Sunday, January 29, 2012

Aquatic Transparency

I had painted this painting 8x10 in the field about two years ago and at that time I had a pretty good painting except for the area in the foreground, the area where the bottom of the creek showed through the water. I made a mess out of it. So, I took the painting home with the intent of trying to figure out where the wheels feel off.
After much research into painters and paintings I had remembered seeing this done, I tried again in the studio at 12x16. The research consisted of Clyde Aspevig paintings, Carl Rungius paintings, and of course Matt Smith. I remembered quite a few of his that had this effect and in every case they worked and were gorgeous. He has a painting on his website right now called "Shadow Lake Outlet" that is just phenominal.   After looking at it awhile I noticed in it and others, a temperature swing from back to front. Cool sky colors in the background water, transitioning into warm ground colors in the foreground. And close values all the way up to your feet. The biggest issue I had was getting my values too far apart and my foreground too warm. It looked like dry land instead of under the surface.  Still don't know if I nailed it but I am much closer than the previous attempt.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Secret to Painting

There seems to be a rhythm to painting. There is a groove to this that when you are in it it can be very productive and rewarding. And then conversely there is the other. Falling out of the groove. Hitting a wall so to speak. December was a massive unproductive wall for me.
View from the driver's seat.
I painted today with Jason Saunders. He and I used to paint together almost every other day and today was the first time he and I have painted together in months.  And as we painted we compared notes of how our lives right now demand so much attention. Everything from driving a college age kid home from Boston 20 hours straight, to Travel Baseball, which takes ungodly amounts of parental attention. Every weekend. All summer. And we commiserated a bit about trying to stay in the groove. Trying to balance the obligations and distractions of life with a career in art. And I am pretty sure he and I aren't the first two artists to have to deal with it. Just feels like it sometimes.
Jason Saunders
But every time I hit the proverbial wall I remember the best piece of advice, the secret to all of this, that was given to me by Jason. I complained at some point about "the wall" and he turned and said so matter of fact-ly..."push through".
Push through.
There it is. The answer to all of this. Richard Schmid, Sargent, etc., etc. have all lived by this creed. I know without a doubt they have hit the wall over and over and over and what has separated them from those that didn't make it was the ability to push through. Focus and push.
Not quite sure what it is that is going to get me through the wall. I suppose no one artist knows for sure. But I will clear my mind a bit if I can, and focus. And push.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Painting Posse

Got a group of girls here in Nashville that I try and paint with when I can. If you keep up with this post, you'll know them by name. Anne Blair Brown, Bitsy King and Cathleen Windham. Unfortunately we don't get together to paint enough, but when we do it's good.  And we got together today for the first time in awhile and added Tiffany Foss and Denise Hawkins to the mix. Anne suggested East Nasville due to it's urban chic, beautiful streetscapes and unique architecture so made an afternoon of it in some unbelievably windy conditions. I wound up painting a bit of architecture which is out of my norm which again is why I like painting with this group.
There are certain people in this industry that due to their nature and friendship you feel like a better artist because of it. Their work ethic, enthusiasm, commitment and outlook is infectious. It's positive "chi" as Anne would say. That is the posse for me. They are incredibly "gamey" and will go anywhere and paint anything. No whining. Oh, and the fact they can drink their weight in beer is another positive attribute.
Thanks girls for pushing and inspiring.