Friday, June 26, 2009

Snake River Sky

I wWent in there with big brushes and swirled in some sky and cloud stuff. Now the sky is as active as the mountain and trees. The contrast between the quiet flat sky and the moving writhing trees and mountain was unbearable to me.

This is what I mean about changing one part and then having to change everything.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Paint It As It Lies

I did tweak it a bit, adding some orange back in and hardening the tree shapes. The blue-violet sky is a bit darkened as well.

It gave it life again, and movement. This is a familiar process to me, and I guess to other painters. There is a push-pull of process, as well as shapes and colors. Once you change one part, the other areas have to adjust to it. In the middle the painting is neither fish nor fowl (or is it neither calf nor turtle?).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Snake River Painting

This is finished I think. I have to tighten the canvas (spray the back with water and let it dry), sign it and have a slide made.

Last night I attended a critique class, presided over by Francesca Fuchs, at the Glassell School. They thought this painting was finished and I even became convinced it was. Then I began working on a little bit of it and voila! I could not stop until it was this version.

One of the decisions an artist makes is (though it may sound obvious, it is not at all easy), "what is this painting about?" In this case, it is about the mountain itself, its rocky prominence, the softness of the trees and insubstantiality of the clouds reinforcing its muscularity. In the version just before this, I had the trees forming a low frieze across the bottom to push attention upward, but they were too hard-edged and insistent, so I went into that area and softened them considerably.

One of Francesca's comments was that the red edging on the green treetops was irritating to her. Red and green are the most difficult of the complementaries to work with, and both hues were at saturation. The red and orange are mostly hidden now, only affecting the colors on top of them, not peeking through any more. There is a sort of reddish cast to this photo, which distorts how it actually looked in daylight, but you get the idea.