Here is a new painting. I am never terribly happy with my photography so pretend its about 10% better than it looks, OK? I want to take a break from presenting various design stems, but I will return to that.
I varnished myself today. I wanted to finish this picture and it was grey out but not raining, so I st my easel up out doors so I would have good light and some insects. I shot a coat of varnish on the painting to bring back the darks which had sunk in. I worked for a while but the mosquito's starred to bite me so.............. I reached down without looking and instead of my Deepwoods Off, I grabbed the damar varnish and sprayed it onto my arms and the back of my neck, and a little onto my hat just to be sure. You would think would have smelled the difference before I had done all of that, but I didn't. I figured out what I had done and used Goop to get most of it off. I am still a little sticky here and there. And now my hat is glossy.
Let me throw out an idea or two for you today. The first is "reformatting"paintings. Here is the painting above as it came in from outside.
The painting was 16 x 22. I actually paint that size. It is useful when 16 X 20 seems too square. When I pulled this out to finish it in the studio it seemed to sprawl too much and I felt that if I cropped it more tightly it would be more about the lupines. So I took it off its stretchers and put it on to a set of 16 X 20's. I took a little off the left side but mostly I cropped on the right. I think it helped. Then I worked up the lupines and the leaves that surround them. I put a lot of texture through out all of the grass and the other botanicals in the foreground.
I redefined the distant shore and pushed a lot of reds into that. I also punched up that bright reflection in the water. It looks crisper back there now. I think the painting needed a lot more punch. It had an all over kind of lethargy.
I painted the lupine mostly by loading the side of my leaf shaped palette knife with cobalt violet and other similar mixtures of colors then with vertical strokes I formed the lupines. I don't do a lot with a knife, but over the years of painting lupines annually I have decided that is the best way to do them. My experience is that about most paintings I do outside are about 2/3s done and I add the last third in the studio. I don't add information, I already have enough of that, sometimes too much. I try to add art.
I was on face book today and a very fine painter posted something about the importance of representing the underlying geometry in an object. Another artist logged on an suggested that by copying the shapes and colors carefully the painting would "build itself" I have many times in this blog pushed the idea of thinking a painting into existence rather than trying to observe it onto the canvas. Here is a list of what you will not see in nature.
- design, nature is random, design is imposed on nature and not observed there.
- brushwork, there is no brushwork in nature, whether you want brushwork like Sargent or like Constable you have to invent it. it will not be visible before you.
- artistic color, nature has color, but if you want color that is arranged rather than observed, if you want to control your color, you have to make decisions to do something other than what you see.
- simplicity, nature is usually insanely complicated and detailed. Most of that detail out there is extraneous and gets in the way of presenting the large idea.
- You, when you paint you want to paint in a way that is yours, but that's not out there either, you must bring the you with you!
- style, nature is styless, style is a human construct, it won't be found in observation, it is the product of decision making.