Saturday, May 31, 2008

May 31 - Finished up the River Acrylic

How fun to put the finishing details on a canvas that already is moving well! At this point in the painting project, I'm using my brush to bring your eye where I want it to go--having decided that the high contrast point where the big rock slips into the water is the most important place. The sharpest edge is there, the shapes of sun and shadow are repetitive (think light and dark side) and if you'll squint at the composition, you'll see that the highest contrast is at that point. Everything else is subordinate to that place--which also happens to be close to the "Rule of Thirds" (intersection of lines dividing the canvas into thirds horizontally and vertically).

The richness of the acrylics layered one upon another without negating the under layers is one of the reasons I love the medium. Just like the forest itself, made up of thousands of different layers of leaves, sunshine and shadow.

Perhaps you already see the tension created by the lack of vertical and truly horizontal lines in the composition? I wanted the illusion of time passing, and leaning diagonals create the feeling of movement through space and time, unlike strict verticals. Even the "flat" water doesn't have any true horizontals!

This 12 x 9 acrylic is available from me for $275 via Paypal, delivered to your door.

Congratulations to collector Debbie Sullivan on her purchase of the acrylic "Playing Catch" (didn't have that title back in Georgia!) depicted below.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

May 29 - Continuing the Acrylic

Here is where some of the subtle magic starts! With the additional layers of acrylic brushwork, the painting starts to get a feeling of three dimensions, much like the way we actually focus our eyes when looking at nature.

The layers of brush work over the water area are now horizontal, indicating the flow of the surface. You'll remember that first I laid down the vertical strokes to indicate the reflections on the smooth surface--now I put in the actual movement of that water with the horizontals.

Still no details... Remember, the painting has to be interesting at every stage (except for the "Uglies" when a painting has a large focal point awaiting an appearance!). This painting never had an "Uglies" stage, because there is no really strong focal point to create confusion.

On other news, I've decided to not do the June workshop here at my studio--I'm finding I need some more time to adjust to schedules and demands... I am working on a painting of a recently departed aikidoist and friend, as a gift for my teacher. I am also working on TWO panels for the Mural Mosaic project, in Canada. You can view the panels that have already been submitted for the Horse mural by visiting their site. It is fun and I'll post the project as it unfolds. I'm working on General Lee's horse Traveler as my subject. I visited his grave in Virginia a couple years ago, and really liked that horse.

And then there's the 24 x 36 waiting to be started!!

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

May 28 - Plein Air Demonstration Continues

Here's the next step in the painting on location of the rocks in the Amicalola River in Dawson National Forest. In the upper tree area, I am scumbling the paint onto the dry layers to give me reference for the details that follow. I like to make large shapes and then drive them down into the smaller shapes when I use acrylics. Heck, I like to do that with oils, too! Acrylics' ability to separate the layers does create a good deal of excitement in the textures that show up as one layer goes over another. I don't like to completely obliterate what has happened in those lower layers.

The energy of the brushwork is still quite alive and well at this stage. I have not done any glazing yet. Glazing (using paint thinned with medium) will bind and unify the composition, and also tie together areas of the painting that might not be unified without it.

Notice how my brushwork direction makes pathways for your eyes to follow. Mark-making is how we as artists give the viewer much more than a source photograph.

Congratulations to new collector Fran Carson of Grand Island, Nebraska on her purchase of "The Kind Eye" (Clydesdale).

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