Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"Winter Whites"

"Winter Whites" - 12"x12"

Merry Christmas!

I am pleased with the painting that I used for my Christmas cards this year. Normally I use a tiny little painting that's no larger than the image size that ends up on my 5x7 cards. This year, I tried something very different, and painted a large painting, 12x12.

I also used some different techniques - namely in reserving some of the whites. I have done a very limited experiment in the past with white crayons to reserve an area of whites, and I don't think it worked very well because of the opaque nature of the white crayon.

This time, I got a pack of clear wax crayons specifically designed for use with artists' materials, and that's what's reserving most of the white areas of the snow-covered foliage on the embankment above the roadway. There's a bit of that treatment in the background trees above the house as well.

Most of the foreground snowbank is made of areas that I painted around with a large brush, as is the snow-covered roof of the house. In fact, I used no masking fluid anywhere on this painting, which is a first for any of my snowy scenes.

Other lighter areas were created by dropping water into fresh paint, which created lovely blossom effects (good for lacy bits of vegetation). I really wanted a loose feel with this painting, and I think I managed that. I really feel that I am fussing far too much on some paintings, and it's sapping vitality from the final product.

I felt reinforced in that belief a few weeks ago after seeing the new Van Gogh exhibition at the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. called "Repetitions," which examines Van Gogh paintings where he completed the same composition multiple times. Generally, I always felt that I preferred the earliest versions of these series because they seemed fresher and more energetic.

I'm also pleased that multiple people have correctly recognized the location of this painting, even though I have changed elements to improve the composition. That indicates that I've got the essence of the scene, with minimal hand-wringing. I'll call that a success!

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