Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Charleston marshes 2
Above is the Charleston Marshes painting. over the next few days I am going to studioize it. Sometimes a painting only needs a few touches in the studio and at other times it needs a lot of work. Probably no spot of paint on this piece now will still be showing when the thing meets it's frame. Sometimes I wreck' em in the studio and you might get to see that as well.
I want to scrape the surface of the painting with my palette knife to get all of the ridges of paint off of it. I can do this because it is bone dry. I stick an old Masonite panel under where I intend to scrape ( on the back of the canvas) I do this so that I don't hit the stretcher bars with the knife and cut notches into the front of my painting or leave ghost impressions of the bars on my paint. This photo is "keystoned a bit, the actual painting is square of course.
Here is a closeup of what I did next. I threw a warm mix of titanium white, gold ocher and a touch of Quinacridone red ( instead of Quinacridone my spellchecker just suggested gangrene ) onto the sky I put plenty of it down too. It is a mattress onto which I intend to throw my blue. I want this "cooking" behind my sky color. You have heard me say this before but,
THERE WILL ALWAYS BE ENOUGH BLUE IN A SKY IF YOU PUT ANY IN!
It is essential to get the red and yellow in there or your painting will be cold and dead. These colors give light, and life. put em in first, to make sure they are there. When you put the blue in, don't mix it down into the warm colors, scatter it over them allowing them to show. This is really important. Amateur painters screw up right here all the time. The used furniture stores are full of bad landscapes bearing this particular fault. I will try to make a closeup of this tomorrow to make sure you see it.
I than began to plot the parts of the clouds that are in the shadow with a gray made from white and ivory black. I vary its temperature, warm in some places using burnt sienna and cool in others using a little Prussian in the gray.
Now here comes the hard part to explain. For the rest of this process I am kind of an abstract painter. I have painted thousands of skies and I do know how they they look, but more importantly I am making an artful arrangement. What I am doing is pushing it around and trying to get designed in an attractive manner. I am applying a number of design ideas which I will explain in the next posts. There is no trick to this, its just a matter of having done a lot of it.
Where I have built up too much paint I take it out with my knife and sometimes I use the knife to make blocky corrections and cut out forms as well. All of this is going on with a huge brush almost 2 inches wide. I am paying real close attention to my edges as well. I want to keep this thing pretty softened up. otherwise my clouds will look like potatoes.
I have made these images a little larger than usual if you click on them, Blogger only allows me an image of the largest the size you see before you.
I also painted out he top of the trees and the roof of the rear house. I did this for two reasons. One I want to downsize that rear house, it seemed too big and assertive, I guess I need it, but I am going to soft pedal it.
Secondly and far more importantly, I like to paint into the next form and then paint that form back out over the sky. That keeps me from building up edges around the trees. And it also allows me to paint the trees back into a wet sky which allows me to give them a soft edge. I can blend effectively if both are wet. I need to do a whole post on just that, I have so much I want to tell you!
Here is my stopping point for the day, tomorrow I will go further into how I arrived here and probably get those trees painted back out over the sky again. I am going to dwell some on the design ideas I am applying here, because that is what makes this kind of a sky go. This image when clicked on should be large enough for you to seem more clearly. Incidentally, notice how I am influenced by the Dutch paintings I was showing you last week. There is so much to learn by studying the work of the great artists from before us,and not just the 19th century guys either. They are called the old masters not just because they were old.