Monday, September 28, 2015

Photo, Study, Painting

Briefly, my process...

Starting with a reference photo, I talk to myself about why I want to paint this scene. This is a photo of Roberts Road in our town of Black Diamond. It is on the route between my Grandma Benedetti's house (she is long gone but the house remains) and the cemetery where she and my aunts and uncles are buried. Now that we have moved to this area, I drive this road often on my way to the post office and library. I have built-in emotion for the scene. I like the way the road dips as it goes over the creek that is bordered by lush foliage of native trees and brush. I like the way the house on the left peeks through. I like the tops of the trees - big and loose. I like the grasses and shadows and most importantly, I can imagine painting this scene. But, I also can easily envision how I might become immersed in detail and include too much detail with small sharp strokes or the spattering I have become so fond of. I know the formula that works: Start with the large shapes and work to the detail but be sensitive and aware of WHEN TO WALK AWAY before it becomes labored and picky.

I'm a big fan of small studies as you may have noticed on my Daily Paintworks Gallery. I use the studies to work out composition, value, color, etc. So before embarking on a 13 x 13 inch finished painting of this scene, I painted a small study and as I write this it is in its final hours on the Daily Paintworks. Sold

I cropped the reference photo scene to a square format and painted (quickly and with abandon) my interpretation of the scene. Got the dip in the road, got the loose, breezy trees, put in an indication of the building. I like it!  I like it so much that Study#2 of this scene is not going to happen so I moved on to my larger painting. The paper of both paintings is my new favorite, Pastelmat but I didn't have a large enough piece of the same color so I chose a warmer hue for the larger painting. Pastelmat doesn't have a deep tooth to hold lots of pastel so I laid in the big dark shapes of the trees with an oil wash. I would love to be able to make the bold strokes of color that appear in the small study but I am limited by the width of my pastel sticks.

Roberts Road, Black Diamond, WA - pastel - 13 x 13 inches
Several things changed in the larger painting - the most obvious is that there is more emphasis on the road instead of on the house. I saw this happening and was OK with it. It is up to each artist to decide what they learned from their study and how closely they choose to follow it in the finished painting. Overall, it has a more finessed look but I stopped myself before including much detail. This painting is scheduled for a show at Scott Milo Gallery, Anacortes, WA in Dec 2015/Jan 2016.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Study #1 for a larger work

I was curious to know if I could do an underpainting on Pastelmat. Seems to work. I used an oil paint wash to tone white Pastelmat.

Study #1, pastel, 6 x 6 inches

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Red Barn - the larger version

Red Barn larger version Step 1
I'm painting for a couple fall/winter gallery shows. This time it is Red Barn again with the little study to guide me. I photocopied the little study and drew guidelines on it to help me transfer the scene to an 11x15 inch format.

Red Barn, pastel, 11 x 15 inches

Monday, September 14, 2015

Red Barn Progression

Red Barn, pastel, 5x7 inches Available   

Red Barn, pastel, 5x7 in virtual frame

Sure Mount

Judy commented on yesterday's post asking what adhesive I use to mount pastel paper to Gatorbord. Here it is. When it arrived, the jug had leaked all over the instruction label so I had to Google how to use it. Can't remember now but I just Googled it and found this information.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Study#2 for Tucked Away

Study#2 - Tucked Away, pastel, 9x6 inches
​As much as I loved the angles of the buildings in Study#1 for Tucked Away, they kept getting in my way as I tried to simplify the scene. I used a vertical format this time to emphasize what the story is about (the "tucked away" house). Different paper, different application of pastel. 9x6 inch image, Wallis mounted on Gatorbord.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A study challenge in simplification

I have a reference photo of an old farmhouse off the main highway, down a dirt road around a fenced pasture, between outbuildings and suddenly, an uphill driveway to the main house. Definitely "tucked away."

Study - Tucked Away, pastel, 5x7 inches Sold
Love all the angles and planes, reflected color. I will continue simplifying this scene for a larger work.        
My September update

Monday, September 7, 2015

filling frames

I'm still bonding with my new studio. When we first arrived here, I jammed everything I didn't want to deal with into my storage room. Suddenly, it is Fall and I have to begin painting for a couple upcoming gallery shows so I have to get organized. I pulled everything out of the storage room, repositioned the shelving unit to a different wall and ordered a work table to go along the wall where the shelf had been. I left my collection of frames in the main room of the studio beside my drafting table so I would have to look at it daily and do something about it. I culled those with imperfections - I thought I would use them someday for personal work. That left about 50 frames, wood and metal, some with mat and glass.

I was excited to paint a larger version of my Chicken Coop study and use a frame I had on hand but the first frame I pulled out of a box had a mat and glass in horizontal format instead of the vertical format of the small study. Well, an added challenge, that's okay.

When I begin a new painting, I almost always take step x step photos but then when the painting process gets exciting, I forget to stop and take photos so there are only three below. They will give you an idea of how I begin a pastel when I don't use an under painting. This painting was FUN, maybe because I was so fond of the little Chicken Coop study. This is a scene from our new, more rural neighborhood. I love it here.

Chicken Coop, pastel, 11 x 15 inches

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

One more

Reference photo for Brambled
A few days ago I painted the street-side of this little ivy and bramble covered house and named it "Forgotten." Today, using this reference photo of the side view, I painted "Brambled" in a 6x6 inch format. See the painting below then use the Daily Paintworks Magnifier.

Brambled, pastel, 6x6 inches