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Monday, January 24, 2011

Buildings near Old Winston-Salem

16x20 Abstract Buildings
I came upon this view when exiting the ticket and information building for Old Winston-Salem while in North Carolina this past fall. I don't think this scene has anything to do with the historic town, but it was the first thing I saw. I thought it would make a great abstract painting without even trying. Just paint it as it is, and it would look the part. I took this into work last week before it was completed, and a friend of mine said it looked like the Midwest where she had grown up. That you don't see things like this in Colorado (too true, as it was foreign to me!). This was good background for me, though, and I appreciate that knowledge.

I wanted to make the large graphic shapes interesting and yet read as one shape. For instance, the "pink" building could have been painted a flat solid pink shape, but I put purple and ochre and orange in it but kept the overall "pinkness." Same with the other shapes (or sheds). The brown shed has ocher and blue, purple and rust color. There is ochre in the turquoise building which is really viridian green mixed with white, and purple and white.

Posting paintings and writing about them also helps me to "see" them in a new light. I do think, at least in this photo, that the purple is too strong in the pink building. I think I can warm that area up a bit without losing  what I wanted.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Playing with Abstraction

Abstracted Pots and Pitchers, 16x20
As I have mentioned before, I sometimes grab an old painting to play with and to use as a warm up exercise. The original painting had the 4 vessels and 3 oranges and was rather boring. It was done in 2002. I just took it and had fun. I keep thinking I am done with it and then will pick it up and do something new. It just keeps growing. I think it may continue to be broken apart and reassembled but only time will tell.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Alameda Alley or The Old Sheds

The Old Sheds, 20x30
I found these old sheds while walking the alleys off of Alameda and Downing Street in Denver. It is a bit different view for this series, as I sat on the ground to get everything in the photo I wanted. I liked the feeling of the shade giving a feeling of respite from the sun. This painting was a challenge for me and I was "stuck" for quite awhile before I was able to really get through it. (see this post of this painting in progress) I have a few thoughts as to whether this is "finished" or not, but it is a painting you now can walk into.

My new mantra for the new year is going to be a quote I came across today: "Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple – that's creativity."
~Charles Mingus

I get stuck because I try to make the simple complicated. This may be the subject for a blog post all on its own.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Work in Progress where progress was made

French Waiters, 24x24
From 10-23 post, works in progress
So this painting has been stuck in my craw for over a year, when I first started it. During my 10 days off over Christmas I finally "saw" what I needed to do and I literally reworked the whole painting in short order. I love it when that happens! I softened edges, unified objects and made the painting local tone instead of light and shadow. Local tone is where you have three major value groups, light, medium and dark, with a diffused sense of light. So, for example on the waiters aprons, I wanted the apron to read as one shape not with the wrinkles or folds showing so much light/shadow. Same with their shirts. I brought the light down and the  shadows up to be closer in value where you see the shirt as one shape versus what is the light and what isn't without losing the form. The plates I blended more together instead of trying to make them each read separately. I tied in the waiters dishrag into the stainless steel and darkened the reflection (floor tiles) on the stainless steel by the waiter on the right so he isn't quite so carved out but more unified. The pots and pans were all downplayed and again unified into the whole, correcting some of the drawing on them as well. I also warmed the tones of the waiter on the left and will do that with the waiter on the right now that I see it needs that from this photo. I did warm up the arm of his that is reaching as it was too blue and looked "dead."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Alley Activity on Winter Break

Work in Progress, 24 x 36
Detail from Work In Progress
"Work in Progress" (or should it be "Alley Activity?") was done over Christmas break. It is amazing what I can done with almost 10 days off in a row! I have painted this alley, which is across the street from our alley multiple times in the past year or so. It has been just about a year since I painted this particular scene plein air, so it took me awhile to get to it. I remember that I had seen this scene while taking out the trash, ran back and got my gear and set up to paint. It was around 11 a.m. and I knew that come lunch time they would be gone. Which is exactly what happened. But I got the information I wanted.
I like that this is a complimentary color scheme (blue and orange) so despite it being a winter snow scene it is not too cold.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Kitchen Tableau

Kitchen Tableau 2010
Inferior photo from 2005
In an effort to "save" some paintings that I believe have merit but were painted ages ago, I periodically go through my stash of work in the basement. "Kitchen Tableau" is one that I finally took back to the easel after Christmas. The original was painted in 2005 and was inspired by the fact that I was alone at the kitchen table looking at this great bunch of happy flowers. The pear was going to be my dessert.
I repainted the whole thing, leaving the structure as is with very minor modifications. I softened the yellows in the daffodils (using cad yellow light instead of so much cad yellow medium) and got rid of the outlining which is a habit I had. I also worked on blending the color of the flowers into each other to create a bunch of flowers instead of individual flowers. I then put more color (cad yellow light with cerulean blue and white into the wall as I always felt there was a fight between the background beige and the yellow flowers. The two are much more harmonious now. I also warmed the sage green part of the wall. The table top now reads as a unit and the shadows aren't so domineering. The light was coming in from more than one source, which is always tricky (there is a window that is just to to the right of the chair plus the overhead light was on). The wine bottle I added orange to viridian green as the base color and tried to integrate the bottle and the glass to make them read more as a unit. For example, I used the wine color from the glass and added the bottle base color to it to paint the wine left in the bottle. There was a lot of dark colored lines on the sugar "jar" and so I softened all of that. The vase took the least amount of time to "fix." I continued the warming theme with the dark blue of the vase and defined the shapes of the reflections.
As an aside, today I was asked if I still had the painting of the "wine bottle." I am bringing it to work tomorrow to see if the new rendition will pass muster.