Monday, October 12, 2009

Wisconsin painting.
Mid October presents another painting week in Door County with my painting buddies, yahoo! It will be beautiful though I haven't painted there so late in the year. This also presents a chance to work with the GPS markers I've planted over the last six months as painting sites.

I'm particularly interested in the sites I marked after the competition in July, when one of my new friends there walked me around and pointed out likely places. Many of the other sites are terrific and well tested.

The group will be dynamic and interesting as the range of talent is broad. Paint, paint, paint, crit, art talk and the next chorus is the same.

"Green Begins in March" is a working title for this late winter painting done last year. 6x6 inches, pastel and gouache on sandpaper.

As usual, it is en plein air pastel on sandpaper and the location was a farm copse with a pond during the winter and spring. What was interesting was the bits of green, of course, which after a winter can seem dramatically strong. Also, the tremendous blue band of shadow which because the overall terrain was pale, dead grass, took up the reflection of sky deeply. A hazard here became apparent as I watchrd the foreground tree shadow sweep quickly to the right and change the composition to uninteresting ... another reason to be decisive at the beginning and design immediately.

During this season of painting, I was also chasing the blanched quality of light which also indicates winter and some other conditions. The damp, light absorptive tree trunks made a dramatic and graphic contrast with line-based statements.

The gouache underpainting can be tough in winter weather, however, it pays off as a design tool for me beyond what a thumbnail can do. Thumbnails are great exercises and can produce good paintings, but my own do not excite me with the moment and the energy like an underpainting can. The potential handicap can be that I fall in love with the underpainting and am hesitant to obliterate it. Risk all to gain.

Here is another from that season:

"Forebearer to Spring" is likely to be another working title. 9x12 inches, pastel and gouache on sandpaper.

Working titles are a way to tie together the image and a word or two or three. Sometimes the title process can be the most difficult part of it all, or perhaps the organizing of that process is not yet well enough developed in my work flow. "Dead Pine with Friends" was a working title that was not going to do anything useful in the wide world, but still recalls the painting more thoroughly.

These two paintings remain labeled with working titles, at least until I sit down to do formal ones.