Thursday, July 30, 2009

Enough with 'New Ideas'

I think it's time to say "enough" with this test painting. I had lost interest in it a couple of weeks ago, and then I had my young visitors, so I hadn't returned to it.

Most of the updates concern the foreground: the high weeds around the buildings and the pasture in front.

I didn't do anything with the secondary building to the far left. I think it was a compositional mistake to include it, or at least it was a mistake to let its roof be so dominant and so light.

I played with using white crayon after painting the first yellows for the high weeds to help retain that color and created a more ragged edge for the plants once I brought the reds and mixed blacks of the barn's sides and shadows down against the plant's tops. It wasn't all that successful a technique. I think I would have to use a clearer wax resist to try it again. The white crayon dulled the yellow too much, I think.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Another young painter

Continuing the theme of young painters, I hosted another budding artist over the weekend. Kadie, my 4-year-old niece, worked on an abstract, with an overriding need to cover every inch of white paper with paint. She had an explanation for all the painting's elements, but I admit, she lost me after a bit.

She also completed a crayon portrait, which at times alternated to a landscape, depending on what story she wanted to illustrate. Eyes became ocean, hair shifted to grass.

Isn't art the greatest means to ultimate creativity? Make it whatever you want, as long as it fulfills you as its creator. Paint with a child for a while, and your perception of art will change.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Portrait of the Artist as a Young, Young Man

Today I am proud to display the work of my nephew Zack, who came to stay with me for a few days over the weekend. When he visits, he likes to use my studio (which is only natural since it doubles as my spare bedroom) and paint with Aunt Kristen.

As a six-year-old, Zack is all about color and more color. If it's bright and bold, he likes it. I could use some of his confidence when painting, I think.

He noticed the unfinished barn painting I discussed in my last post propped up along my desk, and decided he wanted to complete a version of the same scene. Amazingly, like me, he decided he was dissatisfied with the foliage in the background, and omitted that part of the scene. So his version has a very airy feel.

As for the rainbow . . . well, on that piece we explored a range of ideas. He was disappointed that his paints only included red, blue, yellow and green (as well as black and white), but I explained that his paints were more than sufficient if he wanted to make a rainbow.

So we employed a few techniques, including painting wet- into-wet, as well as glazing, to create the spectrum of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Violet (we skipped Indigo). We also used those techniques to create the cheery sun in the upper left corner.

The young artist proudly presented the fruits of his labor to his mother yesterday morning. And I look forward to my next painting session with him.

Friday, July 3, 2009

New ideas

I'm trying out some of the ideas from Lynn Ferris' workshop, specifically the idea of mixing colors on the paper rather than on the palette.

I did a fast sketch of this scene on a piece of 140# cold press Arches, stretched over a board. Then I plunged in -- and immediately hated how it was turning out.

But I keep plugging along on this. I have no plans for it -- it's purely an experimental exercise, but it's slowly growing on me.

What I'm most unhappy with is the background foliage. It feels like a flat, green mass, with very little sense of depth.

But what I'm most pleased about are the blacks, the shadows within the building. I'm worked hard with using the complements together there, mixed on the paper. (They're permanent Alizarin Crimson and Pthalo Green, by the way).

So an interesting experiment so far. I'll see how it comes out.