Posts Tagged ‘horses’

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Thinking Bigger

July 4, 2012

It is possible I think about painting more than I actually paint. Or to be more specific, I think about “the process” of painting more than I paint.   I don’t think this is a new habit, but one that I am becoming very aware of as I evolve my style into a looser, expressive genre. It seems to make sense that all my studio processes evolve too.

Commissioned Oil Study of Trapp

I’ve had a refined process for my oil commissions for years now.  Photo shoot, followed by small oil sketch studies, then after client review we move into the bigger detailed painting.  I’ve been very comfortable with this process.  I had a plan and my client knew my plan.  If I were to stay working in a realistic style of work where the end result is so predictable, this process could possibly remain lifelong.  But I’m moving forward with new freedom and expression as a painter…oh crap…does this process still work????

I’m also realizing that working bigger in a looser style requires changing some method habits I’ve developed over the years:

Habit #1, Brush Size:  Oh flat brush #2, I’ve developed a comfort level with you, but a bigger painting deserves a bigger brush so I can lay that colour down.  I want my brush strokes to be decisive and commanding.  It’s impossible to have this intent with a little brush in lots of itty-bitty brush strokes.

Habit #2, Amount of Paint to Mix:  Bigger brushes, bigger paintings, need more paint. I”m afraid this is a hard one to break begin the paint miser that I am, but I’m working on mixing larger piles. I’ve got my eye on a French Mistress (hey not that kind of Mistress!) A big glass palette box, that I can mix my large piles, rather than the 11×14 palette sheets I’m currently using and running out of room on.

Habit #3, Distance from the Canvas: ….”step away from the canvas…step further away from the canvas…”  This doesn’t require much explanation, but might require some studio re-organization so I can get farther away.

Lastly, I’ve decided to abandon the small sketch study process I’ve had for years. Bravely, I’m moving straight onto the bigger canvas. I hope some of those wonderful and spontaneous brushwork moments I experience in my small study work will begin to surface on the larger canvas as I adjust my other work habits.  I’ve realized trying to re-create a spontaneous moment in painting..is well, just not that spontanious..go figure!!

Capricho, 11×14 oil on canvas panel. This painting I abandoned all brushes and began as a finger painting. How’s that for saying bye to #2 flat? 😉

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Finding Inspiration Part II – Emergence from the Cave

May 10, 2012

If you have been reading my blog for sometime, you will know I have a place I affectionately (more often not so affectionately) known as ‘the cave’.  I know its name is corny, but it seems to be the best description for the mental place I go when I’m undergoing change, experimenting with the canvas and doing some deep soul-searching about my paintings. By the date of my last blog post (February – eeeks!!) it would seem I’ve been in the cave for sometime.  I am happy to say over the past couple weeks, I’ve been poking my head out and starting think I will finally emerge from the cave victorious!!

I’ve been busy exploring colour.  After the workshop I attended in November I came home using a limited palette of 5 colours + white.  My time in the cave has revealed this –  I’m not a limited palette artist. Yes, I can mix the palette and some artists will swear by it, but right now I’m taking some great ownership in saying it’s not for me. I felt constricted by the boundaries and given my often limited time that I get to the easel, when the paint starts flying, it’s so much easier to have a broader range of warm/cool colours ready to mix.  It has made a huge difference in my method. An A-Ha moment!

My Palette

So here it is, (before things got really messy!) Top row cool ranging from Magenta to Viridian.  Bottom row ranging from Alizarin to Lemon Yellow (and btw, hello Lemon Yellow, where have you been all my painting life??!)  I have ended my relationship (for now at least) with Cadmium Orange and opting for Cad red over Cad red light. When I want to increase the light or temperature, I just move up or down the palette.

Playing with Trapp in Red, 9×12 Oil on Canvas Panel

Trapp in Red, was the first painting I completed using this palette. I feel that I am really beginning conveying the sense of warmth. Yet, i’m freeing up to infuse my own sometimes quirky and unexpected hits of colour. In this case, the blue touches in the background and subtle hits on the horse figure.

‘Poppy’ in the Sun. 9×12 oil on canvas panel (sold)

A couple of weeks later, along came ‘Poppy in the Sun’.  I’ve had this painting in my brain for sometime, envisioning a sun-drenched feel to this Clyde X mare with a roan coat.  You might know the artist brain can be incredibly hard on its self, I am not alone here right? So when I say I look at this painting and “I can’t believe I painted that”, I truly feel great joy in making that statement 🙂  I’m in particular awe with how her hindquarters through her barrel have mass to them, but yet, seem to convey the translucency of reflecting light.  Another exciting moment of colour is found in her blaze, with a subtle shift of cool grey blue, the addition of lemon yellow pushes the colour slightly warmer and gives some structure to her head.

So while I may not have been busy blogging, I’ve certainly been busy in ‘the cave’. I would like to take a moment to say a big “THANK YOU” to my current clients who have hired me to paint their horses during my time of transition from traditional portraiture to expressive works.  They really didn’t know what they were going to get, but yet had faith knowing I would work it out in my new direction.

Final reminder to check my ‘Available’ page routinely – New Original Works added often and they do move quickly! So don’t hesitate if you see something you like!