Friday, May 28, 2010

Seascape 4

Here is the painting as it looks after today's work. Those are a couple of blades of grass encroaching on the left, I shot the picture flat on the lawn in the fading light. I seem to get better color that way. I spent a second day working on the lower left hand corner of the painting. Oh, and I straightened the horizon. You painting-a-day folks most be shocked. I think I am five days into this project now.

There is some chance I will finish this tomorrow, but more likely it will take me two more days to complete this 26x36. This is not a spectacularly long time for me to work on a painting this size. I have taken much longer. Tomorrow I will go after all of that rock and maybe buff up the sky. That should go pretty quick. Compared to the water it is relatively easy.


Stapleton Kearns said...

I have reposted this from an e-mail with the authors permission-Stape

Serious Question

I didn't want to post this on the blog and ruffle feathers but do want/need to ask: Aline's question about just dropping the horizon got me thinking so I went back and compared the pictures again. Then I pulled them into Photoshop, resized so they match, outlined the newer one and did an overlay. Do you realize that truly the only thing you did - compositionally - was drop the horizon line down? There are minor differences in the edges of the rocks, but the angle and size of the wave and the scale of the rocks are exactly the same! So close, in fact, that I'd swear you used a projector. Truely the only reason the bigger one seems more powerful is because it's bigger and dominates the smaller one when they're side by side!
I'm guessing we're not supposed to notice that - one reason I didn't post to the blog! Truly trying to learn and to "wrap my head" around what you're saying, but finding it difficult because of what I see!
Help me here!
to view my artwork visit: said...

I can't imagine Stapleton using a projector. One thing you have to know that he is a very very good draftsman. It's a skill that most painter don't want to bother with anymore and so they have i difficult time understanding how someone can actually draw (and sometimes measure).

Stapleton, on another subject; the composition - the painting, as it is now, seems to me, to be split into two halves; a rock half and a water half. How about some of those inter-locking water splashes to break up the rocks or small rocks to break up the water?

You've got to love this process.

Deborah Paris said...

Hmmm. I'm no wiz at Photoshop but it looks to me like you lowered the horizon only a little but mostly raised the rocks- partly by perspective (we see less of the tops and more of the sides so we feel like we are at a lower vantage point in the larger piece. The ratio of water to sky looks to be about 2/3 to 1/3- again I'm just eyeballing it. The comment about the projector reminds me of the Hockney book Secret Knowledge where he concludes the old masters must have been using aids of some sort because their drawing was so good. His argument came down to"I can' do it, so Ingres must have cheated". You are indeed a brave man to put this out there in process- and that is just what it is, a series of corrections and refinements.

Plein Air Gal said...

OK - NOW you've changed the angle of the wave and a few other things and it's starting to change the whole perspective and come up out of the hole! Oddly, I still feel sort of "safe" in where I'm standing (the viewer/painter) to look at the view! I do like the way this is developing (but then, of course, I love most of your paintings!)
I've painted with you enough times and seen enough of your demos (and a workshop!) to know that you don't use a projector (and didn't notice one in your studio) - that was more of a simile - but that raises another question that maybe you can address in your blog at some point ... what's YOUR feeling about using a projector? This is a hot topic in some groups. There are some big name artists who use them for their initial block ins in studio (using a photograph) and others, at the extreme opposite in opinion, who insist that it's "cheating" and a crutch for those with no real drawing ability. Then there's the middle road who feel if you're using your own sketch/study then you HAVE done the drawing and basework so it doesn't matter if you're just using it to enlarge your own work. I'd be interested to know where you stand on this issue?

billspaintingmn said...

All is fare in Love & War! What ever it takes to get you there, the final art piece is what's important!
Tools of the trade, photo shop or a projector, these are tools to be used to get the job done.
You have to use your creative brain, if the art calls for a straight line, you draw it free style, or use a ruler, what's importaint is that you built a straight line.
Also it ain't easy being easy, so
building this into a finished painting,(more rock-less roll) has
got to be a difficult process.
Stape is creating a composition here, and has allowed us to watch
his process. How cool is that!

alotter said...

re using a projector--I agree that no aids or tools or methods should be forbidden in the process of creating a masterpiece. If a resulting painting LOOKS as if it was drawn with a projector, that could be a bad painting--Warhol's success notwithstanding--, but its badness might not have resulted from using the projector. Anyway, badness is in the eye of the beholder, it should not be made a moral issue.

Unknown said...

I am learning a lot while watching you finish this seascape. Thanks!

One question for you: when you paint something over multiple days how do you work around drying paint? Are you scraping back, applying retouch varnish, something else? I have been doing little one shot still lifes for practice, but soon I should be moving on to something that takes more than a couple hours to finish.

Gregory Becker said...

The only thing this post needs now is one of your pictures of disection.
Projecters aren't necessary. If you set up the larger canvas at a slightly further distance than the small one and then look at both from a stationary point, just walk back and forth to transfer it.
To make it even easier as you're looking at both canvases from the stationary point and they are side by side in your field of vision, simply cross your eyes and the painting will appear on the blank canvas. You can check it that way too. Like sight size.
I love it. I pour over your use of temperature to show variety instead of value shifts. The notan looks simplistic and yet it is filled with variety. I am so glad you do these demos.

Unknown said...

I'm just enthralled by all the things going on in the water.. little value or temperature changes that do alot to convey the movement and "plane" of the water. Rocks, ditto... cool lights, warmer reflections...

Watching the process of this, decisions, changes, etc. is the most instructive thing you can do for us.

willek said...

Stape, you are the real thing, posting Sharon's comment like that. Shows tons of character. Deborah nailed the differences, I think. But, I still think the picture needs a subsurface rock in the middle left foreground.

Stapleton Kearns said...


I am using the rocks just as they are. I have the sketch and liked the arrangement. The viewers of this painting won't see the sketch, so they won't think anything is amiss. It makes the rocks more imposing anyway.

I don't need a projector. I can rapidly and accurately copy anything put in front of me. In this instance it was a sketch but it could have been an actual landscape, or a head.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I am not bothered by that. It is already getting to frilly. I don't think I want to add more complication. I will think about that though. No rock for Willek though. No submerged rock.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Yes I cheated the whole show up a notch.
David Hockney didn't make his case. How does Hockney explain Rubens? You can't project that.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Plein ASir Gal;
I don't need a projector. But I like to change things around. I would find a projector confining, too literal.Just finding the boundarys of an object does not make a drawing. You have to derscribe the form. People who use projectors don't get that., Its a construct.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you. I have nothing against photoshop or projectors. I have no need, as I said, for a projector. I do use photoshop now and then.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I totally disagree. Art can have quality or not. Badness is in the object and not applied to it by the viewer. One artist is better at it than another. Just as Jimi Hendrix is a better guitarist than I am, its not just some listeners opinion, Jimi is really the better player, honest.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanmks. I often scrape back yesterdays work to take off the ridges of paint and often scrape till I have a ghost image to paint over. Today's painting becomes a rehearsal for tomorrows.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I just set one up and make the other. There was a time when I might have done it sight size. But I just put it down by the same method that I learned years ago drawing casts. Shapes.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you. I wondered when I started this series of posts whether it would prove interesting to the readers over the length of time it would take me to do it.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks, I don't know if it shows character, but I thought it would be interesting for the comments.No rock!