Thursday, June 21, 2012

Going through a phase or "Duck!"

                                                             Gouache Plein Air Sketch, 6x6"

The above painting is a view of my yard.  After I took it as far as I could in the time I had the first day, I decided it "needed something."  Considering the convenience of the location, I was able to return to the same spot the next day to complete it.     I have to consider these pieces sketches.  They don't feel complete to me the way the acrylics do.

As noted in the prior post, I somehow started having a difficult time painting once I started painting from photos.  Well, the first one, the boy and the duck from a couple posts ago came out fine.  Then, the next time I worked with a photo, I felt like I might drift into just copying photos, like I did in my very early colored pencil phase.  I do NOT want to just copy photos!  But having a hard time interpreting photos, I think because I still haven't figured out color, how to use it in a personal way without just copying what I see. 

Somehow, all this difficulty seems to have turned me away from acrylics for awhile and towards gouache.  Why gouache?  Somehow, for awhile using gouache seemed more friendly, more like playing, than using the acrylics.  I was able to take them out on 30 minutes of my lunch hour and make sketches (that I will show you) in the park. 

Still, why, I had to ask myself, was the gouache seeming friendlier, more doable in a short stint on a lunch hour?  I had pretty much given up on painting at lunchtime when I was using acrylics.

I finally figured out that using gouache is less of  a "production" than using acrylics in that they are more water soluble and they are not going to get sticky on me.  I can get far more done in a short period of time because they clean off the brush faster than acrylics.  So, I can change color mixes far faster with the goauche.  That is why I can get so much more done.

However, I don't like the results with the gouache nearly as much as with the acrylics.  They seem blurrier and and have less "punch."  At least mine do.  If you want to see some dynamic gouache work, check out Larry Seiler's site by clicking the link to the right.  He is supposed to have an on-line gouache class one of these days that I am very much looking forward to. 

For now, I have to consider these to be just sketches.  I am thinking of using the one of the man in the chair as a reference for an acrylic painting.  I have a photo of the scene, too.  I think that the gouache sketch reminds me of how it felt to be at the scene far more than the photo does, even though the colors are far from accurate and are in fact somewhat goofy! (I am not nearly as familiar with mixing colors with gouache as I am with my beloved acrylics!)

                                                            Gouache Plein Air Sketch, 6x6"

My very first gouache sketch was the duck below.  The duck was about 2 feet from me.  I had just started blocking him in when he turned 180 degrees, bogggling my mind as I tried to do everything mirror image from what I was seeing.  Then he left, of course before I was finished.  No chance to paint the shadows.  Then, suddenly a man and young girl (2 to 3 years old) were at my elbow, having just climbed the hill I was sitting on at the park.  The little girl pointed to my painting and said, "Duck."  Phew!  Validated by a 3 year old.  I was thrilled, nevertheless....Aren't I lucky to have a park 3 minutes from work?

                                                             Plein Air Sketch, Gouache, 6x6"

And finally, I did the below from a photograph.  I was not at all happy with it after my first pass.  It completely lacked any oomph.  So, I decided to try to enhance it with colored pencils.  Colored pencils have a tendency to make you work tight and detailed, which you can see happened here.  Thus, this painting is NOT how I want my paintings to look, but I am going thru some kind of phase.....  There is a prize for the person who recognizes this scene as being part of their very own house (hint:  the prize is a delivery of cat probiotics).

                                                                Gouache and colored pencil, 7 x 10"

Long post, so thanks for hanging in.  I expect I will be back to my acrylics soon, but I think I will continue to do gouache sketches when I am limited in time.  What a great discovery!!

Problems with Blogger program

I just wanted to let you all know I have tried several times to post some new paintings.  It seems like I can now do posts only without images!   I will have to work on this problem, but wanted to let you know.   Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Where have I been?

I didn't really want to do a post without a painting, but I feel like it has been long enough that I should say something.  Two things have delayed my next ("long anticipated," I am sure!) painting:

1)  Now that I am painting people, I am working from photos again instead of from life.  I seem to have a much harder time painting a good painting from a photograph.  The colors aren't right and the lighting isn't right.  I want to INTERPRET a photo instead of copy a photo.  However, I feel limited in my personal understanding of color, too limited to do a good interpretation unless I luck out.  Which, with my current painting, is not in any way whatsoever happening.  I've worked on it a few times now, and each time experience frustration with where to go with it.  I started referring to the painting yesterday, while I was working on it, as the "bane of my existence."  Hmmmmmm.....  if a painting becomes the bane of an artist's existence, perhaps it is time to put it down for awhile and move on to another painting!

2)  I also had a physical challenge last week that I will not bore you with.  Suffice it to say I am better now, but was way not my best last week.

Thanks for bearing with me.  I guess this is growing pains.  Very frustrating, but I know with the help of my artistic support team I will get through this.  I think.  Yesterday I did have the thought that I could spare myself a bunch of trouble by giving up trying to make art, and with the money saved on supplies, I could just BUY art from other artists that I love!
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