I have some plans for a largish painting that will feature an abundant amount of red. I think about it often. The studio is set up for other things at present, so I have to finish those first. But for my “warm ups” I have begun doing small pictures that are very red.
It’s fun. It’s thrilling — to have a few bits of the much longed for experience. I love playing around with colors.
The painting at the top measures 9 x 12 inches. The lower on is 8 x 10. Both are painted with acrylics.
Behind the finished paintings are lots and lots of drawings and sketches and what not. It’s all fun, except for when it’s not. But even when it’s not fun — if not fun in the right now — it’s fun later. I don’t think that has anything to do with art — that’s more about just living. Eckhart Tolle has some interesting ideas on the subject ….
What I mean, though, is that in my paintings I have ideas about what I want, but I don’t always know how to get there. In my indecisive states, I turn to my tools and make lots of trials. Since I often paint from life, it means sitting in front of the things and simply making color/drawing decisions.
Let’s put this here. Could as easily start with it being there, but here seems good. What if it’s this big. Okay, if it’s this big then that thingy is that big. (I think.) I believe it’s this color. Oops, no it’s more a fill-in-the-blank (cooler, darker, lighter, warmer, bluer, etc.) And so on, and so on.
I have begun thinking of them as rehearsals. Sometimes they’re even casting calls. Sometimes an object just isn’t working out … (So sorry, seashell, you’ve been great in other pictures but … um … you’re just not right for this one. Sorry. I’ll call you!)
Anyway, there are many versions of things. They end up in all stages of finish or unfinish. They help me think.
Several times already I have drawn the objects that are going to appear in “the big painting” of previous posts. I draw and redraw the objects. Drawing them is like solving an enjoyable puzzle. Each iteration reveals different facets of the objects. Redrawing them is like rehearsing a part in a drama. Soon when the time comes to put them actually into the painting, they will already seem very familiar in their shapes and forms.
I have a little table where the objects are stationed that simulates the expansive table portrayed in the painting. I shift them around into slightly differing relationships trying to find the one pattern that connects them well to each other.
These aren’t permanent drawings. They are instead big sketches. Art ephemera. The one above is on a 24 x 18 inch sheet. But they help me find the solutions I need.
Drawing and redrawing the motif to get myself revved up to continue painting — on this:
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.
Here’s the painting I’m endeavoring to unstick:
I am redrawing things that are in the painting, reconnecting myself with individual parts of the motif to get myself ready to continue working on it, stitching the parts more securely together — or preparing to do so — since the real discoveries will happen on the painting’s own surface. These are just ideas.
So I redrew the roses and then added the top of the clump of hydrangeas below these roses, just to help myself think about some ways that these two parts might connect. These are the hydrangeas that I drew in the previous post. The drawing measures 14 x 11 inches and depicts the flowers actual size.
Here’s the whole painting in its present form:
The roses and the hydrangeas are located in the top left hand side.
Soon, soon, soon, I’m going to resume work on this largish 48 x 48 canvas. I am chomping at the bit. And all the landscape painting that I’ve been doing in recent weeks is helping me think about these flowers.
I can’t wait.
I love to draw. And I find that drawing helps me figure things out. For me, drawing represents one of the most direct forms of thought. So drawing the large forms of the landscape helps me rehearse an image prior to painting. I don’t always draw the scene first, but I often do and I always enjoy doing so.
For the garden picture I made three preparatory drawings, one which I’ve already posted. Each of the drawings are like line readings and with each I feel that I know the motif better — just as an actor learns the character’s lines.
It’s with the spare drawing above, though, that I felt I most understood the image. I wanted to be able to render it down to its essentials. And that makes me feel really prepared to cut loose when I start painting.
I sometimes make drawings after the painting is underway because in episodes of being away from the painting sometimes I feel that I lose the thread a little and drawing helps me get back into the world of the picture. I pick up the thread again.
Even the spare lines take me back into the world of the picture again too — not only into the painting, but in this case back into the garden.
The painting and a link back to the first preparatory drawing is located here:
So here’s a little rock quarry, part of which featured in a study posted earlier. Both the study and this little painting are still “in the works.” This painting measures 14 x 18 inches.
The block-in phase is really fun. I love the open forms.
The painting’s counterpart is posted here:
Drawing the forms out first — the same size as the actual painting — was very helpful. So, I’d say it was a good rehearsal.
Here’s the first swipe at the actual painting which measures 24 x 36 inches.