Sunday, February 24, 2013

Detail, that's the problem

 I've posted here a detail photo from the critiqued painting in the last post.  I think it might clarify the problem I'm up against.  I think this shows that the pattern against the white background is a very very soft blue gray (cobalt, quin red, and aureolin), which, as I painted it, I touched with subtle bleeds of each color so the whole pattern has variations.  Quite lovely, if I do say so myself, but, being in love with this look as I am is limiting my willingness to go forward to accomplish a good painting.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Critiques - to listen? or not?

This week was the monthly gathering of the Sisters of the Brush.    We nibble and eat supper, drink some wine, share what's going on in our lives,  then break out what we have been working on recently.  At this point we can almost justify calling these gatherings "meetings" - "CEO meetings", to be exact.  CEO standing for Critiquing Each Other.

Being happily retired, I have a lot more time to paint than some of the Sisters, and I think I take more than my share of the time, especially through the winter when painting is my primary activity.  Sometimes I take unfinished work that I can't quite decide is on the right track.  Other times I take finished work, just using the evening for some show and tell.   Sometimes  - this week -  I share things that I consider done, and then find out that I'm wrong!  I expect that's happened to each of us in the group, and this week it was my turn.

This morning glory painting has a lot of paper showing through.  What with the pattern lightly laid over a lot of the white, I was enjoying the open (summery!) lightness of the whole thing.  But I believe it was unanimous - we had all of us there for this meeting, and six of six said it didn't look finished.   I'm struggling with that, because I don't yet know how to add "more paint" (something that Susan Kell would have told us) without losing the delicacy.  I may just need to hang it back up on the wall for a while and think on it.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Little Shop of Horrors?

I said I’d post again to show how the  shapes I was starting with  became a painting.  I love the subtle colors and  contrasts in this painting, they are so different from my usual color decisions and probably overly dramatic lighting and contrast (see Momentary Revelation, at left). I was also happy with the almost invisible pattern that I added to the background, using the light table which is my new favorite art tool.
This painting feels gentle to me. 
However, the more I look at the finished product, the more I see something else .  . . have I inadvertently invoked the Little Shop of Horrors? I finished up those (tiny) blossoms, and now they look a bit toothy to me.  And once that popped into my head, the other burro’s tail strand is a bit like the water monster in “The Abyss”, and seems to be coming forward.      Hmmmm. Gentle yet threatening.  Not a combination I can remember achieving before.
I’d be interested to hear what others are seeing in this painting. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Getting into the painting ZONE

I do love being a shape painter. This one of the ways I remember  Judy Morris describing herself  last year when I took her class at the Kanuga Watermedia Workshops in North Carolina.  It’s been nearly a full year since that class, with not that much painting going on until just recently.  But as I look at the past half dozen paintings (at least, the keepers), I can now see just how much I got from that workshop.   It has just taken a while for it to sink in.

In this painting of strands and flowers of burros tail,  I’m enjoying the heck out of painting shapes - hope you can tell.   I’ve done a lot of prep work, including a complete drawing, and some work pre-identifying my palette of only three or four colors.  Once that’s done, it’s so much fun to just go into the “zone” and fill in the shapes. And does time ever fly once I start.

This method is so much fun for me, in fact, that as I start each new painting, it encourages me to remind myself, “I’m a shape painter”.  So, again, I do more homework - planning - to start with, but then can just relax into the painting.
Stay tuned to see how this painting turned out, and find out what other Judy Morris techniques I’ve adopted  and incorporated in it!