September 19, 2015

Simplifying Rocks

I painted this small painting of rocks in Maine this summer.  I've been looking at these same rocks for 18 years and while they don't really change -- they're too big and they own their spot on the beach -- the tide rises and falls, the light tracks across them as at the day goes by, seaweed collects in the crevasses, small pebbles catch and pile up, fog rolls in and the rocks can be full of color wet or parched dry in muted gray tones.

In the studio, I took out a larger canvas and decided to make a stronger contrast of the light and shade that happens in the afternoon when the rocks on the east side get very dark.  I still gave them color variation, even in the shade, though in my head, I kept thinking that I needed to removed the details from the shady side.  It's part of what needs to happen to focus the eye where it's supposed to look.

One of my studio mates is working on a very, very detailed painting, the kind of work that's done with a magnifying glass to paint in individual bricks or hairs.  It got me thinking. and today, I took out an even larger canvas and bigger brush to revisit the rock painting idea.   I started with simple black white and gray and lay out the large areas of light and dark.  No details in the deep shade.   I'm going to set it aside for a few days and think about it.

September 11, 2015

Revisiting Maine Rocks

I painted the small version of this view on the beach in Maine on a hazy day with a yellow sky.  I'd painted it on a small gesso board, which made the paint slip around.

Working in the studio,  I took out a larger canvas to rethink the scene.  I started out with the same chiseled rocks that I'd painted in the smaller painting, but after days of carving them out, I realized that they were too geometric, too dominant as shapes and I needed to think more holistically about the experience of the rock beach.

The larger painting has fewer rocks that appear as individuals, and more of a pattern of light and shade.  The rocks further out on the beach are even more vague, which I think does a better job of conveying the scene.

September 3, 2015

Summer Painting

I didn't get nearly enough time to paint this summer, but I did have a few moments when things came together.