Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Working in the Studio

So . . . since the last post, I have been trying to work in the studio as many days as possible. This week has been a good one and the end of last week. I have been working on oil paintings: a 3'x4' gallery wrap canvas, an 8"x24" gallery wrap canvas, a 12"x12" gesso cradled panel, and a 12"x16" diamondback cradled birch panel that I gessoed.

The large canvas (3'x4') has been giving me fits. I am trying to simplify subject matter, but in a larger format, I tend to revert to "decorating" my trees. So, I went to the art supply store (Binders in Atlanta) and bought two #18 large filbert brushes. These were only one size larger than what I had, but it does make a difference. Still after using one of these brushes, I am giving the painting a rest while working on the other sizes. I need to study and figure out what it is I don't really like about the composition of this painting. I also think the group of trees on the right are very stiff -- almost like something you would see in an animated film. They are not quite real to me.

Tonight I loaded a photo of it into Photoshop Elements and created a larger shadow area which would connect the trees on the right with the lone tree on the left. I like that better, so tomorrow, I will create more shadow linking the two shapes. Here it is before doing that -- and also a gray-scale image of the painting as it is now.

I'll be sure to show you in another post whatever I do to this painting. Just because I am spending time on it, does not mean it will ever be allowed to leave my studio as a finished piece. I have no qualms about sanding it off and starting another painting! There is a lot to be learned just by doing it. I like some of my brushwork -- mostly on the left and in the middle ground and sky areas.

Sometimes when I am working in oil, I get this feeling that I am a fraud -- calling myself an artist. I actually talked to a very good friend today and told him what I was feeling and of the troubles I felt today. Terry Ludwig is such a wonderful friend and always gives me good advice. He said he had made some pastels in a square and printed on it "artist's block" -- since writers can have it, why can't artists? He also asked me what size brush I was using -- and when I told him #18, he said to extend it with some duct tape so I could stand further away while painting! Good idea.

Now, here are the other three paintings and the gray scale of each one. You can let me know what you think. I always care!

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