Thursday, October 30, 2014

Building Texture

I'm going to use two different types of texture in this painting, actual and simulated. I'll be adding simulated texture toward the end of the painting process. 
But today I'm creating actual texture.

 To build up the surface in the area where the sand dunes and grasses are I spread a thick coat of gel medium.  I then took a tile scraper and "combed" through the medium creating lines going in multiple directions.  To develop another variation in the surface I used a paper towel.  Gel medium is clear so when it dries the under painting will show through.

Because this painting is about early morning I've begun to soften the colors in the foreground.  I've done this by replacing the bolder greens, yellows and oranges with duller versions of them. These lower intensities were created by mixing each hue with some of the color opposite on the color wheel (the complement). I also added some white to brighten some areas where there will be only sand.

I  redrew the boardwalk  and will continue working on the dunes after the paint dries.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Angry Sky

 Looking at my painting today I noticed I'd created a very angry sky.  The clouds appeared to be ominous like they're on the verge of breaking into a thunderstorm.  Not the peaceful sunrise I was aiming for. Time to cool it down.

Purple is a cool color. But this color appeared too aggressive in my clouds, probably because of all the yellow in the sky.  The contrast of these color opposites (aka-complementary colors) was too great.
 1.  I began to add a wash of blue to the left side of the sky. Not only did this cool down the temperature of the colors but it reinforce my focal point - the sunrise on the right.

2.  I still wanted the feeling of billowy clouds so I fluffed in some white.

3.  I brightened the horizon line with a wash of orange and pink.  Then I added a little more color to the ocean.  Before I finished the painting session I "cleaned" my palette by adding some color to my dunes and boardwalk,  I never like to waste paint.

Tonight I meet with my painting group and am ready for critique.  I can't wait for their feedback on my work!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The ugly stage.

All artwork goes through an "ugly stage."  It's the long phase between development and completion. My paintings go through extensive ugly times.  Sometimes they grow out of it and other times they don't.  After I complete the under painting and block in the basic forms I begin to build space.  What I mean is I start to define where I want the viewer's eyes to go in my painting.  In a landscape I need to give the viewer a sense of perspective so I begin with the sky and move forward from there.

1.  The basic forms are sketched in - sky, water, dunes and boardwalk.

2.  I decided my composition was too symmetrical so I decided to change the size and shapes of the dunes and began to develop the sky.

 3.  The water needed some color.

4.  When I stepped back and looked at my painting I realized the boardwalk ended at the horizon line.

 5.  So I lowered the end. With acrylics it's easy - I just painted white over the area and added sky and water.

6.  Today I'm working on the sky.  I'm not using a single picture as my source, but I'm looking at lots for inspiration.  I'm not happy with the current state of the sky - too violent for a calm sunrise.

During my painting process even when I'm focusing on one area I add touches all over my canvas.This helps me  develop a sense of continuity in my compositions.  I want to see all of the colors on my palette throughout my work.  If I'm painting orange in the sky I might clean paint residue off my brush by blending it on the dunes. This also helps to develop more texture on the surface.

Tomorrow I will work on resolving the sky.  The ugly stage might go on for a while longer.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A blank canvas

I picked up a new canvas yesterday.
It's big - 30 x 40 inches.  It's white.  And it's scary.  I know I can manipulate paint. I know I can fill it with an interesting image. I've worked through the process thousands of times.  But it's always hard to get started.

I was reading a book today by Austin Kleon called "Show Your Work."  In it he explains simple steps artists can take to becoming more visible.  One step was to "take people behind the scenes," to help them understand the creative process.  "When a painter talks about her 'work,' she could be talking about two different things:  There's the artwork, the finished piece, framed and hung on a gallery wall, and there's the art work, all the day-to-day stuff that goes on behind the scenes in her studio:  looking for inspiration, getting an idea, applying oil to a canvas, etc.  There's 'painting,' the noun, and there's 'painting' the verb.  As in all kinds of work there is a distinction between the painter's process, and the products of her process."

I have always been and always will be a process based artist.  I paint intuitively.  I let the colors blend and form into images as I continue to add layers to the surface.  Sometimes I use photographs for inspiration, but most of the time I just let the painting tell me where it's going.  My hands are inspired by the memories I have. I get lost in the process and hours go by with lightening speed.  But sometimes I get stopped at a traffic light and get confused about which way to go.  So I'll take a break and revisit the canvas with fresh eyes.

I recently accepted a commission to create a painting about the first moment you get to the beach.  I love the ocean and have lots of experience with this subject matter. So I'm going to tame that blank canvas and bend it to my will.  I'll document the process and will enjoy your feedback.

I started by spraying down my canvas with water.

I then applied cadmium yellow and yellow ochre both of which were diluted with matte medium and a little water.

I sketched in a horizon line and boardwalk with pthalo blue.  I don't usually center my compositions but this one called for it.

I then sprayed the surface with water to loosen up the lines.

I'll let it dry for now and let the painting tell me what do do next.

"A lot of people are so used to just seeing the outcome of work.  They never see the side of the work you go through to produce the outcome."                                                      -Michael Jackson
                                                                                                                    (as quoted by Austin Kleon)