Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Red House 2

Still working on this one. Believe it or not, the changes since yesterday's post took several hours to accomplish. I'm getting there, but it's slow going, at least in part because the painting is so large and there's so much territory to cover. It was difficult to get the red shades that I wanted. I ended up wasting a fair amount of paint, making mixes that were useless. But I think I finally got it right. Then, there were all those windows. Not to mention the latticework under the front porch. I changed the color of the house directly to the right of the red one, mellowed the purple front into something warmer and not quite as dark. If you compare it with the far right house, you can see the difference. I wanted to vary them, and the purple wasn't working well with the reddish-brown shutters. This new color (purple mixed with turquoise) doesn't seem to clash with them as much. I've already decided, though, that if I don't like the end result, I'll paint the shutters a different color (probably black or dark gray). Granted, the entire painting is bright. But the colors work together, and I don't want it to be jarring. Those shutters could end up taking the final piece off balance. Will just have to wait and see.

I hate the color of the grass. Another mixing effort gone awry. Once everything else is in place, that will probably be the last thing I fix. I'm also a little bit confused about the two trees out front, which seem to merge together into one, almost covering the front steps. My photo isn't helping me at all; I may have to drive by the house to get a good look at where each tree's trunk actually is before I paint them.

I don't know if other artists paint this way, but my paintings seem to happen in a series of layers. One color on top of another color on top of another color, until I get the look I'm aiming for. If I don't like a color, I change it. Although I'm a follower of the school of realism, I don't let reality get in the way of improving a painting. If the real-life color clashes or otherwise causes a problem, I change it. If something gets in the way or overly complicates the composition, I get rid of it. I use whatever tools and techniques I have at my disposal to create the vision I see in my head. It's the final result that matters, and I do whatever it takes to get me there.

Sometimes I get frustrated. Frequently, I cuss myself out for my own stupidity. I'm infamous for painting an area, then immediately dragging my hand through the wet paint as I work on a different area. At times like this, the air around me can turn quite a lovely shade of blue. Fortunately, there's nobody around to hear except Max and Pumpkin, my lovebirds, who live in my studio/office and keep me company while I paint. Thus far, they haven't made any editorial comments on my work or my language. I've found that if I just put on a little music, they're happy. I love rock and roll, and so do they. Hubby loves Patsy Cline, and the birds are quite fond of her, as well. I guess they're just renaissance birds.


Debra said...

It is really interesting to follow your Red House painting, to see the stages it goes through.

I was wondering about the blow-dryer I saw in your last post. Do you use it to speed up the drying time? (since you mentioned accidentally dragging your hand through wet paint)

Not sure why you are unhappy with the color of the grass, unless it is a bit bright? It could probably be more subdued than the houses, just a backdrop.

I don't mean to criticize, it's really looking good. You are developing a unique style that is a breath of fresh air.

Painting the Light said...

Thanks, Debra! I think mostly what I hated about the grass was that it wasn't finished yet, the paint was a little thin and blotchy. I ended up painting it the same color, just a smoother layer of it.

Yes, I use the blow dryer to quicken the drying process. Would never have thought of it, but I got the idea from a video made by artist Hugh Greer. We happened to have a blow dryer we never use...hubby bought it to shrink wrap plastic over the windows of our old house in winter to keep the wind from blowing through. We have brand-new windows in the new house that don't let the drafty winter winds in, so the dryer was sitting unused. So I confiscated it and turned it into an artistic tool. I don't use it all the time, but I keep it handy for when I do need it.

And you know, I still always drag my hand through the wet paint. I did it again this morning. Sigh. I think I'm destined to spend the rest of my life with smudged paintings and multi-colored hands.