Thursday, February 12, 2009

Last September Vic Sullivan and I went to Killarney Park for a week of painting.   Up at dawn and to bed at dusk seems a bit much for many.  However, we had a great time, lots of laughter, great weather (second time), and quite a lot of painting.  Oh, and did I mention getting lost, hiking, and fish and chips from the world's best fish and chip shop?  The end result for me was 14 oil paintings, 25 sketches and 176 photos.

Recently I have been working on these paintings in the studio.  Many of the 14 paintings done on site painted themselves since being put aside.  The following painting was worked  up in the studio from a pencil sketch done on site and a reference photo.  It was chosen because it was sketched on AY Jackson Lake and it was the only low land entering the lake, probably the water source.  In addition, I liked the colours and composition.

A Little Bit of Emily, 16x20, Oil on Canvas

Those who know me are aware of how much I dislike painting from a photo.  Photos are not too bad (distortion) for compositional reference.  They are relatively poor for colour.  Reliance on them starves the artist from training the eye to see and develop an understanding of how Mother Nature works.  This is valuable for realists, impressionists, and abstractionists. 

The challenge for this painting was to avoid tightening up by trying to copy the photo.  To do this I used a number 14 hogs bristle brush, and I worked from the old pencil sketch after referring to the photo for a composition check.  The pencil sketch shows the value masses and the rough composition (about 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches).  The colours come from memory and notes made on the field sketch.

My palette for this painting was Ultramarine Blue deep, Viridian, Cadmium Lemon Yellow,Cadmium Orange,  Cadmium Red Middle, Alizarin, Mineral Violet.  The paint was applied with a #14 hogs bristle and a palette knife.  Notice how much larger this palette is compared to my out door palette

Tomorrow we are back outside painting snow patterns after this February thaw.
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