August 10, '10
I decided last night that I’d get up early this morning, drive to this spot in White’s Woods and attempt to start a painting on ‘good’ paper instead of doing a journalistic sketch. I chose this spot because it’s a place I love, a place I’ve been often but haven’t sat down to paint here in 3 years. I was encouraged to paint here after my session from painting at the farm yesterday felt so positive and productive.
I painted almost exclusively at this spot the entire summer of ‘07. My life was in a state of upheaval. I’d spent the winter and spring readying a series of paintings for a NYC show and when the show was over, I felt in a state of mental exhaustion. My life was very full at the time. With my artist life and with my work life. This spot is less than 3 minutes from where I was living so I used it as my pied-á-terre*, my hidey spot, my escape hatch....
*“A pied-à-terre (French, "foot on the ground") is a small living unit usually located in a large city some distance away from an individual's primary residence. It may be an apartment or condominium.
The term pied-à-terre implies usage as a temporary second residence, either for part of the year or part of the work week, by a person of some means.” Wikipedia
When I painted here in the morning, I titled the painting a Matin (morning prayer) and the date as shown above, which I call a ‘star date’ -- my interpretation of a Star Trek label for a point in Time. When I painted in the afternoon or evening, I called the painting Vespers and whatever the date may have been.
We had rain last night but when I left here a little after 8, the sky seemed to be clearing. On the 7 mile drive, rain drops spotted my windshield. The entire time I painted at this spot, it was sprinkling very lightly and all the while, the sky still seemed to be clearing. But, after an hour, the sprinkles were constant and ever heavier and when it started to actually rain, I packed up and went home.
A case in point of the best of plans going astray. I’d expected more of the same from yesterday but the rain and sprinkles make it so much different. I’d expected to start and finish this painting before noon as well as have a lot of time to just sit and think. I did get the start of what I went for, and I did have some time to sit and think, it’s just that I had to work harder and get it faster.
Now that I’ve been home for 45 minutes, the sky is seriously beginning to clear. Oh well; I’m home until late afternoon and will attempt to work on this painting from the photo and the memory.
So far, I’ve done the drawing and applied 2 layers of what I’m calling under-painting or base coat. Again, due to time-constraints, I did not do a thumbnail as I would have liked and always advocate to myself and my students. I’ve done so many thumbnails and paintings of this motif in the past I feel that I know it well, felt safe in taking the shortcut. I used the burnt sienna charcoal pencil to keep it simple. If I use a BIC or 3B, I tend to attempt to insert more details than I need or want. I’ve applied the base coat using thin, watery applications of paint. The ‘key’ is medium to low. The complementary colors I’m planning on using, to set the mood and tone, are Blue/Orange. The 3 pigments I’m using in this painting are UB, CR and CY.
We shall see what we shall see....
August 14, '10
My thoughts on this painting is that I pushed the color; it needs more contrast/depth , less color throughout. Other than that, I like it. I also felt that with a few more hours work, it might have looked more the way I felt it that morning, but didn’t want to spend any more time on it.