Friday, April 27, 2012

High Tide at dusk

 In one drop of water are found all the secrets of the oceans.  ~Kahlil Gibran

And there are many secrets.  And colours.  And shapes.

When light starts to fade, the ocean takes on a different colour.  The brightest lights are pulled out of it and replaced by softened shades that make you strain to see them.  Purple, turquoise, blue, green, grey all blend together.

Its easy to see why dusk and dawn are perfect times for capturing light.

This is 6" x 12" on stretched canvas, painted in oil.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The laundry room

I've been working my way through some colour exercises lately, under the tutelage of a variety of books from Kevin MacPherson to Stephen Quiller.  This exercise is from Lori Putnam's workbook, Exploring Color. This is about exploring colour and any two of yellow, orange, red, violet, blue, or green may be used.  The concept is to use the two colours to create light and shadow, but still make the hues identifiable no matter how you combine them.

I used ultramarine blue and cadmium orange for this, along with titanium white and was fairly conservative in colour mixing with a little mud thrown in for good measure. This is the view from the door of my studio out into the laundry room.  Not the most beautiful view but the shapes were interesting and the light coming from a half bathroom was all that was illuminating it.

Interior scenes are not something I've done a lot of, but the appeal is there if the lighting is right and simple scenes can become glimpses into intimate life.

The study is 5 x 7 in oil on a canvas panel.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Specimen 18437

Because capelin sexes have different shapes, they are often posed together classically for comparison.   I came across a 1948 black and white image showing a similar pose and its sparked off ideas for a whole series of capelin paintings.

Now I know looking at fish is not everyone's idea of pretty pictures, but if you're looking for flowers, you're in the wrong blog.  I always seem to root for the underdogs of the world.  Stray animals, the mangy dog at the pound, some half dead cat who turns up on the doorstep and all those creatures that people look at and say 'ewwwwwww'.  Fish being one of them.

Like most things, the more you examine something, the more intriguing it becomes. You see all kinds of shapes and colours that you wouldn't have seen at a cursory glance.  This is how I feel about fish.  They are quite remarkable creatures with an amazing ability to live underwater.  Just think about it!  What a world they must see!

For this painting I started out shapes with a brush then switched to a palette knife to complete the pair. Meet Specimen 18437.  In oil on canvas panel and 7 x 9, I think.  Its on an old unmarked canvas and I'm too lazy to find the measuring tape.

The male is on the top, the female on the bottom.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Green water

I seem to be all over the map in terms of painting lately.  My mind won't settle into one track and stay there.  As soon as I get a piece started, another idea kicks in and sends me off in a different direction.  Maybe it is the season that does it, stirring up ideas and growth after a long winter.

Yesterday I started a couple of paintings and ended up wiping both of them then reverted to my old standby of water.  Each wave is similar but different.  Light changes, shapes change, and capturing all the elements becomes a challenge.

The initial stages of blocking in shape and colour lets some of the undercoat peek through.

This is the current stage of the painting I'm working on.  Its 6 x 12 in oil.  The wiped surface was a very dark greenish orange and it gives the painting a somber light.  While I work on the mid-range values, the light will become stronger until I can reach the point of pure highlights to help bring it to life.

And of course there is another painting on another easel as I work on this; more sketches and thumbnails of ideas and the urge to do a large, detailed drawing is in my head too.  Yes, it must be spring.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

On ice

I love using palette knives for speed and freedom in painting.  Using them makes work take on a whole new looseness, letting me concentrate on shapes and values instead of getting bogged down in detail, which I have a tendency to do.

These fish, mackerel I believe, sitting on crushed ice, were perfect candidates for going under the knife.  The image wasn't perfect, which takes away the detail and forces concentration on the important elements.  I seem to be bolder in colour when using the knives and the strokes with those delicious dollops of paint refuse to let me lean towards any detail work.  

Small size allows satisfaction in a shorter period of time, meaning I can usually finish a piece in one session.  This is on a 6 x 6 gessoed masonite panel using oils.

People comment that the technique uses a lot of paint.  Well, not really, not a lot more than I would use in a painting using a brush and traditional use.  Of course, a larger piece will take more paint and I did a 16 x 20 to test to see how much I would use and get good coverage.  I was surprised that this technique is not as lavish in paint use as many believe.  I'd say that you would use perhaps double the amount of paint that you would you use if you paint modestly with a brush.

And as I always say, supplies are made to be used, not hoarded.  So be generous with your paint and let it work for you.