Thursday, March 21, 2013

Play, Don't Produce

Time will tell about yesterday's painting.  I went out with the same attitude as the day before (or tried to):  Just capture color, attend to tone, stay loose.  I liked it at the end, but who knows how I'll feel today. 

I liked the feeling of just responding, taking stabs, being open to unusual things happening.  Letting them happen.  I liked that the painting seems to have a balance of thick and thin paint—I gobbed it on at the end.  (Not intentionally; just in a responding mode.)  Again, I may end up feeling that it failed, but it was done in a spirit of experimentation, and that has to be good enough on any given day.

It's pretty crucial, when I'm painting at this rate, to remind myself to "play, don't produce."  Ironically, it's a tall order, because you want to do a good job—creating something ugly is painful.  But if you don't play, you don't open yourself up to interesting things: you don't grow, you don't experiment, and there's no surprise in your work. 

What a strange discipline.  It's not enough to stay focused on the rules.  Rather, you need to keep the many rules in mind (for example, keep a balance among the infinity of things that need to stay in balance, etc.), but primarily you need NOT to adhere to any preconception of how things should go.  Stay open; don't rely on formula; play.

Balance and Belligerence

I enjoyed making an offbeat (for me) painting of the reeds and water on Friday.  I was feeling belligerent and decided I was just going to see and record COLOR -- I felt a longing for color, as if I needed to drink it and re-color my insides. 

I had trouble with the composition at first, and then, belligerently, wiped down most of what I'd done and painted instead the FEEL of the composition, very loosely, and put in the colors of the water and reflections as they occurred.  My feeling was:  I'm just going to get them as I go, and not worry about it making sense.  At the end, I had to adjust the tones—I needed deeper darks in the grasses below to balance the dark of the cattail heads.  And I almost didn't put in the highlights on the heads, because the painting as it stood felt UNrealistic, and I hesitated to put in a realistic touch that could throw it all off.  But the highlights made it all work much better (as usual:  the more contrast, the better). 

I'm not sure if what I'm doing at times like this really "works"—this balance of abstraction and realism—but the very fact that there IS a balance feels right to me.  I'd like to try to push myself in that direction, that is, collecting color, making sure I have high-enough and low-enough tones, and working from the scene but not obsessing over details (sure death).  Just enjoying what happens IF I manage to capture color and tone adequately.  It's bizarrely fun—the freedom from representation, I guess.  And best of all, at the end, the results can surprise me.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Winter Pond with Dark Trees

























Stormy sky, cold wind. The trees seemed to be reaching forward in the green reflections. Loved the drama of the dark trees against the bright breaks in the clouds.

12 x 10 inches (30 x 25 cm), oil on hardboard, white wood frame, $175 plus shipping ($20 domestic and $40 international). For Maryland residents: 6% added to cover sales tax.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Quiet Reeds



Beautiful arrangement of reeds against bright water. Rippling breeze.

12 x 10 inches (30 x 25 cm), oil on hardboard, 2013.

$250 total (frame, shipping, and all taxes included).

Click here for purchase information.

 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Subtle Reeds




















Beautiful spot -- quiet light today, subtle colors.  Wind shifting the reflections second by second.  Wonderful sweetness to this scene.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Windy Corner























Cold but with a soft breeze that kept whipping up the surface -- like a tropical breeze, but for the temperature -- stirring up all the colors and tones in the water.

12 x 10 inches (30 x 25 cm), oil on hardboard.

Click here to purchase.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cattails in Rain























Rainy, cold, and wet. Huddled under my umbrella.  Everything soaked through—reeds, grass—making all the colors deep and saturated.  Beautiful.

12 x 10 inches (30 x 25 cm), oil on hardboard, white wood frame, $175 plus shipping ($20 domestic and $40 international). For Maryland residents: 6% added to cover sales tax.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cool Reeds























The ice was gone, and raindrops were falling on the pond's surface, obscuring the trees' reflections. I liked the pattern of reeds and shadows, and the cool colors under a moody sky.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Cerulean Rain
























12 x 10", oil on board, 2013. Moody, rainy day with quiet color. I painted down on the lower bank among the reeds. The cerulean in the water set off their almost white tone, and the dark reflections of trees loomed.

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Bright Reeds




















The ice softened overnight, making the background more powdery and smooth -- many versions of turquoise setting up the coppery reeds.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Warm Reeds and Bright Ice























At the last minute, the sun came out, and blue sky reflected at the shoreline where the ice had melted.  Had to quickly add in the warm colors that fill the reeds in the sunshine.

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