Monday, February 8, 2010

I pulled open the curtain that covers the window yesterday to see how things looked outside in the intense sunlight were enjoying and made up my mind that a similar scene would be the subject in my next Culvert St painting.  Today is just as sunny as yesterday, so I decided to take the time, see what I could do.  What impressed me yesterday and today was the yellow of the house against the sky and that the yellow made me think of arrows, pointing upward.

My goal with this painting was to show the blue and yellow, to use GGBlack, to draw with a water soluble pencil (PB), to get down the basics quickly.

Getting the basics down quickly was a challenge because my mind bogs down on  Perspective and Angles of the buildings.  I could feel it, almost.  I got out my wooden T-Square, the one that belonged to my father since he was a kid & which he used in his paintings.  I used it to make straight lines rather than try to draw them in by hand and eye.  A lot of my early knowledge and experience re: Perspective came from my father from an early age.  He also used to say that if a person can’t draw a straight line, use a ruler.  I appreciate having his old T-Square, knowledge and memories....  But still, to this day, a challenge where Perspective can help solve the problem still makes my mind feel bogged down, stuck and impedes my Process.

(Must work on this....)

Using the watercolor pencil has been a wonderful change; I’m loving how the line dissolves under the first thin wash of color or tone.  

In this painting, I started out with the tone in the building shapes using increasingly thicker washes of GGBlack until I got the general tonal pattern on paper of the scene in front of me.  When I had down the bulk of the buildings and a good idea of how the tonal pattern worked, I set to work on the yellow building, painting YO over the tone I’d established.  The brightest part of the building I left white; I put the YO on more heavily in the front and put it in more lightly at the top – to make it appear as if sunstruck in that spot.  I tried to do all this rather quickly and then got onto the sky.

 The first thing I did were the clouds; the lowest one using a thin wash of pinky/yellow , the one in the middle using a very thin wash of Cad. Yellow.  The highest cloud happened when I was applying the blues for the sky, so i left it, used it....

After I left colored marks for the two abovementioned clouds, I thoroughly wet down the entire sky area, went around the 2 cloud shapes and the chimney.  I kept adding water until the area was flooded.  Then I applied a wash of CY in the sky where it meets the rooftops and tilted the board so that the yellow clung to the horizon and the rest dispersed upward to where the bluer part of the sky was planned to be.

I started adding in the blue of the sky in the middle of the area, on the left side, where things appear to me today, right now, to be the brightest, using pure Cerulean Blue.   The entire sky area was so wet I was able to work that blue in nicely before I started adding more blue.  I added in more CB from the top of the middle and upward to the top of the painting then I went back to the bottom middle and worked that blue downward.  Then, back to the top where I started loading the area with Ultramarine Blue and working it downward.

I don’t precisely remember how I worked things after this because by now, the paper so wet and the paint so plastic, I just worked things in with my brush and had the time to arrange everything in what I felt was a pleasing manner.  After the 1st application of blue, every bit of blue I added after that was in a heavier amount than I’d used before.  I lifted the paint to be added from the pan , thinned it somewhat on the pallet and made sure it felt heavier/thicker than what was on the paper already before I put in the greater amount of blue and began to work it in.    All I can think of as a simile; it’s kind of like making gravy except adding flour to the water.  It only works if the flour is mixed into a paste with water that is slightly thicker than the water you want to add it into.  Well, best I can do....

The sky was too faint at the rooftops so I carefully mixed some pure Prussian Blue with water until felt it would be heavier than what was there, but not too heavy.  It worked pretty well and I carefully glazed over that area using the PB mixture.

And now, after working hard to come up with these words which barely describe a Process, the painting is dry and ready for me to work on it some more.      

(I forgot to mention:  I mostly use water from the tap for my watercolors but was reminded the other day, while reading a watercolor page on a website, that distilled water is better for watercolor because town water, such as mine, contains chlorine.  I looked for distilled water at the supermarket but they were out, so I'm using Spring Water from a bottle.  I'm not sure if there's much difference, but checking this out is part of what I'm looking for today in this painting.) 

--> later....

End of day.  I put in another hour or so after I left off posting the report from the 1st session.  All I did the past hour was to increase the depth, add to the bulk -- of the buildings and the immediate area where they meet the sky.  I used a lot of a mix of PB and BU.  Mainly because it felt right.  I hope that the sky is finished and that the blue of the sky and the yellow take shape, work together, feel right.  Which now, they almost do.

I'm enjoying making grays, tinted or toned.  I'm not happy with the dark area of the yellow building.  I made a lot of mistakes in Perspective and some details but OH WELL...!   Next time....

Tues, Feb 9, '10 -- 11a.m.

For the past hour, I've been sitting at a chair near the window, working on the painting as I look out on the street on another cold but sunny, winter day.  I got to a place where I felt like I got what I wanted and have decided to call this painting Finis.  I'm happy with it.  Off it goes, into the archives.  When I begin a painting, I often think of something I once read about Cezanne and how he felt about his paintings.  As I recall, he considered each and every one as an 'experiment.'  So, for this 'experiment' of mine, I'm pleased.  And done.

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