A small 8×8 inch oil completed late last year but only now been able to capture in a way I felt did it justice. The colors are laid in via glazed layers and the essence of the image changes as the light on it shifts.
Mount Mansfield and Malletts Bay combined one brisk early 2017 fall morning in Vermont with photos and an experience that gave rise to this painting late 2018.
The painting took awhile to evolve from the photos, and the poem – written late one February night, 2019 – took even longer. That’s the way it works sometimes (smiles).
Slowly, like the sunrise itself, I realized, the poem in my tweet not only fit my feeling of standing in the early morning cold – cold for me, a Texas boy, lol! – but also fit the process I experienced deciding how to let the painting, the image – flow inside the paint across the canvas!
I experimented placing more detail both into the shadows on the water and within the silhouette of Mount Mansfield, but opted for the flow of light itself to be the greater draw, on the water and on and within the solitary boat. And this short poem, in the tweet above, I believe, turns out to reflect this – literally – back to me, my feelings in the gnarly dark dusk.
Creative work it seems, is as much what it creates in awareness within myself as what finally appears in print and paint (smiles).
This new painting started with a basic layin I took to a the Old Bakery & Emporium, a historical non-profit gallery gift shop here in Austin, to work on recently. Here’s my tweet from that day –
I worked in a full basic layover that afternoon that felt pretty darn close to what I wanted – colorful, fun, optimistic 🙂 This is what it looked like end of the afternoon on my mini easel I’d taken to the gallery –
Later at home, a day or two later, I worked in more colors and – esp in the flower – lots more texture! That was fun 🙂
From this point, it was so close to what I wanted I let it hang on my wall near my easel at home where I could see it different ways – in passing, pausing going by, standing in front of it, catching sight of it by surprise – giving me feedback on how it made me feel in moments I wasn’t expecting.
I liked it. A lot!
But I felt it still lacked just a little of something I was looking for, and I wasn’t sure what it was yet.
I liked the way the dark space bottom left between the leaf and the flower matched the upper right corner. The dark contrast worked well, but it also left me feeling isolated somehow. So I worked the flower with tiny gradations of yellows and even pale pinks.
Gradually I began to see I needed to choose. Did I want the flower to be almost as if in space? Bright and shiny against the background with some surrounding foliage and color? Or did I want the flower to be more immersed in its surroundings? Part of the garden?
I decided on the latter and began adding touches into some of the negative spaces.
I remember standing in front of my painting as it rested on the wall about eye level with me, and made the conscious decision to make the upper right darkish area, with its wonderful streaks of thin lines and textures, more aligned with the bottom left, with the lush growth of green leaf – keeping the upper right’s original flow of texture – and added the swatches of green and turquoise!
Now it worked more fully for me!
I liked both versions, but I wanted the feel I got with the finished version – more engaged, more optimistic, more of the sense of the flower as part of a plush garden environment 🙂
I hope you enjoyed the development of my work, and will agree that – sometimes – it really just has to be a choice what we want our art work to become, even if much of the development is intuitive and includes letting portions of the painting just “be”!
Let me know what you think, and thanks so much for stopping by 😊
It started like this, a textured palette knife inlay modeled on the values and inverse colors of a macro cropping of a photo of mine I really like…
My reference photo, pictured below, and currently available on my Fine Art America (FAA) site, is a beautiful play of light. Eventually I’d like to try my hand at the image in the photo itself. A very impressionist version I’d think 🙂
But much like my painting, Yellow Blooms Coral Accents, also based on a photo on my FAA site (Theatre of Light), I found my initial inverse color/value inlay too much to my liking to paint over.
Eventually I will come back to my violet/purple photo image to paint, but this is very much part of what I’m discovering in asking myself, “where do I stop before I ruin something I’d rather not lose?” (smiles)
Creativity it seems, for me, is more a flow than a stack of steps 🙂
Meanwhile, here’s the other stages to the finished painting, Woman in Moonlight. Each image was the ending point for work on this painting that day.
Step 2, adding the emerging moon. Step 3, adding the woman in the moonlight.
Step 4 (finished work), adding a bird in flight and a few small highlights.
Thank you so much for coming by! I hope you can see, as I’m really only beginning to realize myself, sometimes a work is finished in one sitting. Other times, enroute to the initial target-image, a better/preferred or don’t-want-to-lose-it version appears. And in some, like “Woman in Moonlight” – a story-feeling needs a fuller expression within the abstract to complete itself within myself. Yes, definitely the magic of art 🙂
Next post I hope to show the finished work of another floral, first shown in-progress via a tweet from the Old Bakery and Emporium here in Austin 🙂
Setting up at Old Baker & Emporium this afternoon 2 do a little painting 🙂 This is a historical bldg in Austin across from the Texas State Capital. Gonna work on this little 8×8 w/water soluble oils I prepped w/my basic design. 1st time ever painting in public – wish me luck! 🙂 pic.twitter.com/XwiOOOn8VN
My newest Fine Art America photography and art collection – “Light”
I was recently debating the title for a new nearly finished oil painting – I pretty sure I’ve settled on “Woman in Moonlight” – when I suddenly wondered how much of my photography and art I’ve titled with “Light” in the title.
