Saturday, April 16, 2011

Notes from the kitty litter wilderness

Here is the painting that I showed you the the night that was all in violet (not inviolate). I have colored the image up and chased down more of the drawing.Tomorrow I will take it off the stretchers and roll it up. I only brought one set of 24 by 36 inch stretchers, and I will put a new canvas on them. I am carrying a roll of Centurion oil primed linen from Jerrys for which I paid less than a hundred dollars. The stuff is a little thin, but the surface is fine and is free of defects. So far I like it. I don't think I have used enough of it for long enough to give it my stamp of approval.

I don't try to finish things entirely on a trip like this. I need to produce as many "starts" as I can. Now I have plenty of information on the canvas. The painting needs more art, not more information. That I can hopefully provide it in the studio. I have photos to remember the place by, but in practice I hardly use them as I change things so much, and they provide information, but not art. A piece like this may see a weeks worth of work in the studio before it is finished.

My art sells because of the things I do in the studio. My paintings are tighter than the average plein air painter's. But most of my efforts there go to getting finish, not adding detail. I try to keep the brushwork fluid and not tighten down on the piece with small brushes. I develop patterns and enhance the design. I fool incessantly with edges to get the painting to flow the way I want. I link my darks, simplify overly complex passages and tweak color notes here and there. I "police" my shapes carefully trying to make them unique and avoid repetition. When first I bring a painting into the studio, often the work is only half done. Sometimes I can finish a painting in the studio in only an hour or two, but usually I have to pull my hair out over them.

23 comments:

Deb said...

I think this might be the most spectacular painting I've seen of yours. I can't even imagine what else you would do to it. wow.

barbara b. land of boz said...

This is one awesome painting. I take back what I said about the blue willow dishes....I'm glad your enjoying yourself. Stay safe exiStape

Teresa J said...

What a beautiful painting. I agree with Deb above.

Doug Holder said...

Stape,
The other day I hiked a mile-and-a- half into the woods, with a back pack but no paint. No big deal. Painting in the woods is like painting while observing your subject through vertical blinds. Instead, I had a nice hike while formulating questions for you. All of those questions were answered in the blogs posted April 11-16. Thank you for your blogs. It's a generous thing you do.
Doug Holder

MCG said...

thanks, "starts" and }collecting information" are helpful. I'm big on collecting information, puts it in a better light for me. I feel a lot of time-pressure painting outdoors. starts.

JonInFrance said...

The painting feels full of atmosphere/light/air.. nice

Deb said...

I meant to tell you also that I've been using that oil primed linen by Centurion and so far like it alot. For still life I add one more layer of lead ground, but not for landscape. It has a nice texture, and there's just nothing like linen.

Painting Tips and Tricks said...

I like your blog! The mountain looks great!...Daniel

clarkola said...

"good-better-best
never let it rest
'til your good is better
and your better best"

old New England saying

Adrien Bernard-Reymond said...

I'm curious to see the difference between plain-air and studio. Aren't you afraid of getting this too flat or predictable and loose the plain-air spontaneity?
I love the atmospheric effect, so subtle, works great!

Knitting Out Loud said...

Stape, this painting is wonderful!!!
I agree with Deb, it is spectacular (and looks finished).

Please tell Frodo that his daughter had 3 pieces accepted in an exhibit and she is pleased as punch.

Jo-Ann Sanborn said...

This painting is beautiful, however I'll take your last paragraph to heart and put it in my "how to critique yourself" folder. Also love a photo provies "information but not art" I'm sure it's not easy to continue to provide us with both instruction and inspiration while on a road trip out of access. Time for that cigar. Thanks, Stape.

Deborah Paris said...

"The painting needs more art, not more information. That I can hopefully provide it in the studio"

A very valuable post Stape. Your description of how you get "art" into it and "finish" is what is so often missing from most teaching on landscape painting.

willek said...

Hey, stape, That is a corker! I especially like the way the foreground ridge stands out and sets up the background silhouette.

Terry said...

Wow! Stape, This ones a beauty! I am so grateful for these desert posts, you have answered so many of my unasked questions w/ these posts. 'Start the sky at the horizon with a middle value' our skys above the peaks are so dark, solved my quandery for an outdoor portrait of a child on a horse looking up toward the mountains, worked out great. Allowed me to play the highlights and accents against the sky and lose edges to turn the form into the sky by letting the cool shadow values of the flesh blend w/the same value of the sky, magic! Love the rough-in in the violet I,ve used burnt sienna, but I tried the violet and that is really exciting, revitalized what I've been trying giving me a new direction to explore color, the violet is softer, less harsh giving more air in the picture. Just lots of info for we desert painters, love the compositions, the majesty you get feels like our western awesome vistas. Thank you,thank you, Terry

billspaintingmn said...

Stape! I took a hike into your painting, what a wonderful experience.
You are giving so much to us in information, application and inspiration, hell I think I'm gonna explode!

MCG said...

Stape, I remember you had gone over to cotton mostly because of the 'sag factor' of linen. Are you hoping this brand doesn't sag as much? Or decided to live with it? I ask, because I wonder if there is an economic influence in terms of peoples(buyers) perception of linen vs. cotton you might have run into? I ask as I'd hate to get too far down the road with a bunch of paintings and hear that...

Stapleton Kearns said...

Deb;
Thanks.
..........Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

barbara;
I think the willow is too common, perhaps it is more like a good flow blueplate by Meakin.
.............Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Teresa;
Thanks.
..............Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Doug;
I always think that woods interiors look like jails.
.................Stape

Stapleton Kearns said...

Sorry! Thats it for answers, I am having trouble with the connection going WAAAAAAAAAAAY too slow.
..................Stape

Marian Fortunati said...

I agree with Deb...

I've heard what you said before from another wonderful and accomplished artist. I guess that's the real trick.... learning to know WHAT needs to be done for the finish work... and of course knowing how to do it.
And... I guess there's no way to learn that other than time and lots of painting.... unless you were to be a very patient and observant fly on the wall in an accomplish artist's studio.
Thanks again Stape..