rock quarry

rock quarry early stage

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:

Cezanne’s influence

cezanne stage of rocks painting

Here’s the chaotic “Cezanne stage” of a little painting of a rocky hillside that I’m working on. It began with coincidence and impulse. I  had just finished cleaning a little frame, which I propped against a drawing, just getting the frame out of the way, when I noticed how nicely it cropped the drawing into a new composition.   “Why not?” I thought.

I needed a surface.  There was an old scrap of canvas, which I taped to a board using old tape (old everything).  First round of old tape — the red — didn’t work.  So I used silver duct tape over that (hence the intriguing little framed effect).

A random bit of happenstance inspired the composition.  So, it’s on the easel now.  And the picture is green while outside it’s cold. Between cycles of the furnace, it’s cold inside too!  And the weatherman says it’s going to be cold all week.  But in my mind, here’s where I am.  And here inside my mind … it’s balmy here.

Rocks and Potatoes

Back in May, I posted a still life I made many years ago of a cabbage and potatoes.  This drawing is its distant cousin. 

I drew this from a photograph, and like the lake of two posts ago, I find it provides a good practice for some drawing outdoors that I’m hoping to do — en plein air.  But it also has the same basic forms as the earlier still life.  Indeed, I was thinking of getting some potatoes and inventing a landscape from a still life perhaps?

One of the wonderful things about drawing is the way it lets you take imaginative journies.  I can vicariously visit the rocky outcropping by drawing it from a photo.  And I can travel there even with some potatoes too?  I don’t necessarily need a travel agent to find a locale that’s very bucolic and peaceful where I can bask in the warmth of the sun.

What is your challenge?

     About six years ago, I set myself the challenge of painting a large picture.  I had made earlier attempts, but none that I felt succeeded.  The logical way to learn to paint monumental works (it seemed to me then and seems to me now) is to paint them.  The painting above, measuring 66 x 82 inches, was my first successful large painting.  It’s painted in acrylic paint.

A bunch of intermediate steps led to this picture.  For instance I made a “cartoon” of the whole thing first.   Cartoon refers to an actual size drawing of the subject.  Making the large drawing was an adventure in itself.  The immediacy of drawing and the fact of this thing being so big, it was as if I could physically enter the painting.

The things in the picture played roles in our lives.   My then pre-schooler daughter’s drawings formed the basis for the “stones” of the wall.  The blue lizard was one of her toys.  The picture’s story grew out of one lovely day’s adventure, during our regular walk to the place we call “the stone wall.”  Here, one abandons oneself to the beauty of nature.  We pause and just look at whatever comes our way.  We hunt for lizards and frogs.   We find interesting insects.  We peer into the world of the very small.  Yet in the fantasy of the painting, it’s possible to have a flamingo who watches over you, too.  The fracture in the sky above the dreaming child is like a ladder that Jacob saw with angels traveling between heaven and earth.  It is a passage way to wonderment.

For the artist, a picture should challenge your skill in some way.  What is your challenge?