Friday, February 8, 2013

First steps for arbutus on Wallace Island

For the past 3 days I have been working quite boldly on my arbutus on Wallace Island painting.

My hope is that I will be able to take some of the techniques used by Emily Carr in her 1930s beach and sky paintings and adapt them to my style.  I want the painting to be more abstract than anything I have done lately. And I want there to be a radiance everywhere suggesting not only a brilliant summer day in the Gulf Islands but also the connections between everything in the painting - trees, water, rocks, sky.

This is technically tricky for me - because I have a bad habit of trying to get a feeling, then having to make corrections because the drawing is wrong, then getting very detailed and never completely recapturing the initial feeling. I am working in short bursts with a largish brush and hoping to stay "fresh.".

Here is the picture just after I started it last fall. I had been careful to draw the main branches in quite accurately from the photos. It sat like that for a couple of months while I worked on other paitings.

Here it is today (Feb 8). There is a lot more paint on it and it is pretty swirley. If you think the rocks are wrong - I agree and actually removed a couple at the top after I took the photo - so the cliff looks a bit better than this shows.

Here is a detail - the sky with some nice bold swirls.

Another detail - the trees on the other side of the bay against the sky and their reflection in the water.

These details might make good paintings in their own right because the composition in both of them is more interesting.

The colours are not completely accurate in the photos because it is February and not very bright inside even with the lights on - so I had to use a flash. If you think the bark is too orange - that would be true. You might also think the whole thing is a bit cartoonish - in the modern sense of the word (Batman not Michelangelo's drawings). I think it is - but I knd of like it. This is only a second layer of oil paint and very turpetiny - so a long way to go.

This is the only painting I have going right now - I better find another subject. It's always better to have several paintings going at once when you're using oils. Otherwise, you end up making mud instead of letting the paint dry. Maybe... I'll do new paintings of sections of the big painting. Could be very cool!

Theatre, Trollers and Kayak Done (I think)

In early February, 2013, I worked on some of the details of this painting - mainly the kayak and the gill netter on the right - plus the railings and the ramp. They now represent what would actually be seen more accurately. I think that fixing those parts made the whole picture seem more consistent and finished.

I never did do anything with the little bit of building at the base of the Coast Bastion Hotel. I'm pretending I'm Cezanne - who always left a bit of bare canvas to remind people his work was a painting.

The water reflections are the only really abstract part of the painting.  I like them.

I think the picture might lack atmospheric perspective. Nothing seems far away. This could be mentally annoying. However, there are lots of horizontal, vertical and zig zag lines for the eye to follow around the painting - so you don't have to get stuck in the puzzle.Also, the colours in the actual painting are less intensely blue than in the photo - so the mountain doesn't seem so close.

I think this painting is done.