Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Indication of Spring" 6x6 pastel on sand paper.

Back in town for a few weeks between trips I have been working to wrap up pieces that were part way through and needed to be completed. This is one that I did out of my window one late winter morning and set aside for quite a while. The raking light and complexity of the distant houses made it interesting but since it is small I wanted to wait until the energy of the thing returned. It did and was an easy completion.

That's when I know the design was right, the purpose was right and the painting worth waiting for.

The underpainting was quite detailed and nearly a painting in itself. That can be a worry, too much commitment too soon and the risk of what happens in the rest of the painting process can cause all sorts of "avoidies". That is what I call the design elements, strokes or color I've become attached to.

What happens in the beginning of a painting is different from the end, so this too much too soon thing means there sometimes is not enough psychic latitude when I return to one of these to see it as a whole.

This one worked out and is a nice story of the oak leaf remnants, emerging grass among dead, dead winter sop. It's hopeful the way that sunlight can be after a long winter. It has a lot going on and is still relatively simple. Interesting too that the sand paper is a dark tone rather than the white I usually prefer. Dark and light, it's always about that.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Working title: "Dusk" 6x18 pastel on sand paper, Door County Wisc.
This piece shows quite a bit of underpainting and the delicacy that I most enjoy and with which I have wrestled over the summer to incorporate into larger pieces. It is a light touch that works well in the smaller pieces and was elusive as I changed subjects, format and size. 
Coolness but lightness in the shadows of this June painting were a direct contrast to the startling radiance of light striking the aspen. Deep dark pines in shadows with a few cedars also in shadow in the upper right. The scene is a long abandoned homestead, hence the irises in the sunlight area along with other garden flowers in a now weedy field. The large shrub left and background right of center were old, old lilacs long past their bloom and presenting an odd display of seed pods–a rangy color of rusty brown.