Wednesday, September 8, 2010

And Again Some Tonalism

Some have asked a few questions about this approach.  Thought everyone would enjoy this explanation.  Here are some thumbnail sketches.  These are typical of what I do on site whether I am painting tonalist or otherwise.

Thumbnails from the Past

The purpose for my thumbnails is a) to simplify, b) to compose and design, c) to identify basic masses and their average relative values (squinting).  There is no specific colour reference to these thumbs, however I may make colour notes or thoughts on them at times.  If I cannot get further when painting on site, I paint from these thumbs.  I do take photos, and I might refer to some element in them, but basically I leave the photos alone and try to be spontaneous.   Notice here I have also suggested a name for each image.

On the last post I showed "Rear View Mirror".  It was painted from the thumb in the bottom right corner plus my memory.  Here is a painting from a demonstration for Bob and Martha where I painted and verbalized the process.  Compare it to the thumb in the bottom left above.

Carlysle Beginning, 6x8, Oil on Board

OK, I changed the name.  My concept was to catch the mood of an early morning canoe trip.  It would be mysterious with just a hint or two of inferred detail.  I used a #12 bristle flat.  The painting started with a transparent wash of red oxide.  This is a warm (family orange) somewhat neutralized pigment.  There were drips and sags all over the board.  I could have chosen a non transparent pigment and used it transparently in a wash.  After viewing the abstract images in the wash I located the eye line per the sketch.  In my mind, the mass on the right mid ground is further away and cooler than its counterpart on the left.  I established the two mid ground masses in the same red oxide - just a bit thicker.  Then to the right mass I added viridian and cobalt violet to cool it off.  To the mass on the left I added viridian and a bit of Cadmium orange to warm it up.  A wiggle of the brush direction inferred some detail.  So a bit of the same was added to the water to suggest reflections.  To the water between the two masses I added a bit of viridian and then I added some red oxide and some cad orange as I came forward.  To the strip in the background I added a touch of Cobalt violet to cool it and push it back (does not show well here).  All the while I used the same brush working from one pool of colour on the palette.  Bob remarked " the water at the back looks like it has a mist gently rising - but you didn't do anything to it".  Martha said "your sky is really interesting".  And it was just the wash.  So we called it finished, realizing that we could go on adding paint and detail if desired.  But the concept said "your'e done".

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