Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Noon, Green and Cushman Streets

Noon, Green and Cushman Streets
12x16, acrylics on canvas

A cluster of houses at the corner of Cushman and Green in Augusta. This is a view I see often as I circle the block, headed back to work, after lunching at my favorite Chinese restaurant. I like the way the midday sun falls over the houses, especially the one at the left. Just a simple small-town cityscape, but this is already one of my favorites.

As I look over the collection of paintings hanging on the wall in my den, one thing has become clear to me: it's pretty easy to spot a Laurie Breton original. I use the same basic colors in all of them: chromium oxide green, viridian, Payne's gray, lemon yellow, hansa yellow, and light blue violet. And of course, white. I add other colors as needed (cadmium scarlet, red oxide, naples yellow, for example), but for the most part, my customary palette consists of those half-dozen colors. This pulls together my body of work and gives them a consistency that I really like. Green is nearly always the primary color in my paintings; occasionally I'll do one that's mostly red, or mostly blue, but green is my favorite color, and anyone looking at my work will immediately recognize this. And I dare say that if you don't like green, you're probably not going to like my work!

The other thing that pulls my work together into a cohesive whole is houses. I love to paint houses (especially, although not exclusively, white houses). Most of my best work (actually most of my work) includes a house or three. For whatever reason, it's the light falling on houses that excites me, that makes me itch to pick up a brush and start painting. I drive around a lot, taking photos of houses in light and shadow. Cloudy days don't move me. I've done a handful of paintings of overcast days, but the drama and that elusive something that tugs at my insides and screams at me to paint isn't there unless the sun is shining. I haven't had the chance this summer to get as many painting photos as I'd like, because it's been a pretty lousy summer here in the Northeast. A lot of rain, a spell of brutally hot and humid weather, but not so many good days with bright sunshine and clear blue skies. At least, not when I was able to get out and take photos (i.e., weekends). I'm hoping that fall will be a little better for photo-taking, as I want to build up a body of work this winter in the hope that I might try exhibiting at one of the local sidewalk art shows next summer. Fingers crossed. It would be a huge step for me, as thus far, I've sold only online. I do have a few really good works sitting in a store/gallery about eighty miles northeast of where I live, but so far, nothing has sold. Getting into one of next year's sidewalk art shows would be a challenge and a new adventure. Stay tuned!

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