Sunday, October 30, 2011
This work is often called a 'painter's sketch'. I did it below Burnt Dam this afternoon. It's a small 8x10 painting, and I cracked it off in little more then an hour.
Plein air painting has a certain rushing quality about it. There's not a lot of time available for thoughtful consideration and planning. You look, spread your paints onto your palette, then click and shoot.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
I was deep into an art talk the other day, when a friend and I discussed how this work has elements of the traditional Renaissance style with the subject arranged within a rectangular form. Take a careful look at this work. Do you see the big rectangle in the water? Check out the upper corner of the rectangle - where the focal point is. Here is the uncanny thing. I didn't plan it. It happened without forethought.
Stroke for stroke this work took me longer to paint then any other painting of this size that I have ever done. If I could peel off the successive layers I might be able to pull back a dozen different paintings. But, as my father used to say, long ago..."If a job is worth doing, its worth doing right."
Friday, October 21, 2011
This little work has been cooking on the back burner for a couple of months. It began with me sketching above burnt dam, and it ended when the leaves were turning colour. I was searching for that late season colouring, when the trees for the most part were wearing their yellow/green foliage. I intentionally gave the foreground tree its red tones so it would dominate the scene. There is also a lot of blurring in its leaves to suggest that the branches are shaking in the wind.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
I wonder if this unknown man is looking at the blue ribbon painting above him. I would like to think so, but who really knows?
The paintings you see were part of the Norwood Fair's art display. I had been tempted to enter a painting or two in the show, for the last 3 years, but I held back. The truth is - there lurks beneath the surface of this mild mannered painter, a fiercely competitive being. I knew that if I entered my works before my time, I wouldn't stand a chance. But, for some reason - this seemed like the right time.
The show went well for me. I picked up 8 ribbons from the 12 pictures I submitted, and the three, ribboned works you see above, are my paintings.
I now see myself at the cusp in my local development. Its time for me to notch it up. Those who know me, know that I have studied under several artists and have dedicated myself to thousands of hours of painting. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book the Outliers, says that it takes 10,000 hours for someone to develop advanced skills. I have painted for 6 years - 5 of which were exclusively in watercolours. And, I have put in thousands of dedicated hours. Some of my works are excellent, some are ordinary and some should never see the light of day. I have pushed my developing skills to my limits and have just recently joined two large regional art societies.
This may well be my last showing in the Norwood Fair. I am ready for new challenges. I believe that it is patently unfair for an skilled painter to intentionally show a dozen works in competition with less accomplished, and most likely beginning painters. Its unfair because it removes from beginning artists, the opportunity of experiencing the joy of possibly winning in a local competition. That is just not right.
But, let me add this. It was sure fun while it lasted.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
This unusual watercolour has taught me a valuable lesson about painting. I have always had a feel for this work. It is one of those "odd works". I wanted to somehow capture the loneliness and desolation and coldness of the far north in the winter. So, as I began painting it, I began to imagine what it would be like for the Cedar Trees to give the general impression that they were somehow human - almost like three old women caught by the grip of winter.
I hung this work in my home and it seems to me that 90% of the viewers have an immediate reaction to it. Most people don't like it.
But the strength of their reactions intriqued me, and I wondered what there was about this work that created such a strong emotional reaction. And if it did, was it not reaching inside the viewers at a deeper, subconscious, level.
After some deliberation, I chose this work for the open watercolour class of the local country fair.
When I submitted it for judging, I was surprised at the quality of overall works. But, once it as entered, I left it to do its job.
True to form, The Island of the Old Women came through with the same reactive force as it had on my wall at home. Only this time, it caught the attention of the judges and it took a first place ribbon.
Strange how it goes.
I will display each of my prize winning pictures in subsequent postings.
Monday, October 3, 2011
I began this work a year ago and it has its genesis from a location a few kilometers north of here.
It was a joy to capture the glorious colour of autumn in such a setting. The painting is one of my big works, 31"x 39". It is rich with colour and it has a good depth to it.