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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Alley Series - #4

I originally did a plein air study of this painting last month. I decided to lower the horizon when going to the larger format (18"x24") and I did a quick block-in in my studio.  Then it sat stagnant. I didn't know what I wanted to do. SO, since this is "our" alley and it is so very convenient, I took the canvas outside with my French easel to see if I could become inspired outside before the hollyhocks were gone. This painting was done on-site standing in my neighbors driveway. I did go out three times (@11:30-1:00) and tried very hard to not chase the light as it moved. I don't consider it finished, but it is very close. I still need to add the telephone wires as I do have a shadow on one of the roofs that needs a wire to be casting one. Kevin always gets on me for too much detail so I have purposely not gotten into the amount of detail on the houses that I would normally do. When I did my first alley painting last fall (come to think of it I was standing in almost this exact spot, just turned 180 degrees and looking up the alley across the street) I had thought that the alleys would be boring in the summer because of all the green, but I am finding, though that is true to a degree, there is lots of interest if you change your perspective. I walked the alleys around the perimeter of Washington Park last weekend with a friend of mine and we made all kinds of discoveries.
I took this painting for critique along with the Pearl St Alley from the post two days ago. I think that might have been a mistake, but time will tell. Kevin liked this painting. He liked the freshness and the expressive brushwork. He did say I could push it further by redoing the alley concrete in layers, suggesting oranges and warmer colors as an under coating, and then going back over it with the lighter color. One of the others in the group suggested I take the ladder off the roof, which I was happy to do, as it always bothered me. So that has been done. Otherwise, it is good to go. He did comment on my restraint from too much detail...and said I handled it beautifully!
On the Pearl Street Alley, he suggested I put it away for a year and come back to it. That next to the painting above, it appeared to be a "drawing" vs a "painting." He softened that by saying if he saw it in a gallery down in Santa Fe, he would think it a darn good piece, but now knowing I can paint boldly and expressively, not just "draw" he wants to push me that direction. He also commented that everything was evenly balanced with the same level of completion, with no sense of what is the center of interest. ie the truck, the trailer and the ballons. He said in the painting above the center of interest was obvious (the Hollyhocks). And that is a valid comment, because although I don't think I gave everything the same attention, I can see why he would think so. Three people came up to me during break to tell me how much they liked the painting, despite what Kevin said, and one made the comment she doesn't usually like "tight" paintings, but that she loves my work. My friend, Jeannie, who helped me out of my ennui  commented that she thinks the changes I did to it totally changed the feel of it and she likes it.

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