Friday, June 01, 2012

Heating up the beach

Funny how the eye is attracted to bright colours, isn't it?  No wonder they're used so much in advertising, the brighter, the better.  Its often the case in paintings.  It may be just a little shot of colour or something very bold that pulls in the viewer.  No doubt there is some science behind it or intuitive rationale that preys on our inner primitive being.

I am no different and while I had a couple of spare hours when I was in Winnipeg, I hunted down an art supply store that I'd been in previously.  They didn't have what I was looking for, but I was drawn to a carousel of Jack Richeson soft  pastels.  Stubby handmade sticks of pigment in every colour, just waiting to be bought.  I'm not a frequent user of pastels, and not as proficient in them as I would like, but enjoy their immediacy - and the feeling of getting hands dirty while producing.  No, I'm not a worrier of pastel dust or dusty coloured clothes, its all part of the experience of creating.

One of the colours I was drawn to was this luscious orange.  It was so vibrant, like a fresh orange had been condensed into a stick.  Another shot of colour in red, a few neutrals and an assortment of my 'water' colours came home with me.  Tonight I played around with a twilight image of a beach.  It let the pastel flow like paint without much blending and turned the beach into a firey glow of orange and red.  No realism in colour, or is there.  Is the realism in shape and value or in colour?  Contrasts and values set the shape and show the eye where to look.  If that is correct, everything else is believable.

This piece is about 6" x 10" on Canson paper. I'll take a better photo in natural light tomorrow that should give a better idea of the intensity of the colours.

* Image updated 2.6.12

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tapper's Cove update

It seems that nearly every time I travel, I get sick.  This is no exception and in addition to allergic reaction to some shellfish, I have the mother of all colds that is wiping me out, so not a lot of art is getting done.

Dosed on medication, I came to the studio tonight to add a little more to the painting of Tapper's Cove.  The colours aren't right, even with tweaking and lighting the image causes glare from the wet paint.  however, colour is blocked in and now I'll begin to pull some detail out of it.

The light is unusual in this piece, coming from behind the boat and wharf, casting a heavy shadow over the structure and water.  Even in the heavy shadow there is still a lot of detail, but in muted colours that makes the eye strain to pick it out.  I love those areas of a painting, the mystery corners that pull you in and make you study it more.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Juggling mid year

I'm still working on Tapper's Cove painting, but had completed Weekend Warriors.  I just didn't have time to post it before heading west for some work.  So here it is now.  10" x 20" in oils and available through House of Diamonds Art Gallery and can be seen in more detail on my website.

I'm now at the point where I have to do some juggling with paintings.  Some to galleries, some to exhibitions, some to swap around and more to produce.  The investment in framing becomes challenging at times and it is a skill I do need to learn to do effectively, especially for oils or acrylics.

I also need to revisit my art marketing plan, not that there really was a concrete plan with tangible outcomes.  This year, I went more with the flow than the structure and I rather miss the structure.  Laying out objectives and planning methods of reaching them provides direction and deadlines, both essential for me to progress.

So I will be reassessing where I want to go with my work and how to get there.  I analyzed my artist statement and it gave me insight into why I do what I do.  Water is a constant theme, and boats, but reflections are the common thread and show my interest in glass objects or reflective surfaces.  Pulling it all together and finding the right market is key.

Then there's workshops.  I've been so busy this year, I've only had time to provide one workshop and there is a constant stream of people asking when the next one will take place.   Time management is crucial when one has a day job as well as an art career.  I need to plan and manage carefully to get to where I want to go.

Tapper's Cove in progress

There is a little cove not far from where I live that is reached only by a very narrow, steep road and open only in summer.  A few fishing and pleasure craft are moored there in the warmer months, a far cry from years ago when it once was a hub of fishing industry.

Last summer, I drove down and took a few photos of some of the small vessels moored at the wharf.  Glimpses of fish heads and entrails signaled the recreational cod fishery and the sunlight shimmered on the water where I could see thousands of tiny fish fry swimming in the clear green water.  The green was what enticed me.  Water on a sunny day is usually so blue, but this was emerald green in places with the pale rocks beneath the surface appearing to be glowing turquoise.

So after a week away on business, I return.  Sick, as I always seem to be when I travel.  The bugs and viruses sit in wait for me at airports and on planes I am sure.  But this painting makes me forget that and remember that summer day last year when the water was clear. the sun warm and the boats sitting waiting by the wharf in Tapper's Cove.

This is 10 x 20 on stretched canvas in oil.  I've begun to block in colour and shape and then the refining begins to bring it to life.