The favorite place is nice in real life, but it’s really marvelous in art — more particularly in the process of portrayal. As the picture of the favorite place unfolds and emerges, the sensation is different than being there walking and enjoying the open air. Imaginatively it’s keener than in life. Or, rather, the life experience that I find so arresting comes about from watching bits of pigment attach to paper. The smears, dabs, scratchings, the contours, hatchings and whatnot are all so lovely.
The materials are beautiful. The colors are beautiful. The experience is so immediate and so close at hand.
Above is a detail of a drawing. The whole drawing measures about 8 x 10 inches. I’m drawing with the marvelous Neocolor1 crayons. What wonderful tools these crayons are!
I worked mostly on one new painting this week. This painting of crepe myrtles measures 36 x 48 inches (the size of most the paintings I’ve been doing lately). It’s challenging to photograph. I know that I’ve got the warm/cool color harmonies marvelously balanced when I find that I cannot get all the colors to register accurately. So, it’s one for the collector and the in-person visitor. The predominant color is a rosy salmon color that’s very bright. The foreground is brilliant yellow. It has lots of blue highlights throughout, pale blue-violet clouds, and rich greens for the middle ground foliage.
I need to connect the far right crepe myrtle to the ground and maybe make a few subtle adjustments to this and that, here and there, and it will be complete.
I made some drawings this week too, but my pride and joy is this painting. It has lots of mark making in it.
I feel like Pere Bonnard has been hovering near by. If you like my painting, please share it with your friends. And thank you for reading and looking.
What the sky says about the road is the name I gave this oil painting measuring 24 x 18 inches. It’s going to be in the June exhibit at the Art League in historic Old Alexandria, Virginia starting tomorrow. The exhibit runs through July 1.
I feel an unabashed love for the material appearance of oil pastels (Caran d’Ache Neopastels to be precise). I love to describe somewhat “loopy” forms with them. I love mixing colors by abrasion. I love the way that you can drag one color across another and create as it were almost veils of color.
So even when the situation is stalled (as I make drawings for a painting that I’m unsure how to complete), I can nonetheless love the act of drawing because the materials themselves are so beautiful.
I have rehearsed these forms many times and they still hold my interest. Indeed, it’s stronger than that. They hold me captive.
I continue to resist going forward with my crepe myrtles painting so I make more drawings. The drawing stops on the right because I ran out of motif — would have to invent more landscape to fill that space — which might be an interesting exercise.
So it rains outdoors and rains a little in my head where I lack some of the pizzazz that propels a painting forward. But it’s better to draw, if you’re stuck, than to do nothing. The drawing paper measures 18 x 24 inches.
It can be hard reentering a painting that you like. It’s not complete, but you’re not sure how to take it forward, and you don’t want to screw up the things that you already like. My recent crepe myrtles painting is giving me this sort of trouble.
You can add to my problem one that Mother Nature brings since it seems that she has her own blasé moods. And as the saying goes, “when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Our Big Momma has decided not to freeze us to death (for which I am duly grateful), but she’s not bringing the sunshine out either. On gray days, it’s easy to feel blasé too — caught up in Mother Nature’s morose mood.
So how do you transport yourself into a world of crepe myrtles when so much conspires against you? The fear of failure, the somber light, a paucity of ideas — all make the once intrepid artist feel stumped.
I don’t know about you, but I draw. The drawing may be okay, prosaic, what evah — but today I am all those things too.
Nonetheless moving the lines around the forms helps me find a path back into the painting and it’s better to draw than to sit idly waiting for Mother Nature to get her act together.
I liked the first version a lot and thus was reluctant to have another whack at it right away. And there’s nothing wrong with that: I had plenty of other things to keep me busy.
But it’s undergone another swipe. I still like it. And I still think it needs some further something, though I’m not sure what that something is, so once again I’m briefly setting it aside while I contemplate my next move.