Thursday, March 30, 2017

Working Through

Up Oswego Creek

I've had trouble finding time to paint the past few weeks, and yet when I do find an hour here or there, I don't work through to a completed painting, leaving it instead at a sketchy finish.  I realize now that this may be my next big challenge.  I've worked under the assumption that I just need to keep pushing along, learning to get things down quickly, and it has indeed become easier to achieve likeness and a semblance of what I am after with less effort and less frequent failure.  But I am also coming to recognize that what I end up with is really just a block-in still in need of hours of work.  The above is an example of this: the overall tone and feeling is what I was aiming at, but the finish - especially on the boulders, which seem fuzzy and unconvincing - needs a lot more work.  There is something in my nature that resists returning again and again to the same painting to push past this stage, and I feel the need now to find a way to overcome that resistance, whether it is merely laziness on my part, or fear of failure, or something else.

A part of me, the lazy part no doubt, wants to believe that the "slam, bam, thank you ma'am" approach will simply lead to my own personal style, that there is no need to knuckle down and do the harder work of sharper focus.  It is tempting to believe that, because it means I can keep doing what I want without having to disapprove of my own efforts.  But the other, more responsible part of me insists that if I want to create something that is truly in line with the vision I have originally, if I really want to share the emotion that provokes me to want to paint something in the first place, then I have to learn to be more deliberate.  I guess we will see what side of my mind wins out in the end.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Late Winter Light

Oswego Creek Falls
I was struck by the milky, almost glacial green of the pool compared to the warm greens of the mossy rocks.  And while these aren't really a falls, I'm not sure what it is called; the water is released from the lake and flows down to form the beginning of the creek, but at most times during the year there is very little flow.  This was following some heavy rains that produced a nice stream.

The temperature of the light is beginning to change slightly, and the promise of spring is in the air.  Though snowflakes still occasionally fall, the daffodils are poking their heads up from the ground and winter is slowly releasing its grip on our spirits.

One more portrait sketch.  Sometimes using oil paint on the thirsty paper of my sketchbook produces a result that is acceptable, though if I had the patience and foresight, I still think it is easier to paint on the paper if I give it a coat of gesso first.  The above is on the raw paper.