Saturday, July 24, 2010
The weather here in the past few weeks hasn’t been inviting enough to make me want to paint outside. The sun is hot and strong and it’s also been suffocating-ly humid, day after day without much of a break. When we had rain, it came with a thunder, lightening and wind storm that was terrifying and destructive. I’ve been staying home a lot, near the air-conditioner, watching movies and working on old paintings.
I spent the storm on the porch in Millerton, until I realized that wasn’t a safe place to be from lightening so went inside until it passed. As I drove home, I was following the storm, so drove through much rain, saw many fallen trees, limbs, leaves from trees and even a telephone pole on fire, like a torch.
So, back to the old/unfinished paintings....
When I do a Still Life for my on-going series, I work the painting to a point where I don’t know what to do next and then I put it aside and start a new painting. When the pile of unfinished paintings reaches Critical Mass, I take them out and start the work of finishing. This is a good time to be doing this work, when I need to be contained in a small space. I also do this kind of work in the dead of winter, when I need to be close to my space heater.
I thought I’d finish a painting or two for the President’s Show at the Kent Art Association, but that didn’t happen. I want to finish more paintings to post on my website, but it seems that isn’t happening, either. I started out working on 4 large paintings, to a place where I didn’t know what to do next so put them aside and gathered up a few more. I worked on those, put them aside, gathered a few more.... (Hmmmmm, I think I’m seeing a pattern here)
I’ve been doing a lot of work washing out spots in paintings with Q-tips and bits of sponge or paper towel and then re-working – painting – those spots more to my satisfaction. It’s taking hours. I’ve been doing a lot of glazing, in thin layers, as if varnish. That’s quite time-consuming, too. I’ve been thinking a great deal about Tone and how I use color and learning the advantages of making grays out of complementary colors.
On a few of the paintings, I’ve resorted to painting out patches with thin, very watery layers of Acrylic Titanium White, as if White-Out. The layers of white acrylic are very thin because I want the paint surface to be somewhat porous, so I can paint over it in watercolor and hide the patch.
In many ways, this is more like a wood-working project. Sometimes tedious, which is why I like to watch movies as I work. It’s been a peaceful time and a valuable learning experience.
I’ve more or less put aside any plans to start a new series, as much as I’d rather. It seems that the important thing at the moment is to finish these paintings, to catalogue more of my present work on my website and put everything neatly away before I start anything new. I’ll be planning, though, in my mind and notebooks and enjoying small watercolor and pencil sketches for fun in the meantime.
My next Painting Outside! Class at the Litchfield Community Center begins on September 10. I’m taking August off to work on these paintings and make plans for the next class. Happy August to all!