Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Painting Procress

The Beginnings
I often work on several paintings at once. This is often about technique - the pouring of skies, and sometimes about color - four of these have those dark blues in them, and upon occasion it is about a spurt of inspiration. Yes, it can become a bit crowded for lay-down space in the studio but it is highly productive to work like this with a water media - no down-time waiting for paint to dry. In addition to the five in this photograph I also had a canyon triptych working at the same time. More about that painting in a later blog.

As I am a camera nut as well as a painter I frequently record the step by step process of a painting. And this morning I was going through my picture folders assembling photos in an art progress folder. Some paintings are more recorded than others. I suppose it is like parents and children in a way. This morning I thought I would cover the odd child in this group - the one with the orange sky.

The arch in shadow

I absolutely loved the sky. But I felt like I had literally painted myself into a corner. I had put dawn behind the arch so it was by the laws of nature going to have to be dark. This is by the way Cleft Arch in Lavender Canyon of the south Canyonlands district of Utah. I call it Debbie's arch because when we were approaching from the other side it looked like a niche in the canyon wall to all but Debbie. But I digress. What to do with the arch against a yellow and orange sky. I stared at it while I worked on the other paintings. Then I just decided to go with the color wheel. Orange is the compliment of Purple. That seemed appropriate to Lavender Canyon.

Sunshine spilling through the arch
The stripe of cadmium red spilling down the hill through the arch set up the repetition of the arch angle and also opened up the lower part of the painting to be other colors. I have also played with the sky but using a soapy Q'tip to lift and soften the line between colors in the ski and give it a more cloud like effect.

Colors blocked in

I find that once I have the major elements determined it is then relatively easy to block in the other colors. I brought in the gold to echo the strong sky color in the upper left corner and also to put more light on the dark side of the arch as it were. I was working from a photograph I made of this arch when visiting the area last May. I have done one realistic rendering of it. Sometimes that has to be gotten out of the way so that I can just go with the color.

I generally allow the painting to dry before detailing out as it were. Finishing a painting can include top washes and glazes that require the paint to be dry. And brush lines I add that I don't want to bleed into their neighbors also require dry surface.

The Other Side of Tomorrow
Line adds definition and also movement and shape. The iconic flight of ravens adds distance. And title adds to the mystery. Some paintings name themselves. This one didn't at first. I asked for suggestions on Facebook. I liked several but it was as I was typing the caption that I actually named it. The title is a mixture of a couple suggestions that just joined themselves together. What is the other side of tomorrow? Who knows but we all want to go there.

1 comment:

  1. I am loving the way you describe how you are doing what and why. Then seeing the final result which is awesome by the way.The title you have given the painting is perfect.


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