Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Painting and music are almost the same thing

15"x30" Acrylics on stretched canvas $325
If you're interested in this painting, please contact me at patriciaryanart.

While I was working on this one, I couldn't stop thinking how much painting a picture is like recording a song. Take out the words colors, hues, tints, shades, intensity, and replace them with words like notes, chords, harmony, volume, and tempo, and you're essentially talking about the same process. It starts with your imagination, you make all the forms and put them together, then you balance them against each other, adapting each one. Then you spend the rest of the time perfecting each bit, integrating it into the whole, and then perfecting the thing as a whole.

As I was doing the final tweaking of the lines and angles, I also thought how that was just like editing a piece of writing, checking for typos, homonyms, and the gremlins of print.

One problem I did not have with this piece was my usual wavering. Whenever I came to a spot I wasn't sure how to deal with, I just thought of it as a piece of music and that helped me see what I wanted to do with that particular bit.

I started my next one this morning, and it's also going to look different from the ones before it, but still blue and orange. In fact, I had to order more paint this morning.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Exploring (Exploding!) complementary color combinations

Yellow Backbeat With A Rising Cadence
8"x16" Acrylics on canvas panel $125
To purchase this painting, click HERE.

After finishing this new one last night, I'm thinking I'm just going to stay with blue and orange for a while. The moods of these last two paintings are so different that I'm wondering just how much range you have within a two-member complementary color scheme. It was a real revelation to stop thinking of pairing single colors in favor of pairing their whole families. (Thank you again, Robert Burridge.) Not just orange, but yellow-orange, red-orange, gold, and citrine (green-orange), paired with true blue, pthalo blue, cyan, greenish blue, violet-blue. Take all those shades and multiply them by a few different values, from pale to darkest, and you have a forest of colors to play with.

It's like throwing a party for your favorite couple, and inviting all their interesting friends to come too.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Painting music

Blue Projection
8"x16" Acrylics on canvas panel
To purchase this painting, click HERE.

While I was working on my last painting, I went to Bob Burridge's website and watched a lot of his videos. I've always enjoyed his figurative series; they're very personal, original, and of course brilliantly colored. I was wishing (again) that I could come up with a personal theme for a series that would last me more than a few ideas. There was some particularly interesting jazz playing on KMHD, and this image appeared in my head that I knew was a visual representation of the song I was listening to, and it was as interesting to me as the song was. I thought, I love music, I should paint how music sounds to me. It felt like the best idea I'd had in years.

I let the idea incubate while I finished up Council Crest, then made my first attempt. It didn't look appealing at all until the second pass when I started layering the colors, and from that point I just got more and more into weaving the two main color groups together. It does not look much like my original idea, so I have to keep trying for that, but that's a problem I'm happy to have.

It's been a long time since I've painted an abstract anything, and I've really enjoyed the freedom of doing one again. I really do need the practice in working playfully and experimentally, and it's so much more relaxing to do that when there's no limit to the liberties you can take.

The color scheme owes a lot to Bob Burridge's examples and his goof-proof color wheel, and his message about painting for fun can't be repeated often enough. I regularly visit his website when I'm looking for inspiration.

Finished, eight years later...

Council Crest
10"x30" Acrylics on stretched canvas $300
If you're interested in this painting please contact me at patriciaryanart.

I started this painting several years ago after a trip up to Council Crest Park in Portland in the winter of '08-'09. I taped six photos together to make a panorama and got the painting about three-fourths done and realized I didn't have the skills to finish it. I picked it up a couple weeks ago and began painting on top of it, adding details and glazing more colors.

I've changed a lot of things about the way I paint in the last two years, so I didn't do much messing with the parts I liked. I finally finished it yesterday and it feels good to be done with it.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Just a little bit off can look a lot wrong

The Lotus Pond
12"x16" Acrylics on linen panel $175
You can purchase this painting HERE.

It took me what seemed like a long time to get the right color balance on this one. Mostly it was too light, but the greens were off, the reds were off, and the grays on the wall were really hard to get right. I reworked the shrubs above them a few times without making them look good, and it wasn't until I noticed in the reference photo that the bottom half of the wall was a shade darker than the top. When I made that correction, that whole area clicked. Getting the highlights on the top of the balusters light enough, the roof color right, and the background dark enough finally made the painting look like it was in bright sunlight. At last!

This was a really good lesson in how little it takes to keep a painting to come together, and you just have to keep looking for those tiny adjustments to get the look you want.