Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thompson Lake Again, and More on Grounds

Here is another small painting done the second afternoon I was at Thompson Lake. It is the same scene as the last post but the view is widened to take in more of the shore. Again, it was done on panel primed with clear acrylic gesso tinted with cadmium red.

Since my aim is to do 100 oil paintings as quickly as possible I decided to use up some pieces of bookboard that are about 1/8" thick. Too thick for the books I make but perfect for doing the little paintings. Most are now primed the warm cadmium red. The red is a good ground color since many of the paintings will be landscapes that are predominantly green. Red, the complement of green makes a nice vibration in those spots that are not covered with paint.

Some panels are primed with white acrylic gesso to which I have added a bit of pumice. The white is appealing since a painting can be blocked in with the color (or its complement) of the subject. As a pastel artist I almost always use white Wallis sanded paper. My process is to block in the painting with pastel and then wet it down "melting" the pastel into the paper. You could get the same effect by doing a watercolor underpainting. At any rate, there is something familiar about looking at a fresh, white panel. And the color just seems to sparkle on it. I have been using the same process with the oils by putting down an underpainting of thinned paint.

Other panels have been primed with the clear gesso (untinted), that way I end up with the natural, gray color of the bookboard. Having a medium value gray makes it easy to establish the values in a painting since your eye is not fooled by the stark white of the ground if that is what you are starting with. I tried one painting on this gray panel today. When I get it scanned I'll post it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Painting and Fishing on Thompson Lake

It was a beautiful day to paint. My husband, Eric, and I spent two afternoons at one of his favorite trout lakes last week. Located off the Gunflint Trail in northern Minnesota, Thompson Lake is one of those catch-and-release lakes that is small enough for me to have several good views to choose from. Today the sun was getting low and I turned my easel toward the west.

The sun was streaming in through the trees. A shaft of light was coming through the bushes near the bottom of this painting and the scene just glowed. Next time, if I try this view again in my studio, I'll jack up the yellow in the sun lit areas.

This painting was done on a panel primed with acrylic gesso tined with cadmium red. Most of the red is obliterated except for a some along the top and a tad near the bottom. It would have been better to leave a bit more. I've done about 25 paintings since my worshop in August. The practice helps!

And yes, my husband really does fish while I paint. I took this shot just before I packed up by easel. That speck near the far shore in Eric in his float tube with fly-rod in hand.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Two More Oranges

Lots of painting and drawing this week. The oils are getting easier and easier to handle. But it was not without many frustrating moments.

When things were not going well and I was getting discouraged I did two things: I went back to what I can do and that is to draw in graphite. Having some successes with a medium I know well gave me the lift I needed to try again with the oils. Second, rather than paint outside and deal with the changing light, I set the orange up in my studio where I had control over the lighting. Same subject as the last post: an orange on orange paper.

Then I had yet another go at the orange:

In each painting there is a lesson learned.
Yesterday I was back painting outside in the park across the street. Now with the added "brush miles," i.e practice, dealing with changing light went better than the last outside session.
The take-away is: keep painting. And, when all else fails, eating a little chocolate doesn't hurt. Or, to celebrate success, have a chocolate. For those who didn't remember--yesterday, September 4, was World Chocolate Day.