Friday, September 09, 2011

Works in Progress

The last few days I've been fiddling with three canvases, all very small, all very simplistic.

The first one is in the center, three hills and three towers. The second is the trees against the sky on the left. The third is the farmstead and fields.

None of them are done. They need finesse-ing -- and I don't mean detailing, I mean addition of highlights and dark contrasts, a little fine-tuning. But the good news is, I was actually out in the studio for hours, painting!

After seeing my post-it note on my desk with the ideas and the inspiration for the works, Bernie began nagging me to start work on them. It worked: I went out to the studio to avoid his prodding, set up for the project, and got after it.

This is my worry-stone, a piece of seashell. Was it from Cape Hatteras, where I long to be every day? Or was it something I found on the beach at Santa Cruz, wandering along and thinking of my Port Laughton novels? I don't remember. It's just been on my desk or in my jewelry box forever.

One day, I thumbed it, and was struck by the suggestion of towers on a hilltop, against a russet sky. And then I turned it, and and saw a forest, with odd constellations in a sky. One more turn (imagine 90 degrees to the left) and visualized a barn, and farmhouse, with fields.


It's art, if not "good" art, and I let my imagination run with a limited palette of oils: Naples Yellow, Burnt Sienna, and Cadmium Orange.

The undercoat of the three little canvases was a leftover from a semi-fictional painting of Mission Buenaventura, an undercoating that was so richly orange that I fell in love with it. I had just enough for three 10 x 8 canvases ... just enough. That was two? Three years ago?

No matter, I feel that I'm off and running with these three little abstracts. I want to add touches of Titanium White and evilly dark Alizarin Crimson to each painting to complete them. The tree-picture will have constellations in its sky to correspond (approximately) to the dots on the shell ... but everything has to dry a bit before I go on. Wet on wet oil is fun only up to a certain point.

I'm thrilled to be painting again, and bemused to find that the paintings I enjoy the most are abstracts.


Alexandra said...

You do realism well, but I'm excited to see you "play". These are beautiful and I'm so impressed with them.

Cheryl said...

I'm really digging the one with the trees, but they are all cool. And they all seem to want a story/poem to go along with them.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

they have the look of wood to them...very appealing

Aser said...