Friday, January 8, 2010

Studio Work for a Snow Scape

This painting was worked up from a small 10x12 done on site.   The location was near the Bruce Trail in the Silver Creek area north of Glen Williams (where I live).  It was an early morning about -9C and sunny.  I had hiked in several hundred metres from the road with the trusty French Easel.  Fresh fluffy snow had appeared over night.  I was up to my knees in it AND out of range of the timer.  Eventually I felt the cold creeping in and the pace quickened.  The set up was good with shade on the palette and canvas but with an irritating requirement to keep the sun out of my eyes by putting a branch between me and the ever moving sun.  I was able to squint appropriately for values and face the painting wide eyed.  The small one was a gem.

Now in the studio and going bigger one loses most of the ability to squint - the conditions are static and the distances are different.  So the struggle is to recall the scene and make the effort to catch the essence of the small without copying and getting stiff.

At the Edge of It, 36x48, Oil on Canvas

Here is a photo of the work near the end of the painting session.  I can tell you that the actual colours and values are significantly different, further underscoring why working from life is so enthralling.  Now to get back outside to rekindle my freshness.  I spend about 25% of my time working on site and the rest in the studio.  However, more than 50% of my paintings come from on site work.

In the studio I used larger bristle filbert brushes (#14 and #16) for most of the painting and finished with #8s and #10s.  If you keep your brushes tuned they can be used for fine lines as well as wide strokes and everything in between.  After all there are six sides to a brush.  Also in the studio I may choose to use more pigments so I can use colour changes for plane changes more easily.  There was no earth tone pigments used in this painting.  All were mixed.

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