Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Speed Work

Here we are at the Glen Williams lookout again.  Christy, Monica and I set up at 7:30 and the evening sky did not disappoint.  As usual it changed rapidly.  The cloud patterns changed in seconds, the colours were a little more patient waiting for a few minutes before presenting a new set.  The sun was falling relentlessly, decreasing the light while increasing the drama.  it is key not to chase the changes because all elements affect all others.  So if the colour sucks you in to chasing it you will have to change the light levels and the value and colour of the cloud patterns.  It forces you to speed work.

Evening's First, 10x12, Oil on Board

Working quickly can be frustrating but it presents opportunity.  The real beauty of it is that you cannot think about all the principles of painting.  You just paint and rely on your subconscious to present solutions to the problem solving process.  A strategy can assist the process.  First of all accept the fact that the subject will change quickly.  Settle down and observe the subject.  Watch how it changes, look at the edges, consider your composition.  Visualize your painting.  Select a limited set of colours for your palette to aid in the colour mixing you feel will be  presented.  Here the painting is about the sky.  So leave the foreground alone (perhaps indicate the value of the mass), memorize the cloud pattern that attracted you and quickly indicate it in one tone on the canvas.  That fixes it in place so you can concentrate on the sky colours.  Put them in quickly memorizing the colour array.  Stop watching the subject - it has changed dramatically now so don't chase it.  When I paint this way I do not clean my brush - just wipe out the paint on a rag.  Wait till the sketch is done and do the next one.  The second one will present even faster changes.  So, why not paint from a picture so you can paint (copy) at your leisure?  First of all you will not capture the immediacy of the essence of the moment.  Second, the camera will not come close to capturing the colours and the depth created by them.  Third, you will miss the training opportunity for developing your ability to "see", your opportunity to create your impression - to be an artist as opposed to a painter.

The sketch was done with a #12 bristle filbert.  The palette was ( the paint left over from the last painting session - not good strategy) Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Green, Cadmium Yellow light, Cadmium Orange, Alizarin, and Titanium White.  The second sketch (not shown) was done on a smaller board (faster) 6x8 with the big bristle filbert plus a number 6 filbert and the same palette.  The light was much more dim.

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