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Sunday, May 28, 2017

LPAPA at Carlsbad with Rita Pacheco

The paint out for LPAPA was at Dog Beach in Carlsbad.  It started at 8:30 am so I had to really move and start early.  I got a little lost but was only 5 or 10 minutes late.
Rita gave a great demo.  She painted quickly, kept her focus on the information that she was sharing, and spent plenty of time with everyone who was there painting.
The lagoon was interesting.  The sand and the water in contrast to the grass and the hills in the distance.  The shapes of the sand, the path, the water, the hill on the left, and the hills in the distance really worked.  I had to shorten the width between the elements to get them into the 24x30 board.
To me there were attractive aspects to each of the choices.  The grass with a hint of sand and water seemed incomplete.  The sand dominating the picture with the water seem too simple.  The answer for me was to combine them.
I really liked the warm colors in her painting.
This painting started by indicating the large shapes within the context of the composition.  You can see the S shape of the composition.
There were about 15 painters who showed up to paint and speak to Rita.  There were painters who came from as far away as Anza Borrego.
Rita worked with everyone who showed up.  She was so positive in the feedback and information she shared.
This path that bends through the grass was the most interesting element in the painting to me.  The accurate shape and perspective of the path and beach were most important 
Here the dark shapes help define the light shapes.
Here I am defining the dark shapes through the lighter shapes.
Pulling the foreground to the bottom of the painting helps to finish defining the shape of the composition.
Now I wanted to bring the foreground into sharper contrast to the background.  I tried to get as dark as I could in the foreground to push the background back further.
Here the composition looks like a double S.  This is something I could have never planned to do.  Giving in to the moment allows freedom of expression.  Overthinking leads over wrought paintings.
Refinement within all of the areas of the painting to make them support each other yet be able to stand alone on their own strength.
Cleaning up the pallet at the end of the day.
I have been trying to use all of the paint that I lay down.  It has been a struggle.  It seems like I am throwing away a tube everytime I start.

Finished!  Now clean up and rush home to beat the traffic.
24x32 oil on board en plein air.
The value shot.
The detail shot.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Statice Quo

The day started as cool and foggy.  The Statice were blooming more than I can remember.  They commanded the stage this morning.
I have painted this scene so many times but I still did a quick sketch to get the composition right.  The size of the board makes it tricky to get all the elements into the painting.

I am continuing to experiment with different colors.  I have added about 10 colors to my pallet.  I am working to create a brighter more vibrant range of colors.
This painting started differently than a lot of my other paintings.  Instead of drawing or covering the board with washes, I ended taking a mosaic approach.  The strength of the colors in the Statice suggested this treatment.  This was an unintended process.  What I mean to say is that it was not a conscious decision.  
As with many of my paintings, being open to suggestion leads to a more unique perspective and handling of the composition.
Covering the surface with this approach is more time consuming.  One of the challenges when painting this way is to not lose the shapes within the mosaic.  
Another challenge is to maintain the integrity of the values as the painting progresses.  Blending the colors within the mosaic too early could result in mud soup.
Bringing the foreground forward through color and value became important to me at this point in the painting.  It was critical to get the relationships between the foreground and the rest of the painting correct before I moved onto anything else.
It had been sunny for a while, but there was still an atmospheric haze  that I wanted to convey within the painting.
Here I am pulling everything together.  All of the hard work has been done and the painting is about staying on track.
There is always that moment when I feel compelled to drive to the finish.  Everything speeds up to get to the finish line.
Here is when I look to tie up all the loose ends.  Clean up the rough spots, complete any unfinished thoughts, and finalize the highlights.
The last thing I do is touch up any spots, step back and evaluate, and to sign it.
What does it look like in direct light?

The day has completely changed during the course of the painting.
The finished painting Statice Quo.  24x30 plein air oil on board
The value shot
The detail shot.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Redefining Beauty

I heard an interview of a musician who was asked if he was trying to redefine beauty.  It made me think about the subjective view of beauty.

When I am painting, I am putting my feelings about the subject down.  Every painting is painted because I see beauty in the landscape I am painting.  My feelings and thoughts about the subject and my expression of their beauty are specific to me.  They are a lifetime of experiences distilled into the effort and the immediacy in the moment of my painting.  All of these experiences may push me in a direction but it is the feeling about beauty at the moment of creation that is my biggest influence.  Yet this influence as pervasive as it may be is so hard to define in words.  It is like an invisible hand guiding my work.  It is at a deep subconscious level.

My experience and ability are always moving and changing.  As I continue to grow in my ability to handle my medium,  my ability to express changes.  My ideas of beauty are always on the move and my skill to express them is changing as well.  This moves my evolution of beauty forward. 

Every day I paint seems connected to all the days that have come before.  Every day beauty is defined on my terms.  Inside my mind what I consider beautiful changes slowly.  This is demonstrated by tendencies within subject matter, color, and technique.  My ideas about beauty and my ability to express them are never in sync.  My ability to express them is limited.  That limitation compromises the communication of my ideas to a certain extent.  It is easy to pinpoint the limits of my ability.  I am not sure what my limitation to perceive beauty is.

Beauty is redefined every time I paint.  I am taking something that is beautiful to me and I am trying to express my unique impression of that beauty.  None of my paintings would be considered a literal interpretation.  They are a combination of impression, expression, and personal interpretation.  Everything involved in my creation of art is in a state of flux.  

When I am creating art, I am moving towards the fullest expression of what I think is beautiful.  Redefining beauty is not taking something that I find unattractive and trying to make it beautiful.  Redefining beauty is taking a subject that has enough attractive elements, using my perception of that beauty, and  pushing those elements forward through my medium.

By my definition creation of art is the redefinition of beauty.