The answer was “more than I thought!” 🙂
Luckily, Fine Art America, where I have most of my available images posted, is built where I can create custom individual collections defined and populated as I’d like to!
In this instance I wanted a buyer or licensee or fan to be able to find those works I’ve captured or painted in one easy-to-find grouping, much as I do for sunsets, images of Paris, Vermont, and so much more.
Granted, I do believe most of my work involves a celebration of light in our lives, both in my photography and art work, but I thought it kinda interesting to find those I actually used “Light” in the title, and see what was there (smiles).
As soon as I’m finished with “Woman in Moonlight” I’ll post pictures of the process from intuitive abstract beginning to (hopefully) story-telling finished painting 🙂
I hope you’ll agree, the title needed “Light” included in it!
Normally most artists selling their art work, prints, and gift items don’t know who’s bought something of theirs at Fine Art America, but this particular buyer, artist Nancy Griswold, contacted me and let me know.
I’d already been a fan of her work so it is particularly satisfying the sales have been to someone whose work I admire.
My very minor way of thanking her is to point you where you can see some of her beautiful and thoughtful work.
She lives in New England so that of course is a huge influence on her images.
Beautiful art by New England artist Nancy Griswold
Nancy’s Fine Art America image page for “Vermont Gardens” says this was painted all on site of the image location – amazing enough considering the combination of great choices done literally on the spot – the layered composition, from the sky and soft horizon line of trees and farmstead; through the roll of light on the slant of hill (banked by shaded trees); to the nearer foreground garden anchored by the figure loving working the land – all brushed in soft clear lines and sweeps of color!
More of Nancy’s work can be seen and purchased at these varied online locations –
Probably my biggest challenge – besides knowing when the work is done and stop, and thus allowing myself to return to abstract painting after many decades – is what and how to insert something recognizable into the image: a person, or thing – animate or inanimate (sailboats, birds, a bicycle, the moon, etc).
One of the reasons it was so hard for me to learn to accept a good stopping point when working an abstract – colors, lines and forms – was I felt I had to evolve the abstract itself into something recognizable.
Yet, I was often, actually almost always, much happier with my satisfying abstract vs whatever it was I tried to evolve it into looking like (buildings, clouds, mountains, etc).
The answer, for me, even if challenging, in an almost Roschart-like puzzle-like manner, was deciding on the right object in the right location within the finished abstract.
Because this allows me, after a series of deliberations re composition & source image & color keys, a period of nearly fully-free expressiveness!
It’s hard to express how satisfying this stage of painting is for me – bounded only by a growing awareness to sense when to stop, when to let a streak or stroke of color “be”, and eventually, when to let the work set for the final stages.
That final stage, for me, is often a grueling combination of choosing the right object (person or thing) to place into the new world my semi-abstract seems to suggest, then actually executing the tighter yet still-painterly representation into that abstract.
Sometimes I succeed so well in completing the work, I find it hard to find where to sign my new painting, lol! But that’s a different still-evolving story for another time 🙂
Right now I’m working on a strange little 8×8 with lots of earth tones that follows the above sequence. I’ve been lucky enough to photo-document the changes as I’ve progressed and’ll be posting on that when the full process works out. (smiles)
My “stopping myself before I ruin my own art” sample above serves dual purpose – it was once a delicate single flower with a muted background.
I tried to “enhance” the flower (I was quite happy with the background), feeling it “had” to have a certain look or finish. Maybe it did. But, using my palette knife, I tried adding texture when I should have (I now realize) added glazes.
Behind the black backdrop behind the yellows is that former painting!
So at this point my shakey question to myself was, is this finished enough? I liked it. I was comfortable with it. But again I wanted just a few more finishing touches. And this time color and texture were added delicately, slowly, using both a palette knife and brush. I hope you like the result 🙂
Next post in this little series, “Deciding When My Painting is Done” I’ll talk a little about another very recent painting where I had added an object into a landscape abstract, it didn’t work, and how I solved the problem – I hope 🙂
Thank you so much for coming by – more to come! (smiles)
Way back in the early 80s I restarted painting (after playing around with art in my late teens / early 20s (late 60s, early 70s), I mainly created abstracts and back then I would have declared this work finished before I’d added the bird.
I persisted in that way, despite a supervisor I worked under in Galveston (at the County Clerk’s office) suggesting I add “something” he could key on within the work to make it work for him, until I moved on to playful surreal work then my long term favorite, Impressionism.
Recently I’ve again returned to abstracts, and found myself haunted by this gracious man’s words. He’d liked my work, but it just seem complete to him. Somehow, nearly four decades later, I’ve come to the same conclusion: I needed “something” identifiable to feel the work was complete 🙂