Friday, February 4, 2011


Feb 4, ‘11

Psychological:  Today is sunny and cold.  The best part of today is that it’s not snowing.  We’ve been through a major storm at the beginning of the week and in those days of being cooped-up inside I’ve been working on an idea for a painting I’d like to do for an up-coming show.  The idea for this painting originates from a sunny day we had before the last storm when I was struck with the color, the snow on the roofs and the shapes of a familiar scene outside my studio window.  I’ve spent a lot of time sketching/painting this scene in all seasons and feel I know it pretty well by now.  I love the order, the way the roof tops fit together with the only ‘natural’ things being the tree and the sky.

Plastic:  Many of my sketches were done with a steel nib dip pen and thinned-down watercolor.   (Not shown as they were great practice but lousy art....)  I felt like drawing in a medium I love but don’t often use, for the practice, to slow down my mind....  Most of my early Art experience was as a graphic artist, sign-painter and calligrapher.  I’ve used design principles to create Advertisements for print, brochures, flyers, posters, signs and calligraphy pages.  All my results were from working things out on paper until coming up with a plan and that’s how I’m developing this painting.

Edgar Whitney says “emphasis is placed upon what must be an artist’s greatest concern every time his/her brush touches paper – design.  Growth in taste is contingent upon never-ending pre-occupation with design principles.”

The small sketch was done on the scene – in my studio looking out the window.  It looks fuzzy a) because of the wind blowing snow and blurring the scene and b) my hand wasn't so steady when I photographed the sketch.  I used a fine charcoal pencil and added in color with colored pencils.  This gives me an idea of the value pattern and a faint idea as to Color.  I have a photo taken from the spot where I was sitting, to remind me of the colors I found so appealing.  

The sketch/painting on graph paper is a more organized version of how I visualize the painting I’d eventually like to produce. I have yet to determine the size of the painting – half sheet or quarter – but on the graph paper, it’s sized for either.  On a quarter sheet, every 2 blocks of the graph paper = 1 inch.  If I use the half sheet, every block on the graph paper = 2 inches.

One of the factors that determines my choice of size has to do with mattes and frames I have on hand.  Taking stock of what I have on hand I find I’m better equipped for the quarter sheet size.

I added a few layers of washy watercolor to the graph paper sketch.  I was eager to see how my color ideas might work.  Graph paper is a bitch to paint on but it whetted my appetite for the better quality watercolor paper and the eventual ‘real’ painting.

These sketches are the places to make ‘mistakes’, take risks, work things out....  These sketches are happy hours out-of -time, of play-time,  of Research and Development.

Edgar Whitney also says “A...picture is a fusion of plastic and psychological values – psychological values plastically apprehended.... Art is significant when it is the result of both these components.  This is very important for the student to remember.”

This student is going to keep this in mind and get back to work.  Watch for updates.

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