paintings are believable.  I am trying to paint complete paintings.  A full expression of my intent.
The value shot reflects the lighting when I first arrived at the beach.

The finished painting measures 24"X 32".  It is painted on sanded plywood with a underpainting of acrylic paint and pumice gel. The picture is painted with soft pastel.