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Monday, December 14, 2015

A new painting emerges

A bit of a story to this post. I have a painting I did a year or two ago where I played with abstraction. I had it hanging at the office for fall as it is a scene where the dawn light was casting its long fingers across a street in the river town of Migennes, France. I was out looking for a patisserie to bring back breakfast. I am an early riser, even on vacation. One of my co-workers asked me if he could make a comment on the painting and of course I replied yes. I am always thrilled when someone looks at my work long enough to want to comment. He told me that the foreground of the road bothered him because there wasn't enough interest at the entry point into the painting. GREAT observation. So I took the painting home that weekend and fixed the road. Unfortunately, that little fix was leading me into wanting to repaint the whole thing as I am not in the same place I was when I painted it. On this particular painting I wanted to leave it alone. I was and am happy with it 'as is.' Here is the original painting with the road repaired:

Migenne at Dawn, 18x24, oil on panel over old painting. Available
Not on my agenda that weekend was to start a new painting, same subject, but that is what I ended up doing. I was jazzed! I found another old painting, same size at 18x24, on which to paint. I found out through this process that it is a different result depending on if the original painting ever had varnish on it or not. The painting above had varnish. Even with removing the varnish, the paint is still tacky so the brush glides over it and sticks. Which is the effect I like in the above painting. The new rendition over another old painting did not ever have varnish on it so it was like painting on a fresh canvas.
I took photos along the way so you could see how it works. I had intended to make a slideshow out of the progression so it would not involve so much scrolling but the latest versions make it so much harder than the easy Picasa I used for all my slideshows in the past! Maybe I will figure it out but today, it is not happening and I have been messing with this for weeks and I am over it.
1. I don't have the original painting but in this first image it is mostly there. I have drawn in the basic structure of the new painting and blocked in the outline of the new sky.
2. Here I have added the road and some guiding lines of the gutters. The roof color is already as a wall and the chimney looks like a door.
3. Here I have added walls in two different values. One color for the walls in the light and another for the same color walls in shadow.

4. Finishing up more houses. I do like how the trees work with the composition of the new scene.
5. Roofs are coming into play and the side of the orange building with its basic structure and the sidewalk on the left is no longer tree colored. The chimney pots are taking shape as well. The growth is tied to big blocks of color.
6. More roof's and finishing up another house to the left.
7. this photo was taken after dark so it is studio lit. I did not want to stop yet so that is why the colors look a bit yellow. The houses at the end of the street are coming in. Oh how I struggled to want to cover up the trees but it had to happen. Windows are being shuttered as the town is still asleep. The car shape is added.
8. Day 2: more details. Windows, roofs and car. The sidewalk is finally put in on the right as is detail on the wall. I changed the color of the beige walls that are shadow. They were too warm in color. I am starting to shape the green bushes.

9. working on color shifts. I thought the roof was too green on the tall house. Added more detail that is particular to France.
 10. Minor changes here. Starting to work on the greenery on both sides of the street.
 11. This is where I stopped. I am not finished. I don't normally paint in such a methodical way. In this case it had to be or I would have been lost in the trees, no pun intended. Now that I have the structure in the next step will be to force some areas and tone down others. I don't yet get the feeling in this version that it is dawn. The road needs more visual interest and the bushes on the right need better definition of being bushes in the dawn light. They are a bit indistinguishable for my taste. In other words, not reading right. I will post the finished piece when I get there but this is where it ends for now. It is the way of the artist. I need a break from this piece as I work on others. That way I can let these ideas simmer until they are ready to be manifested.


Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing this transformation step-by-step. Each stage is beautiful for its own form, values, and story. This is so interesting and instructive. When you are done you can timelapse it and sell it to your local art class instructor. Or maybe it is time to begin your own classes - plein aire on the FL beach is a good place to start! (smile) LNB

victoriasart said...

LNB, the timelapse is what I was going to do for this post but every application I tried was so cumbersome I gave up for expediency's sake. I need to now take the time to find what I need so as to do as you suggest. I will talk to some of my young friends and family for ideas. The images are already sized the same so that will make it a snap, she says full of hope!