Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I'm not referring to the financial robber baron forecasts, just the local weather.  Both are quite often wrong.  OK, most often.  The temperature has been unusually warm, so despite the foreboding forecast we headed up to the Hockley Valley.  Sunny and warm they promised.  "Trust me."  Driving north I watched the dawn and saw nothing resembling the sun.  Zero degrees said my car.  I know I won't get cancelled,  we are down to the hardies now.

Wandering the Hockley, hoping that the sun was just a little late, we stumbled on the site of "St. Paddy's Surprise.  It was created on March 17, 6 or 7 years ago.  There had been a snow storm.  Well, this time it was the first ice rink of the season.  Careful.

Faceoff, Oil Painter Style

Some interesting possibilites.  Tonalism, perspective in several varieties, flattening, high eye level.  So why not try a panel sealed but not gessoed and oil primed?

That panel just sucked up the paint like a blotter.  Had to use a load of mineral spirits and paint just to get the shapes and values down.  Then I looked up.......

Ice Under the Sun

Out he came just as the setup was finished and the notan and first layer was complete.  Now, the sun was low, so the sunless and sunny versions had a number of similarities.  I chose the in between version.  That required some memory and experience.  Make it a bit moody I thought.  Capture the ice.  Plaster the paint on the blotter.

Shapes, Values, Colours Indicated

The blotter slowed the progress.  Had to dump a pile of paint on there.  Ice in full retreat.

Blotter Finally Covered

Now the temperature went up in the direct sun, but the wind came up and the air temperature was stuck at zero C.  All I could think about was "this is going to disappear in the blotter over night.  We departed for a coffee and a bite to eat.

The next morning I found the painting still thirsty for paint.  So, I sealed it again.  This time I used alkyd gel, lots of it.  Today I pulled it out dry and began to paint.  It was like painting on a thin underpainting with traces of colour.  It was dark.  I tried to keep some of the passages since they seemed interesting.  Built up the paint everywhere else.  It will get the finishing touches in the next couple of days.

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