Tuesday, May 14, 2013

At last... back at the easel !

I am back with my Back Bay Painting today and it has taken lots of courage and time to go back to my sketches, notes and some photos to become reacquainted with my subject.  Getting the emotions back are the real key as I re-join all the smells, colors and feelings that led me to this idea in the first place.  Once a painting gets "cold" it takes time and creative courage to go back, but the rewards are so good. 

I danced and "nested" as I arranged all the materials for the painting.  The canvas went on the easel and the sketches on the table.  I squeezed a fresh palette and put all the little notes and photos in my thinking chair.  I then went out to do another job and when I came back it all began to feel more familiar.  This is how it is done....

Take it in small steps just like I teach in the classes.  That means the sky is the first thing to be painted.  I wanted it not too bright since I will want my fish houses and boats to steal the show with lots of crisp warm white and sharp detail. 

The colours are better than they show in my photo, but they are muted and a wonderful family of warm blue-greys.  Grey is the artist' best colour as it will make the crisp clean colours looks like they are plugged in.
If you have ever taken my painting class, you know the wonderful technique I have for painting skies.  It is simple without being over-worked.  Fresh relaxed brush work for the best effect is key.  as I always say, "colours that are over-brushed or mixed are great for the bedroom wall but deadly to a painting."  We women feel that the harder we work at anything the better it is..... wrong!

You can see the distant marsh vegetation I began to put in.  Careful here.  The colors have to be "greyed" as well or they will steal the show from the subject yet to be painted.  Like in good music, they are just great backup.

I love painting distant island and marshes.  The dead trees, the warm grasses and the delicate textures are best done with a cheap bristle brush.  Hobby Lobby has sets of these for just a few dollars. 
                     Be sure you have a good collection in your quiver.

Note:   I read a review on the web about the brushes at Hobby Lobby and the lady has no idea what she revealed about her ability.... she berated the Master's Touch brushes, but it isn't the brush as much as it is 
the artist!

To draw a dead tree in the distance, let the trunk be darker than the top branches.  Add white to the trunk colour.... something you do NOT do when painting a tree up close.  White has a way of killing colour.  It is like adding chalk.  Learn to use this to your advantage.  To keep "life" in a colour but wanting to lighten it, add another color... not white.

The next part of my painting will be the subject area which is the white strip toward the middle left of my canvas, but with all the white canvas where the water will be throws my eye off so I have chosen to do an "underpainting" of the water.  I used my 1" wide Master's Touch synthetic bristle brush to lay in a "family" of water colours.  Look closely and you can see how that is done mostly in a vertical stroke.  Also notice that the water gets darker the closer it get to the viewer.  This keeps it from looking like a bedroom wall... there's that example again!

I will let the paint rest for the night.  I have used "Liquin" by Winsor Newton as my medium and it will dry quickly.
 In the morning, I will begin my ceremony of going back to work by cleaning up my palette while glancing at the painting and thinking only about what I will paint next.

One small bite at a time.  

Nibble, nibble and you won't choke with fear and frustration...
I look forward to painting the big oak tree on the distant dock and the old rusty tin fish house.

I can now feel the breeze, smell the Gulf and hear the birds. 
This is great.  I am now back in Pascagoula having one of the best days in my life. 

Painting is a great form of worship.  The awe of life and the beauty of the earth, what a way to spend a day celebrating life.