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Friday, June 19, 2009

Big Bend Revisited

This painting has been bothering me for some time now. I painted it last fall on Hwy 40 at Big Bend on the way to Berthoud Pass. Last weekend I decided to rework it. A number of things finally gelled for me. The foreground was out of proportion to the mountain, dimishing the size and solidness. In fact, the trees can still come down a bit more on the bottom to no ill effect. Also, the trees on the far side of the mountain were no different in value than the trees in the foreground, so I grayed them down. I carved away at the grove of trees near the top and also grayed them. I felt the color of the beetle kill was too intense. I concentrated on trying to get movement through the mountain side and to break up all the gold. I did not get to the immediate foreground at all so that is incomplete at this point. I will look at for awhile and see what comes. It is all a process.

I do enjoy taking these paintings to see what I can learn. I look at the photo reference very sparingly and concentrate on what I am trying to say. I had put the original photo of the painting in photoshop and grayscaled it, and took my photo reference and grayscaled it, too. Amazingly, my values weren't as off as I had thought, so I held to the color and value of the original painting as I reworked it, but tried to get more feeling of movement and depth.

Tomorrow I will be heading to California for a week. I am taking my paints, but computer access will be limited.

Alliums Revisited

The painting on this blog entry was done weeks ago. I took this in to be critiqued Saturday June 4. This are typical of the problem I cannot seem to break while painting “plein air.” I paint the light too light and the mediums and darks are not as separate as they need to be. I have started to rework the Alliums; starting with the darks; I will then darken the medium of the dirt to make the light of the Alliums stalks stand out more. They compete for attention right now. From there I will see what if anything further needs to be done. As of today, I have gotten no further on this painting. I lost interest-for now. There were Coral Bells in bloom (rosy red) in front of the allium which I chose not to put in. Now I am wondering if I should add them to break up the foreground and all the green. Amazingly enough, because of the weather so far this spring, the Coral Bells are still in bloom all these weeks later.

Friday, June 5, 2009

At Iris-4-U

Friday, May29 I painted at a business called Iris-4-U with Leslie Allen. She did a beautiful little painting of an Iris. She does paint here every year, almost every day while the season lasts. And it shows that she knows her subject well. I love this painting she is working on here.

A trio of apples

Another painting I took in for critique was a still life. I did this painting on Memorial Day; sometimes knowing the next day I must go back to work motivates me to paint like nothing else does. I had not felt like painting for two days; I had set up the apples the prior week and they were still sitting there. I thought them too monochromatic with the oak table. The violets seemed the perfect foil to all the light. I simplified the desk and teak stereo cabinet across the room to break up the space behind; Kevin said this was the best and strongest of the four flower paintings I brought in. Everyone who has seen it comments on the leaves being so true to “violets.” I was not able to get away from the glare even though the painting was dry to the touch when I shot the photos.

Bluebonnets revisited

Today I am doing a before and after for one of the paintings I did in Fredricksburg in April. I was never happy with this painting and I wasn’t sure why as the structure was good. I took it to have Kevin critique it last Saturday. He suggested I lighten up the bluebonnets, that the dark blue was too dark and should be no darker than the sky color. I knew that was not quite right as I remember there being depth to the flowers even though it was a “carpet” of color. By depth I mean the flowers had shadows underneath of them as Lupines have some height to them. It is interesting to note that having a painting held up in front of your peers makes things jump out that you intuited but couldn’t verbalize. I saw all the things I needed to do to make this painting look like I had originally envisioned it. First, I needed to solidify the dark, as the shadows in the background trees/bushes were quite deep; then I needed to remove the white I had used for the tops of the trees to lighten them. Instead, I used cadmium lemon yellow with my green color to give the sun its due. I defined the dried vines on the fence so they read like dried vines. And I refined the field, giving it more depth but still the feeling of a carpet of flowers. I am now happy with this painting and consider it well done.