Sunday, December 13, 2009

Back to the Original Two

Saturday was a beautiful day.  Blazing sun after an interesting sun rise - muted oranges in the south east, and Grey Blue down to fantastic pinks, and finally Prussian Blue at the horizon.  At the first stop in North Hockly it was -11C with a nasty wind.  Wrong easel for the wind.  Vic in his wisdom brought a French Easel.  No problem.  Well dressed and still a future reserve for expected cold days.  Excited and smug in the comfort and beauty.

Interesting high key image facing north.  Quick set up and sketch.  A warm key in the winter.  Set the clock for 10 minutes after the setup.  Just enough time to do a quick wash.

Just a Field by the Road, North Hockley

Looking at the setup from the car gave me the first hint of things to come.  You would think I had never done this before in the happy season.  At least I did have an oil change to Graham paint.

Set the easel up out of direct sun

Look at the glare on the easel.  Makes it hard to see the colours and the values.  Pupils shut down.  Later I was able to see the violets where I assumed the snow was in full sunlight.  It was, but the sky was reflecting on the snow.  Evidence?  Just look at the hi lites where the snow has a reflecting bank from ploughing - brilliant and colour and value contrast compared to the fields.

As a correction, I put myself in front of the sun creating a cast shadow on the white board.  A bit of eye relief.  Then in my excitement I proceeded to block in the masses on top of my wash.  Things went of the rail at this point.  The snow was a yellow in a high value - wrong!  The block in was very heavy, not good for layering.  The blues and violets that attracted me to the image were changing rapidly but I blocked them in last - should have been first - different colour and disappearing now.  Try to remember what was there and paint that.  The timer interrupts.  In the car we discuss our pin hole eyes and what colour is on the snow exposed to the sun.  We agree that it is a variety of violets.  Back to the easel.  Try to layer some violets on top of the thick paint representing yellow snow.  What a gooey mess.  the the tree line, weeds, and sky need correcting.  More paint.  Seems that with cold fingers I can't control the brush not to mention the viscosity.  Then there is the grey mass.  Was it frozen?  Another car break.  We consider trading paintings at this stage.  Then I think palette knife.  Back out into it.  This thing needs to be scraped off.  Much better.  But the sun is overhead and all has changed.  We decide to hide out for lunch.

For the afternoon session we calm down and decide to do a three timer session painting before calling it quits for the day.  That went much better.  Relax, squint, see the masses, paint from the shoulder, control the viscosity. block in the masses, adjust.

Later in Hockley, 8x10, Oil on Canvas

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