Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sheep River Sideshow [acrylic, 9”x12”]

waterfall I built up lots of texture on this panel before beginning to paint this landscape.  I blocked in the darkest areas by squinting and then applying the darkest values onto the board loosely and vaguely.  Today I began to apply the middle colors and I’ve got a lot more of that to do as well as establishing the areas of waterfall.  Honestly, I’m getting way too detailed on this and I’ve got to let go of that or else it’s going to be way too tight.  Pushing the pause button for now…  cheers!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Koi [acrylic, 22”x30”]


My short painting session today brought these Koi to this point.  I’m getting to like this one more and more.  The photo I had was from a rainy day and the dullness that has shown itself in the painting reflects that.  There were not many bright reflections in the water and, although the Koi shapes aren’t anything like my reference photo, I captured the type of day.  Cheers!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Positive Flash [Mixed Media, 16”x20”]

I last posted about this painting on January 12.   It was beginning to feel like a storm landscape and I’ve taken it further along those lines…  but kept it very abstracted.  Ozone
Storms lean heavily towards abstraction for me.  It’s interesting to dwell for a moment or two on the positive aspects of thunderstorms:
  • Thunderstorms are a direct result of atmospheric heating and increased air convection. Thunderstorms and also hurricanes are a primary cooling mechanism for the earth
  • Thunderstorms provide water to vegetation and also to lakes and reservoirs. Storms provide about 50 percent of the rainfall to the eastern United States, and 70 percent to the western US.
  • Storm winds distribute seeds and pollen, and help remove old and weak vegetation and so make way for new growth
  • Lightning strikes liberate nitrates which fertilize the soil. Lightning produces about 20 percent of the nitrogen to the soil per year, about 250,000 tons of nitrogen to the whole earth every year
  • Additionally, the updrafts and other wind effects remove large amounts of pollution, transporting it aloft, as well as storm rainfall washing pollution out of the air
    Read more:
I’ve been pondering the similarities between thunderstorms and the storms of personal experience.  Here’s an example of how my thoughts ran as I painted this week…  managing back pain and fatigue has been taking up way too much of my time!!!!!  As I returned to a diligent pacing regimen [proper rest, more exercise, LESS SITTING!!!], I feel a kinship to this painting.  We have had a rather stressful several months, and a very fun-filled fall 2011 – but it was exhausting.  Apparently I needed the forced rest and the personal growth that never fails to come when I watch my health more closely.  All the features of grief apply to this loss of health I’ve experience since 2005: denial, pain & guilt, anger, depression, and acceptance.  These 5 in a continuous loop with shorter and shorter stops in the first 4 and longer periods of acceptance.  The analogy of the storm provides these benefits personally lately:
  • I’ve taken the time to cool off and regroup my thoughts [cooling]
  • I’ve paid attention to my mental and spiritual needs [rain]
  • This storm blew through unannounced but, admittedly it was not a surprise…  It’s blown seeds or thought around and helped me prioritize some activities.  [wind]
  • Jolts of pain wake me up and cause me to live more simply and intentionally.  Also, that pain makes the soil of my life more fertile [lightning]. 
  • In general, my back pain can [as much as it hurts to admit it], remove the junk from my life like the wind and rain purify the earth and atmosphere. 
Here’s the rub…  to get the positives out of the storm we have to have faith and trust that they are there and get busy looking for them.  I suppose I should get started on that :-)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Free Swing [acrylic, 24”x24”]


I’ve called this work-in-progress painting “Free Swing” for lack of a better handle. As you can see from the first photo below, I started this one out with just two colors – blue and  transparent red iron oxide.  I wet the canvas first, then drizzled fluid acrylics straight from the bottle and used an atomizer to make the paint run around on the surface.  I took this photo just before I left it to dry. 

IMG_4932The idea for the trees came simply from the vertical paint pattern that the streaks of paint made when they dried.  I used chalk to outline what I hope were pleasing shapes and basically cut around the trees with opaque paint.  The tire swing suggested itself after that coat of paint – there was a section of paint that showed through and I decided to work with it as an opportunity. 

I’m not sure where this one is going but I’ll post an update when I figure it out…  cheers!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Working from Chaos Again!

I do intend to follow up with my Koi whenever I sort out the next step.  Meanwhile, since that has stalled out, here are the first couple of steps for an abstract acrylic on canvas that I’ve been working on. 


The photo above is current state of the painting.  It’s feeling like a stormy landscape and I think that is the direction I’ll be taking in my next painting session.


In these earlier steps, I was simply trying to get some interesting patterns and textures, lights and darks.  I enjoy this type of exercise…  it clears the mind and let’s me doodle my way into a painting.  I love to watch paint move in water and that’s one of the fun things about working in chaos like this.  You may be able to see some marks made with Caran d"’Ache watercolor crayons in the photo below.  This is part of the doodling and I love the variations I get in the way these crayons dissolve and settle around the textures.  Enjoy!