Friday, August 12, 2011


Here I am on day five with the 45th Avenue and Sloat and it is giving me a pain.  I can't figure out what is bothering me about this painting.  Is it the texture?  Is it the color?  Is it the values, (light and dark)?  I discussed it with my friend and studio mate, Jhina Alvarado, ( and we both agreed it needed some lightening up.  It had gotten pretty dark with all the glazing, so I added a light blue glaze to the sky.  I never do a light glaze over a darker ground, it can end up looking milky, but I was desperate.  The result was too much color for me.  (I really like a muted palette.)  The value change was good.  The blue lightened up the whole painting, but something was still wrong and it was sooo blue.  Jhina and I studied the painting and discussed it some more. (It is really a wonderful thing to work in a communal art space.  I get instant and good feedback whenever I need it!)  It reminded me of the Salton Sea, white, crusty and salty looking.  Jhina agreed, but that it still looked like an ocean.  I said, but not a watery ocean, more of a solid… a solid cement sea and she agreed again.  She suggested that I start over, which is something I do a lot.  I like to sand down all the texture on a dry painting and use it as a ground for a new painting, with layer of old paint showing through, or put a nice texture-y paint job over the whole thing.  There is something very satisfying about wiping out a painting after the thing kicks your butt.    I thought the idea of starting over was premature.  I hadn't wasted enough paint to give up.  Jhina and I finally pinpointed the problem down to the water.  I thought it was the horizon line where the sky meets the water.  It was too high or too crooked.    Jhina thought it was that the line was too definite and maybe needed to be blendier.

So as a last ditch effort, before starting over, I took a nice light gray and did a thick gushy sky.  I brought it down past the horizon line to the dark silhouettes in the foreground.  I got rid of the horizon line and the cement sea!  The under painting of the blue glaze mixed with the thick gray paint and I got a cool iridescent sky.  It reminds me of a blue/gray pearl.  I might not have to start over!!!  I think one more day…

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