Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Going big

Untitled work in progress -blocking shapes
Untitled work in progress - laying in darks
Untitled work in progress
Untitled work in progress - detail

I've got this biggie on the easel right now. I haven't used my easel in a long time--usually I work flat on a table or my lap. And I haven't attempted a large painting like this in years because big work is difficult to store and ship. Here are a couple of progress shots. First I blocked out the position of the trees by painting the negative space in pale blue. Then I added the darks with my transparent purple.

When I stepped back I realized the far right tree was crowding his neighbor. I had forgotten how important rhythm is in big work. Rhythm is a musical quality as you look from left to right in the painting. It was going: trunk - rest - branch - rest - trunk - trunk - rest. The "trunk - trunk" wasn't working for me. You can see my correction from the second to third progress photo. I repositioned the third tree completely and fixed the rhythm, so now it goes: trunk - rest - branch - rest - trunk - branch - trunk - rest. Make sense? Okay, probably not. But you can see that it looks better, more balanced. The last photo is a detail of one of the trees so you can see all the colors. Sorry about the late night photography.

I like to drag everything out of the studio and into the family room where I can watch (but mostly just listen to) tv while I'm working. Robb usually ignore this shenanigans. Last night I asked him what he thought of the painting. He glanced at it and said, "It's good." Which is his usual response. I told him he might want to take a closer look since it's going to be hanging above his fireplace. "Oh, it is?" So he gave it an additional 15 seconds of consideration before heading up to bed. He's funny. I'll post photos of the finished painting when I get there.

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