Here’s another studio revision of a flop. I have a pile of these old plein air paintings that aren’t good enough to keep so I’m playing with them and pushing them looser and trying to make them more abstract. They can only get better. If they don’t I’ll just gesso over them.
I went back for another round of painting from the figure today. This time I used a much broader palette which included cadmiums, a purple, phthalo green again, and a couple of earth colors. I didn’t touch my quinacridone magenta. And black was only used sparingly as it was my only blue, but the purple and green were doing an adequate job of cooling and I could’ve easily omitted black today.
The added colors gave me much more leeway that usual, but I almost felt like I had too much on my plate. I wasted a lot of time with so many options. I think next time I’ll pare down my palette again but maybe not so far as my landscape palette. And I want black to play a larger role.
There’s really no excuse for my lousy drawing (as usual) but as with my plein air paintings I’m more focused on color and relationships since I don’t often get to work from a model. Flesh is such a fantastic subject to study color.
acrylic, 16×12″, about 3 hours
This is an old painting I started plein air a few years ago of the ice starting to melt on the river. It was never really working and was slated to be gessoed over. I decided to experiment with it before I did that, and it’s been fun playing with it in my living room without any reference. I wanted trees across this like a veil and I wanted it more abstract. I kept obliterating the defining elements but they seemed to keep bouncing back into the picture pulling it back from abstraction. It seems I like those descriptive things more than I thought I did. There’s something about a tangle of branches in the winter. I don’t want to paint them each individually like strands of hair, but the visual activity is alluring. Part of me searches for birds in there.
It was really great to work from a model yesterday, but I wasn’t very happy with the paintings and needed to get “back on the horse” as soon as I could even though I felt crushed. I considered going back to bed, but it’s supposed to rain tomorrow so I won’t be able to go out. I drove around in the city this morning looking for a spot and saw several good scenes but couldn’t muster the courage to tackle any of them. Before giving up and heading home with my tail between my legs I stopped at a regular location and convinced myself that I’d at least just be toning the blank canvas panel out there if the painting failed.
I left yesterday’s phthalo green on my palette and used it instead of black today.
I haven’t worked from the figure in a very long time, and I was excited to get the opportunity today.
acrylic, 12×9″, 2 hours, my landscape palette
acrylic, 16×12″, 1 hour, replaced black with phthalo green
Lots of great ice on the river this morning. At my favorite spot for ice the water was too high. I really hope the water level falls soon and leaves the ice.
A silent morning in the city.
I have a painting in another book. I can’t remember if this is #3 or #4. There’s also another book coming out soon with one of my paintings in it. My kids really get a kick out of seeing my work in books.
Here is the book on Amazon.
The author (Lorena Kloosterboer) is posting photos of the artists on her Facebook page so I snapped this to participate.
I never usually get anything back from participating in these books, but I’m flattered to be included in these types of books because acrylic paints are only recently beginning to gain respect as more and more artists use them. I still get a lot of comments on my paintings like: “I thought it was oils!” Lorena’s book shows all the various possibilities with acrylics. “Looking like oils” is just one of them.
I tried that box again (and the ornament!). I felt like I was controlling it more than I wanted and not playing enough so I quit. I want these to be sketchier. I suspect the demands of that box to look a certain way are inhibiting me.
Just some holiday refuse laying around my house this time of year. And like the poem I posted previously, I’m still looking for some magic in the mundane.
acrylic on paper, 11×14″