September 30, 2013

Reverse-order painting

You'd think it would have made sense to do the small study before I worked on the large painting last week.  But I didn't, so today I got to the farm early to work on a study that I hoped would help enlighten me about what I should have worked out before getting into a big painting.  I definitely see the benefit of the lighter, more violet sky and plan to work that into the larger painring.  Not so sure about the large and simplified shadow.  Interestingly, in spite of its flaws, the large painting in the state it's in from the previous post got a very positive response from the group of painters.After getting that out of the way, I worked on a small painting of the farmhouse and nearby buildings.

September 28, 2013

Rethinking the farm landscape

I have a feeling I'm going to be thinking and rethinking this one.  I spent some time in the studio trying to tame the large shadow but it was a monster that couldn't be controlled.  Same thing with the house.  So they're both gone, for now.  Monday I'll be back at the farm with a chance to see whether I can bring the house back.

September 25, 2013

Start of a Painting at Rocklands Farm

A beautiful day, here's the start of a painting.  More work on it next week.

September 18, 2013

Wisteria Trellis at Brookside Gardens

 Yesterday I thought I picked a chaotic subject for a painting.... and then today I found myself facing the wisteria trellis at Brookside Gardens.  It's a beautiful spot, I couldn't resist.

It's definitely not a simpler subject!  I was painting in a shady spot at a corner of the trellis and, in spite of that, had the same difficulty settling on the values of the colors I was using as I had in yesterday's bright sunlight.    I think the evenness of the yellows on the left and right is so odd -- I swear I mixed different colors to get them... but they read awfully close to one another.  Something to fix.

September 17, 2013

Trying to Bring Order to Chaos

I had 45 minutes today to paint outside and I picked what I thought looked like a reasonable spot to paint.  Well, it was chaos!

I haven't painted in the woods in a long while and I wasn't really ready.  It's funny how a "warm-up" painting is really needed to wade back into painting outside -- working with such intense lights and darks, such a large amount of information to distill into a composition.

I completely wiped out what I had worked on for the first 1/2 hour, and then went back in to rebuild the painting.  This is what was left when my time was up and I had to pack up.  I think I may need to look at the painting in indoor light to see if I have the color variation I was aiming for, particularly in the blues.

September 16, 2013

Still Life by Lamplight

I must have painted this one at night when we were in Maine, I can't remember exactly, although I know we tried the lamp on and off to see how it would affect our paintings.  I was in favor of having the lamp on.  I had over-emphasized the shade in my initial working of this painting, so much so that it loomed over everything.  Here at home I brought it back into balance so that the peach is very much in the foreground, and the white flowers of the hosta are in front of the lamp (and its shade!).

I really mean to work on new paintings, but I keep looking at the paintings from Maine and I still want to get them all into better shape.

Tomorrow the weather and my schedule should be just right for painting outside again.

September 11, 2013

More from Maine

 These two paintings were begun in Maine.  The still life on top was close to done when I worked on it there, sitting on the porch looking out toward the ocean.  What I needed to do when I got home was create greater depth by darkening the kitchen linens that folded down at the table front.

As for the view of the house from the beach, this is a subject I've painted many, many times.  Each time I feel like I get closer to the feeling of how that house is my definition of the perfect place.  I've played around with the wild roses in front of the house and this time I made the most of the path as it cuts through the roses.

I am almost ready to start working on some paintings at home again.

September 5, 2013

Maine Flowers & View

Coming back to this painting today, it jumped out at me that the cobalt blue that I'd used on the ceramic pitcher holding the flowers was way too powerful.  It wasn't in the original palette I used when I started the painting (the cerulean in the sky wasn't either... but it made sense to me).  I grayed it down so it could sit under and behind the flowers.  I also made the arrangement less static -- flowers now spill down in the front, not just the sides of the pitcher.

Shadows were missing from the table the flowers were on. I added small houses to the distant view (it's the town of Bass Harbor, Maine across the water; the porch is in Bernard).

Compared to the immediacy of painting outside, it's a different feeling to sit in the studio and think through questions about how the painting is seen, whether the light is consistent, whether things seem appropriately close or far.  It's my hope that I don't have to view this as a trade-off with either paintings that convey a moment in time or paintings that appear to be overly studied.

September 4, 2013

Working out a Painting Problem

This was the last painting I did in Maine and I decided to tackle a still life with a pretty complicated background -- house, trees, harbor & mountain.  I thought it was pretty well resolved in Maine, but when I got it home it seemed too dull, like I'd tinted the paint too much (mixing in white).

Now I'm trying to bring back more color, but I've feel like I've lost some of the relationships between the different elements of the painting and lost the overall color sense that made the earlier, muted version a cohesive painting.   This is most likely the result of two things -- one is that I'm not looking at the view from the porch in Maine, so I've got no reference for how I see the things in relation to one another; the other thing is that I don't know what colors I had on my palette and I think I've introduced colors that didn't exist in the original painting and they are not harmonizing with the colors that did.

This needs a day to sit and I will see what really needs fixing when I get back into it.

September 2, 2013

Yellow Still Life in the Kitchen

This was the painting that started all the still life painting in Maine this summer.  It was a rainy day and we set this up in the kitchen -- flowers, wedges of watermelon. peaches in a container, lemons and grapes.  We started painting in the morning and then returned to it later in the afternoon and kept painting until early in the evening.  It was great to have the chance to return to the same subject again and again and work out problems in the painting.