Thursday, August 15, 2013

Working in series

Producing a series of paintings, even a small series, can help focus the mind and let you explore a subject in-depth and push further into ideas, composition and painting techniques.  Repetition is how we learn and each painting is different, even if similar material appears in each.

While I know I can jump all over the place with subject matter sometimes, I always drift back to the water and fish and reflections, whether aquatic or hard surfaces.  That play of light continues to draw me as well as challenge me.

I've completed three pieces in a series of paintings of people and the water.  It started out with the capelin fishery in June after watching children and adults wading out to catch the little fish in buckets and nets.  I am continuing to explore that with more paintings of people in the water waiting their turn at the easel.  I continue to go down that avenue, accosting people at the beach and asking if I can photograph them or their children.  Everyone I have asked has been very obliging and quite interested in what I'm doing.  No arrests yet. :)

I have other ideas of water-related paintings and need to set some up with models or patient friends willing to head into the water for the sake of art.  And the Atlantic can be cold!  However, last week when I was in it, it was surprisingly warm, after expecting it to be breath stoppingly cold, so there may be hope for models for me yet.

One of the paintings I wanted to do was of a baby at the water's edge.  I will be working on that and made a sketch of a possible painting from a photo of my daughter and grandson.  I enjoy working out compositions and pulling in aspects of more than one reference to create what I need.  Taking the time to draft out a plan helps solidify ideas and work out concepts before investing time into a larger piece that you discover won't work when you're half way through it.

There will be some cohesiveness beyond the subject matter as most of the pieces will be on the same size canvas - 12" x 24", except for the 12"x 12" capelin painting.  That may need a companion to go with it for balance.

You can see the other pieces in the series on my website:

The Capelin Catcher
The Bounty Hunter
Capelin Scull

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Gary Everest Portrait - complete

 Gary Everest
Oil on canvas panel
11" x 14"

I have virtually sat on my hands to avoid overworking this portrait.  There is a fine line between just enough and too much and failure and I walk it often.  I wish there was a delete button or a warning siren that would go off and prevent me from adding another brush stroke.

I've adjusted the colours and refined the shapes and added some colour to the shirt, that may need a little more work before signing.  Right now, its going to sit for a week to dry and look at my from across the studio while I contemplate any last alterations before its final and hands off.

Here's a closer view of brush strokes and colours.  As usual, my photography skills and photoediting as well as computer monitor colour limitations detract from the original.  I so wish there were a way to get a true representation of a painting online.  Or maybe its just my inability to do so well.  In reality, the portrait is warmer in value.  I may take the painting outside shortly and see if I can get a truer representation of colour.

I really enjoyed working on this portrait and Gary's working on mine which is quite fascinating to watch unfold.  I love seeing how other artists work, its like peeking over their shoulder in their studio and is always such a privilege to do so.  Do visit Gary's blog and watch his progress, you won't be disappointed.

It is always a challenge to work from a photograph and not have even brief access to the person in real life.  The combination of the two, especially in portraiture, provides a wealth of knowledge visually that a photo can never reveal, both in skin tone and in personality, that are vital to making a painting work well.