Wednesday, February 29, 2012

One More Night With Greenbottom

One more night painting on the large canvas of Greenbottom. While it is coming along very well, I think it is time to let it rest a while. It is getting to the point where further work will result in mud. So tomorrow I will not work on either canvas.

Greenbottom Painting at the beginning
of the painting session tonight
This is the painting as it was when I came down stairs to the dungeon tonight. I did not do a lot to it. While the small touches I was adding made sense, I kept working on it, but once I starting looking to things to do and add I knew it was time to let it rest a while.

Should I make it more detailed/realistic or leave it more of an impressionist painting?

Lotus, beginning tonight

Lotus, end of evening

And for the blooming lotus, that too I will let rest. The lotus does need to be brightened, but that can wait. The paint needs to set up a bit more before I can get that glow of the original flower.

The pen and ink drawing can use some more development. I am torn between leaving it simple outlines and working texture into the background. The idea of adding a bit of color ink is inviting too.

Greenbottom, as it stands now.

I want to do at least 2 more drawings and perhaps another painting. Maybe of a lotus that has bloomed and is pushing up the seed cone.

But whatever I decide to do with these paintings, they do need a bit of a rest right now. Tomorrow is class day. I will have classes late, so I will not have time to work on them anyways.

Maybe a few days rest will give my eyes a refresh look at these paintings.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Working on the Greenbottom Project

(Note: Sunday, February 26, 2012)

Watched the academy awards tonight. Did my exercises, all 30 minutes of them. Washed a load of towels and folded did not spindle or mutilate laundry.

Then got out the paint and brushes. Worked for 2 hours trying to get the shades and feelings right on both the detail painting of the water lotus and the larger overview of Greenbottom.

A bit frustrating, but over all, I think it is starting to straighten up.

Speaking of straightening up, I have to adjust my lines of lotus to straighten them up. Water is flat, and they float on the top, At least the bottom edges of each group needs to be fairly level.

Then I will start on bringing on the background, the higher ground in this case. The small rise with the live trees on it, and then add a couple of drowned trees to the mid ground among the lotus plants. I have thought about adding a few birds in the sky, but all in all it sounds a bit hokey.

One of the tools I am loving is a scrapper I got at my fall workshop. Makes correcting mistakes so much easier. No more wiping with paper towels, now the paint lifts off pretty cleanly. It does help that in glazing the paint on the previous layer is fairly well set up. Still, it is nice to be able to correct so quickly and cleanly.

It is so exciting to be making progress on this. The first pen and ink drawing is coming along. Not anywhere finished, but I think shaping up into something that might work.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Updates On The Greenbottom Work

I know I promised you lots of updates on the Greenbottom/ West Virginia wetlands series I want to do, but the work has been going slowly. Yes, oils take a longer time to set up between sessions, but I have also been doing a lot of procrastinations.

Finding time has been a problem, or rather the energy when I have time. Finally, this week I broke down and saw the doctor (now I really am broke! Boy was it expensive!) She gave me some new meds to reduce the inflammation and reduce pain. Now, this is strong stuff, and she made it clear I am not staying on it.

But boy, what a difference a day makes! I had not realized how much strength was being sapped by pain until I realized last night, after 3 hours of catching up on laundry, sorting through and putting away bags of books and art supplies, etc that I still felt like painting a bit.

Although I only worked for a little over and hour, I worked. Progress on both paintings, laid out two more pieces I will be doing in pen and ink and sorted through references for a couple of pencil drawings. There is a lot of work to do, but it no longer seems impossible.

Monday, February 20, 2012

On my Easel February 20, 2012

Worked on the underpainting on the 36x48 inch canvas. I finally got some balance in the layers of color. Dark enough, but not too dark, light enough, but not too light and a wide range of values that will serve to strengthen the overall drama of the landscape.

It was hard to paint over my earlier sketches, completely abandoning the ideas there. It had been a lot of work, but I still think it is the right choice. The earlier sketches were simply more of the same, close-up details of the lotus “field” in various stages of bloom. Now the large canvas is going to be a larger scale landscape of the wetlands of Greenbottom Wildlife Management Area.

Meanwhile, I have continued on the square canvas, the close detail of a lotus about half way to bloom. I am a little happier with the composition now. Still not perfect. But the lotus is larger, and better shaped. The colors are better also. It is developing. It still leans a bit. But it will be balanced later in the painting.  
I do think I will do several smaller canvases, each of a different stage of bloom of these flowers. Make a series and support to the larger landscape.

When I do the larger painting, I will be putting in a lot of blooming lotus, of course, and I will choose some of the areas in the larger painting to bring out in the smaller canvases.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

On My Easel February 18, 2012

I started a couple of paintings. This is normal for me; I seldom work on a single painting, but several. This makes sense, as I tend to work small. Up to now, the largest painting I have done is 16” x 20”. More often I work really small, like 2.5” x 3.5”. But I have this really large canvas. 16” x 48” and I have several 12” x 12” square canvases.

Over the summer Hubby and I went to Greenbottom, a nature preserve along the Ohio River. There the water lotuses were in bloom and I have wanted to do a painting or two of them. The 12 x 12 will be a close up of one of them almost open, with the light coming through.

Sketching it out, the underpainting seemed to go well. The lotus is slightly off center, etc. But the next morning, I was unhappy with it. The water lotus is leaning and I think much too small. Also, the purple/blue combinations I used did not really please me. The water is much deeper blue and the leaves more Thallo green than viridian. But that is what underpaintings are for, to see if you got it right.

I was going to do the larger canvas in an expanded vision of the square canvas. I had it underpainted. I did a detailed drawing, sketched in out on the large canvas but there it sat, I could not make myself start it.

Even after I started the square canvas the large one just sat on the easel. Finally, I decided deep down I did not want to do it. All that minute detail! What was the point, a larger version of what I usually do? What I had set up was in reality simply a very large still life. What’s the point? Deep down I did not want to do this painting, and it was stalling me from doing any painting.

This big canvas calls for large strokes, a bigger vision. So I painted over the first layout, with broad firm strokes of a hazy sky reflected in still waters. This went so quickly I new it was right!