Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Skies - in th beginning they were all blue

A sampling of skies
Haven't written a blog on the creative process lately so figured I was over due. And since yesterday I was working on some new 12 x 12 panels for the up coming Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Holiday Festival my mind was on skies. I begin with skies. This is in part because my skies are mainly poured or floated using the liquid watercolor I prefer. And it is partly because the sky sets the tone for the painting. And because while the scenery in New Mexico and the Colorado Plateau is awesome the skies are without parallel.

When I first began painting back in college I stuck with blue skies and they were a bit of an after thought. Frankly skies scared me because many a great painting (in my mind) was ruined by my treatment (or non-treatment) of the sky, as I saw it as merely a backdrop for the subject of the painting. Pouring skies was more than a technique change. It led me to a totally different approach to the entire painting.

 Of the four church panel paintings above the top two are going to be night scenes and the churches will have luminarias lining the path to the doors, and large rising full moons. The metallic glitter was another happy accident in my attempt to capture skies filled with stars. The bottom left is a sky I have done before and like for "hot desert days." The bottom right is a new sky. I am trying this one out. It is prompted in part by the top picture in the opening photograph, and in part by a photograph of Laguna Mission with a very stormy sky behind it.

My Tres Cruces triptych was an adventure in skies that worked. And difficult because it was on three separate canvases but had to look like one sky going from dawn to sunset to dusk. You may have noticed my skies are no longer blue.

Tres Cruces Triptych
Sometimes my adventures in poured skies work and sometimes they don't. I blogged previously about the struggle I had getting to that top pink sky with clouds. It really was an accident. Lots of my skies begin as accidents and then liking the effect I seek to repeat it. I have tried for sunset and gotten dawn as in the first time I did a yellow sky. Starry night skies are thankfully very repeatable as they are very popular. But while it is "repeatable" they are seldom exactly alike. Water and liquid watercolors have minds of their own even if I can urge them in different directions from time to time.

The skies make each painting unique, even when I repeat a subject, because they dictate the time of day, the light on the subject, and, most importantly, set the mood of the painting. Ergo they are seldom just blue. It always works better if I follow the sky rather than try to force the painting to a preconceived idea. Mind you I do have an idea of where I want a painting to go, it is just that sometimes the paint wins and those can be very happy adventures.


  1. This is the other pic that I saw and loved. The one on the bottom left in Sampling of the she has found comfort there & stopped at her favorite spot to cool off.
    I'd like to post it on my channel.
    Flickr is so nice for making a slideshow of paintings. If anyone has a program to make a video of the slides I would love to post the video.
    I do not remember hearing if the computer guy found your backup or not? there is this sneaky suspicion that somehow he did not load your computer correctly & maybe the external hard-drive hasn't truly crashed?? but then knowing you,you plugged it into another computer just to double check.
    That would be when you threw something across the room in frustration right?
    ok the point was I love love love this painting too !!

  2. That one Ava is called The Guardian. I have not totally given up on the external hard drive. I am told there may be people that can rescue data from it. Obviously I haven't had the time or positive energy to check that out but I have also not tossed the external drive yet either.


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.