Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Re-working A Post For Paint Nerds

 I am slowing down.  I am reworking.  I am still.

Remember these paintings?  I decided to work on them some more.  I wanted to try that outlandish ultramarine blue sky on them, because I liked how the sky turned out on the stop sign painting.  But now I am getting carried away.  I always do, because this is my favorite part, tweaking something till I get that buzzy euphoric feeling, or... I ruin it, or... I get that buzzy euphoric feeling and I ruin it.

I read that Rodin took 14 years to do the Gates Of Hell.  Same thing with that statue, I think...  of Balzac.  He re-worked everything and he worked in clay.  He thought cutting marble was a waste of his time, so he would hire someone to do it.  Still working in clay was no picnic.  It  had to stay wet that whole time, (sometimes 14 years) so it would not crack.  What a hassle.

So I am taking my time.

"Angry Bird" 

I sanded "Angry" with turpentine and graphite sandpaper, a technique I learned from my, now far away but still adorable friend, Jhina Alvarado.  It creates a super smooth surface like plaster or fresco.  I feel like a postage stamp muralist.  I re-painted the background an almost pure ultramarine blue.  (Actually, I try not to put down any "pure" colors.  It is one of those "3 rules," every color is actually three colors mixed together, nothing is straight out of the tube.)  Then I  re-sanded and put down this cerulean.

Then of course, I had to re-work the whole bird, because that is what always happens when you repaint.  Everything you didn't repaint looks under painted and it is.  So hopefully this process brings the whole painting up to a new level, that is of course... unless it doesn't. 

"Flight" I did the same thing with this one, sand, ultramarine blue, sand, cadmium yellow, yellow ocher, cerulean mix on top and re-work the bird.  I still want to work on this one.

I like the way "Angry Bird" turned out, at least I do today.  The head and wing in "Flight" need to pop out from the background more, so I am going to make more of a value change there.  Maybe go really light and Naples yellowy in the background in those two areas.  Then I might put more detail into the head and the wing.  What that really means is more detail in the whole bird.  (see above)  The painting still is lacking depth.  I will most likely leave the other wing less defined.  It is farther away and moving so lack of detail might work...  At least that is the hope.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

At The Beach Again - 45

I made a painting for an auction at my daughter's school.  I had a hard time deciding what to paint for them.  Usually for auctions I donate something that is already finished, but for this I wanted to do something new.  At first I thought a dog portrait, but all the dogs I have painted, have  been for good friends.

Chuck Close is a portrait painter that also uses his friends and acquaintances as subjects.  I guess this way he did not have to flatter the sitter in any way.  He painted them stark, exposed and without taking a commission.  This was his effort to throw off the baggage of traditional portrait painting.  Not that I am comparing myself to Chuck Close...  My portraits, after all, are of dogs.   And my subjects are all irrepressibly cute and appealing... no matter what I do. 

"45" Phase One, oil on canvas, 12"x16"
So, I decided to do a painting of what has become one of my favorite scenes, "45th Avenue."  This one is lilliputian, a third the size of the other two.   I used to work this way a lot, where I painted the same subject over and over.  It might sound boring, but I learn a lot this way. 
Phase Two
Phase Three
Fini! I changed the values in the water, and the road.  I amplified the contrast in the foreground objects.  Then I  added some drippy glazing to the sky and cleaned up the 45th sign. 
I thought this painting was all about the light and the color, but I think, as my friend Will said, it is really about a feeling, an emotion.  I love the way the beach makes me feel, at this time of day.  Heading out to see the sunset.  There is a smell, a sound, and the visuals are always moving.  The sky is an indescribable color, a blue, with Naples yellow, black and a load of flake white.  It is so mixed it can change from too yellow, to too blue, to too gray.  Great fun.  Really, it's a lot of fun.  Not kidding.  No wonder I keep painting this scene.

Edited by Makiko Compton

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I Paint Because I Can't Sing

This is one of my re-paints.  Originally this painting was second in the on going series of abstract bikes.  The re-paint has knocked it to number five. 

I think I have finally figured out why I bounce around all the time, between realism and these abstract bike paintings.  

Painting realism is more meditative for me.   Painting these bike paintings are exciting, but unnerving.  They can go in any direction at any time and I crash and burn more often than not.  

Final, new "Sloat" 
Old "Sloat"
Mid "Sloat"

I thought it was finished, but...

Heavy Into Observation is happy to announce a new editor to our staff, Makiko Compton.  Makiko comes to us from St. Paul's Elementary and middle school.  Makiko is a exceptional writer and boogie boarder.  We will make every effort to continue our regular one to two a blog posts a week, however, it will depend on the new editor's homework load.  Thank you for your continued support and patience.