Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I've returned to this painting after a long hiatus from it and am starting to make some design adjustments. There are still more to come, but I believe the focal point to be developed is the interaction between the hand and the swan's beak. After some reflection I think this is because of it's reference (or rather, my decision to make it a refernce) to Michelangelo's God touching the hand of Adam. Because I got into painting from looking at other paintings when I was a child, I can sometimes be consciously, but hopefully not obviously, referential.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I've discovered a couple of things about how we see that can be used in painting. One is if you want a birch tree, for example, to glow blue you don't have to paint the whole thing blue. It's better to lay on blue paint selectively, then let the eye do the work of spreading the color, making it more vital and alive.
The other thing is that when colors are closer together in value (lightness and darkness), our brains can't interpret where the objects are as readily as if there was greater value contrast. This causes the things in the painting we're looking at to shift forward and back as the brain tries to determine what is where, creating a rustling effect, like we would feel in the woods.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The day after my partner's nephew's wedding in CT the family was trading Ziplock bags of family photos. One photo that passed by me captivated my brain and I kept a close watch on it to make sure it was going home with us.
The slightly yellowed colors gave it a unity, the random cropping had stumbled into some kind of non-linear narrative and geese are one of my recuring themes anyway. I immediately knew the painting's size was to be 36"x22". I had a stretched linen already prepared and Monday morning I adjusted the design and roughed it out in grissaille, a practice I rarely do but there were drawing complexities involved and wanted to lock in the composition. This way I hope to concentrate on the color design when I'm painting.
A found photograph is like any found object or subject for painting except that it's already reduced to two dimensions. The challenge is to use the photo, like any subject matter, as a point of departure and not to copy it, but to try and find what triggered my interest and to explore that.
Posted by David Smith at Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
It's usually good to free myself from the motif even on site, or in this case to play with the painting later in the studio. This can free me up to explore, using the model or motif as a point of departure. Being February in Vermont, it also reminds me of summer in Maine.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Working the on site sketch and the larger piece (old copper roof flashing glued on birch plywood) at the same time. This is one way to approach a painting, to discover things while developing the sketch and working the larger painting simultaneously, and also discovering things on the larger one and using those discoveries on the "sketch". And it's unclear which one will become dominant. Painting, to me, is not a linear process.
Posted by David Smith at Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
While we're on the subject of re-do's, another painting I reworked late fall was this one, a painting from 2002. I believed in the concept strongly enough that it blinded me to the fact that the painting as it was couldn't support it. A year later I put it away and didn't show it again. I pulled it out early this fall, still believing in the concept, and saw what I could do with it. Sometimes a painting has to go away for a long time so that when I look at it again I can see shortcomings or strengths more clearly.
It's Superbowl Sunday and I was reading about Bruce Springsteen, something about his desire to create "durable" songs. Art is a product of the time it was created in, but I liked that utilitarian description of his, art meant to stand on its own, weathering changing times and interactions with changing audiences. That's what all of us makers of things would like, to make something durable.
Friday, January 30, 2009
This painting was originally finished in 2002. In this case that means I didn't know what else to do with it. It never worked the way I wanted it to; there was a static quality to the design and the point of view was slightly from above, not as it should be if you were standing in the snow and came upon the scene. Still, I thought the concept was worth persuing and sometimes our abilities catch up to our ideas. I simplified it, altered the point of view and found that maybe now I can exhibit it.
Friday, January 16, 2009
In exposing the set up of the pose, I was interested in the abstract qualities of the light stand, blanket, the model, her street shoes; elements only in partial view and cut by the edges of the painting.
It's twenty below outside so I offer a work in progress, a painting that's been gestating since I saw the motif in Florida last February. I was captivated by an orchid hothouse there with mysterious blossoms and vaguely sinister root tendrils and I want to capture that primordial steaminess locked in a human-made environment. I'll post this again as it progresses.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
It's winter now. Today there was too much to do so unfortunately no painting time. Instead I will cheat and offer a summertime view. This is a motif from Cap Code, the same one I'm painting in the photo on the right. It's a motif that has called to me over and over with it's constantly changing play of light in the sky and water. I crave to burn the sun into paintings but they have to live their own lives separate from the real glories of the world. It's the difference between the range of luminosities of about 12 for paints and perhaps several thousand in life. That is the challenge of painting light.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
No painting today. Our next door neighbor died Sunday morning in a farm accident. Instead I post this painting from a few years ago of a sparrow that had smashed against my window. I placed it, along with Peterson's bird book, on a sheet of paper as a reverie on death, life and our drive to document it.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Saturday was cold but the sun was out and it blazed behind the silhouette of an old barn with a cage of trees in the forground. This is a sketch for a larger painting idea.
The blue I usually use is cobalt, a cooler landscape painter's blue, but the shadows on snow seem to be a warmer color than the lit areas, so for the winter I tend toward ultramarine- a redder blue. It keeps me warmer, too.