Thursday, July 27, 2017

Feeling Blue

Feeling Blue 12x16 oil on panel

I had a few hours with everyone else gone, the house quiet, and I had no landscape pushing to come out of me, so I turned to practice on portraiture.  For some reason I decided to begin with a panel I had prepped using Ultramarine blue; it was so colorful and pure and deep.  I decided to try this using a limited palette of yellow ochre, Napthol red, black and white, but then I realized I had no black and used Ultramarine blue and burnt umber to make my own black.  And I found that by wiping back a bit in some areas of the skin, it helped begin to develop those areas that were cooler, from blood just beneath the skin or shadow, I'm not sure, but it leant a sense of fragility which went with the mood.  I wonder sometimes why I want to paint something like this - it's not likely I want to hang this on my wall for decoration.  But the practice and what I can gain from the exercise in understanding seems worth the time invested.

On the other hand, time spent outdoors painting with LOPAS, our local plein air society, seems worth it even when the results fall short of a completed painting.  The comradry, the fresh air and sunshine, the smells of summer and the sounds of Nature - what could be more uplifting?  This past Friday I was pressed for time and left after only an hour, but there is something about the color of the house with the color of the lawn that keeps drawing my eye back to this sketch, even though I haven't convinced myself it would be worthy of developing into a larger, more complete painting.  Sometimes I can capture some essence that inspires me to a better painting and sometimes it just seems like more of a curiosity, like a lightening bug in a bottle.

And then one last sketch of a bluff on the Columbia River Gorge that I'd like to visit and spend time painting:

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