Sunday, May 27, 2012

And More Thick Paint

"Back Alley Sunshine", 9 x 12, oil on linen board

I have to say I really like working with the thick paint.  I like the texture and it is a lot more fun to push the paint around on the canvas.  I decided to work with a limited palette so that I could focus on just the brushwork in this painting.  I forgot how many grays you can get with  just a few colors plus black.  This was done with Cad Yellow Medium, Cad Red Light, Alizarin Permanent, Ultramarine and Mars Black.  A lot of painters do not use black and I think, for the most part, it is not necessary or helpful to use it when painting landscapes plein air.  If used as a low saturated blue, however, I think it helps create mood and atmosphere with a wider range of grays.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New Pastel: "Artisinal Waiter"

"Artisinal Waiter", 12 x 12, pastel on sanded paper

This is the fourth in a series of paintings based on a  trip to the restaurant "Artisinal" in NYC a couple of months ago.  I love this restaurant:  it has such a classic French bistro feel.  I am also working on some cityscapes and have decided to make the "New England Lobster Fellas" a series as well since I will be in Newport all summer.  I really focused on just the shapes in this painting.  I did a very abstract "notan" underpainting and used a fairly limited palette of pastels.  I'm pretty happy with it though the red violet of the curtains looks much more blue due to the contrast with the orange hues next to it.  I may go back in and push the red a bit more to keep the harmony.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Newport Lobsterman Again

"Newport Lobsterman II", oil on linen panel, 8 x10

The lobsterman paintings may become a series but I won't commit yet.  Two does not make a series!  There is so much material to paint from the New England lobster boats.  The boats are usually small and neutral colored but the bright gear that the men wear and the trap buoys create a colorful and appealing scene.  The challenge is to narrow down the elements to create a cohesive painting.  There is almost too much to work from.   In this painting, I focused on the center man in the orange gear.  I liked the positive and negative shapes created by the overlapping figures. There was actually a lot more going on here but I simplified the composition to focus on the main shapes and concentrate the brightest color around the focal area.   I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Revisiting Old Paintings

"Pears on a Pedestal", pastel on sanded paper, 8 x 10

I am sorting through all my plein air paintings, pastels and every other piece of paper or canvas I've been keeping for the last several years that are not framed or in a gallery.  I keep all of my unframed pastels paintings and sketches in a few large notebooks. I tape the paper onto a sheet of the notebook and cover with a piece of glassine.  It usually works well but I have been carrying these large notebooks with me everywhere for the past few years and some of the paintings are getting smudged.  In addition to the notebooks, I have two large plastic bins of all the oil plein airs that are not framed or should have been scraped off to begin with.  I have been pretty ruthless about sorting out the piles into the fixable and the non-fixable.  There were more non-fixables than I am ready to admit!  The oil panels will be covered with Gamblin Oil Ground which is a pain to do but results in a "like new" surface.  The Wallis paper will be brushed off and reused and the paintings on the homemade paper will be thrown away.  I have a pretty decent sized pile of fixables so it may take a while.  The above painting was done last summer when I was going through a "still life on bright colored fabric" phase (it didn't last long).  I was happy with the pears and the serving piece but I had placed the dish on a very bright green and purplish blue striped cloth.  It was very distracting from the main focal point:  the pears.  I used a few big soft pastels in analogous colors of blue green, blue and a slightly purplish gray blue to lightly cover the stripes.  I think it works much better now.  It has won a reprieve from the circular file . . . for now.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cape Cod Pastel Show 2012

"Lobsterman", 9 x 12 pastel on sanded paper

I'm pleased to announce that my pastel painting "Lobsterman" has been accepted into the Cape Cod Pastel Society's national juried show "For Pastels Only 2012".  The show runs for three weeks in July in Yarmouth.  I'll post more information on time and place as we get closer to the date.  There will be an opening on June 30th for those of you lucky enough to be on vacation in beautiful Cape Cod that week!

Monday, May 14, 2012

More Thick Paint

"Sunny Breakfast"  6 x 6, oil on linen

I continue with the thick paint experiment.  I really like the process of painting this way.  It's a lot more fun than having to worry about lines and layers.  I liked the way this little study came out but the question is how it would stand up to being painted much larger (30 x 30).   I tried a couple of rainy day cityscape studies today and the alla prima thick paint technique did not work out so well.  The reflections and wet surfaces require more transparency than I was able to achieve with a loaded brush so I scraped my board a couple of times and will try again tomorrow.