I borrowed this phrase from the recently deceased Canadian painter Robert Genn who believed that there is only so much we can learn about how to paint from the many fine instructors and resources available today. The true learning comes from going off on our own and just doing it - Go to your room!

I have had the good fortune to take instruction from outstanding artists in Canada and the USA. I continue to work on my own development ( Going to MY room!) . I share, through this blog and workshops, what I have learned and what others have shared with me.

I created this blog primarily for those attending my workshops to keep in touch and to further share as we grow together. If others are interested in following that would be great.

Enjoy the journey.

Monday 25 January 2016

Starting a new week

I tend to paint in batches. Today, as on most Mondays, I often set up a group of large pieces to work on during the week. This week its' west coast pieces for a west coast gallery. As well as working on those new pieces during the week I will be bringing other recent pieces back in as needed for refining.

I begin by selecting images, then cropping and modifying by computer ( ACDSee Ultimate Pro 9) . To make the approach I am using this week work I need to select images with a clear foreground, mid ground and background. I will be starting with foreground then shaping it with mid ground and that with back ground.

I make thumbnail sketches using pencil and pad then transfer a crude plan on canvas using acrylic markers . I sketch the group together.

The approach I  am using for these pieces is based on the references I have selected. I want a serendipitous outcome. Of course, not all pieces are started this loosely.

I make undercolour choices for each and begin a very crude value plan normally scrubbing in dark transparent colours and removing and adding as needed using a large rubber shaper. In the one below, 20x30,  I began laying in the yellows and orange on the white canvas before I crudely banged in the darks. Always adding a mix of colour into the dark value - just happenstance.

The one below is 18x36 on umber treated gesso.  Its a bit more of a trick adding the colours into the value shapes - but just bang in what colours might work on the trees and background.

The next is 24x36 .  If you enlarge the image you can see where the dark green/red values is brushed in then the shaper use to create crude tree shapes and thinning and thickening the paint/value.

I then begin to shape the foreground using opques adding to the crude value plan. All this is done quickly and loosely hoping for an uncertain but interesting outcome. With time and patience I know now that I could bring each piece back to looking almost like the original reference - but that is no longer my intent or interest. The reference is merely the starting point. From this stage on now I no longer consider the original reference image  - just trying to make each piece stand alone as something interesting.

Above you can see my work area. On the left a Staywet palette holding my tube paints. On the back left a selection of Golden liquids (mostly dark transparents) and on the glass mixing palette you can see jars of opaque grays of different colour and value I mix from left over paints etc.

So thats a pretty good morning and a fairly good start on the two pieces. I will carve the shapes into the third tomorrow. Then come back in and start refining each.

I am now comfortable making such rough starts full of happenstance but working towards a crude value plan. From this point things start to slow down and get serious.. So I will work with these during the week. In addition I will pull into the studio pieces begun in previous weeks to make adjustments and tweeks as needed. My new studio is large and is beside a large family room that we really don't use so I can hang many recent paintings - works in progress - where I can consider and make changes for a few weeks as required. This is new for me and I think is going to help refine my final produce.

So I start crude and fast - but trying to focus on value then finish slowly and more carefully spending many days coming back to each piece refining. In most cases the final product is tweeked greatly changed over a period of two weeks.  If needed, I photo, look at the value plan in black and white or upload into Sketchbook Pro and rearrange shapes etc as needed. I am moving more and more from pencil and pad to the computer for answering questions.

Hardest part of it all - selecting the theme and images to work with . Once started its just play until its done.

Hope your having a good week too.