Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Interview

The photographer / reporter arrived.  "Just do what you do, pretend I'm not here."  For a plein air painter this sounds easy.  I am interrupted and questioned often when painting out doors.  Somehow it isn't quite the same under the lights and under question - "What are you doing now".

I showed Ted the start off for me in the studio, a tiny thumbnail.

Thumbnail, Bend on the Beaver

This sketch was done on site in the Beaver Valley with the ski club in the background and the Beaver River in front.  Not much to go on you might say.   Exactly, can't be a slave to copying.  Have to bring my memory into play.  This includes my many hours spent on site week after week.  That training is essential to seeing colours and abstract shapes.  The sun was early morning coming from the south east - the left side of the thumbnail.  The light was warm.

Squeeze Out

I squeezed out the pigments for my palette.  To my Ultramarine Blue, Viridian, Cad Yellow Light, and Alizarin, I added Cad Yellow Deep, Cad Orange, Cad Red middle, and Mineral Violet.  No earth tones. Lots of white.  I stay away from using white as long as I can.

Wash, and begin Mass In

The wash was a loosely mixed slop of Viridian and Alizarin.  Lots of Odourless Mineral Spirits.  A # 16 flat bristle brush makes this fast work.  You can see that the pigments separated and somehow some yellow appeared (green = yellow and blue).  The white mixed with the wet under coat to produce a base for the snow (it is never white).  Already I see possibilities that would never show if I copied a photo.

The questions kept coming.  "I've never seen someone paint like that.  It is quite interesting.  I see why you don't refer to a photo.  What's next?"

Mass In

The basic shapes have been massed in.  The sky is next.  This prepares the canvas for considerable painting to come, all wet in wet.  The process is closer to sculpture than drawing - but yes, drawing is important.  At this stage the values of the shapes are in but they will be compared one to the other and adjusted accordingly.  Same for the colour.  Here I am painting directly without a value underpainting.

I just begin the mass in of the sky.

Building on the Mass In

 Ted announces he has enough material.  "What's next?"  Next is the brushwork and the comparison of the colours and values in the masses including more mass in work in the sky where there is a gradation already appearing.  Then inferred detail in selected areas and a final edge adjustment.

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