Friday, October 14, 2016

More inventing = More fun ( Plus, SALE Announcement Below!)

Dog Made Of Moonlight
The moon dog is finished! For quite a while I wasn't sure I could scale up my 8"x10" sketch to 18"x24" and have it be interesting at all—it was such a simple design that it looked rather empty, like a dinner plate with two croutons on it. I was ready to paint over it and start again on a smaller panel when I finally got an idea to break the background into horizontal strips and just apply the paint within the strips. Desert landforms frequently have a noticeable horizontal aspect to them, with their different-colored strata and contours. I used a 7/8" brush and worked quickly and roughly, sticking to my color triad of red-violet, blue-green, and yellow-orange—plus blue which didn't belong but I liked it anyway—and making the values a bit on the imaginary side. I stopped trying to make it look realistic, settling on making it attractive and interesting as my main goal.

I was initially surprised by how much the rough, blocky strokes evoked the feeling of rocky bluffs, and it was fun playing inside the lines—sort of like taking the rules and using them to cheat, exploiting a design element in an unrealistic way to emulate the natural features of desert cliffs and canyons. I wasn't sure how best to use the two main colors so I just kept interleaving them, varying the values to support the overall design. As with my other recent paintings, a lot of my inspiration came from Bob Burridge—"If you don't like the direction, turn left and and keep going."

Like my sun dog, this lady is a spirit, made purely of moonlight, with an ethereal, reflective quality; an observer and thinker, far-seeing and wise.

I'm painting so much now my studio is crammed full and I'm running out of room!!


Saturday, October 8, 2016

A loose-ish landscape

This was my only painting of Villa Catalana this year. I missed the paintout because of the too-hot weather, but took several photos of their blue gazebo a week before. I worked on this for a week before setting it aside to work on my dog paintings, and just picked it back up last week. It was close to being finished but really lacked any dynamics; it just sat there on the panel, too flat and dull. I thought some yellow and yellow-green might lift it, and that worked, contrasting nicely with the darks and adding to the feel of late afternoon light.

I got really brave and added a couple figures in the background to balance the structures on the right.

I had fun painting the reflections, keeping all the foliage and trees loose and poorly defined, using them more as a color foil for the blue tiles and red-brown soil. But I couldn't manage to leave the structures as loose as the rest; I don't yet know how to do loose structures.