Wednesday, April 14, 2010

From Memory To Landscape Impression

"Beaver Dam Island Reflections"
24x18 oil on linen


This past week I wrapped up 2 new studio paintings that are near and dear to my heart. Like many painters, I most often find my surroundings the inspiration for my work, often for me this is the place where I grew up. I'm fortunate enough that place still exists and I have complete access to it. As I grow as an artist, I'm finding myself compelled to paint the places I have fond memories of. I'm finding myself using the place as a memory trigger that allows me to go well beyond the 'subject' that is before me, but rather paint my emotional response and memory to a moment as my impression.
The paintings below are of the beaver dam behind my Dad's house. I spent many years of my childhood exploring this habitat and enjoying it's beauty.

This is the beginning stages of "Beaver Dam Island Reflections". I started out with a wash of transparent oxide red to map out my large shapes and where I wanted them to be placed. I believe I also used aliz. and viridian to map out my darks. I spend a lot of time thinking of how I best want to portray what it is I want to say in my painting. For me, It is critical to have a strong start in my paintings.
Getting away from my block in (above) and making certain it's where I want it to be, I begin to mass in my large shapes in it's areas of lights and darks.

Most of the time I like to work up my studio pieces by getting my large massing in fairly soon in the process. So, I wanted to get the water mass covered. One of the main reasons I do this is because color is relative to it's surroundings and until I get the color close to where I need it to be it would be difficult to fine tune the rest of my painting.
Getting started on my reflections here. I really love painting reflections. I spent years just studying the river and how to capture it with paint (I'm still workin' on that by the way!) :) The one thing I've learned to 'usually' be true with a clear reflection is that your darks almost always reflect a bit lighter (and grayer) and your lights almost always reflect a bit darker (and grayer) and how ever clear it might appear there is typically some kind of subtle half tone color in between the two. The best thing to do though is to just squint down and make your own judgement!

Building my texture in foliage and having fun doing it!

I worked back and forth trying to correct the large shape of the tree mass until I was happy with it.

At this point, I'm getting close. So, I start slowing down quite a bit. Taking many breaks to keep my eye as fresh as possible. Always telling myself that each stroke at this point has to help the painting. If it hurts it, it's obvious not to put it in but if it doesn't hurt OR help, it's not necessary either. Easier said than done. I think this is about when I had to stop and go get my kids from school. Another good reason to have kids, keeps the eye fresh! ;)

Awe, now for restraint! Tough when you like lily pads so much! They make me kinda happy so it's tough to stop when laying in the final notes which are symbols for lily pads. That was kind of like just taking 2 bites of cake when you have a huge piece in front of you! Just enough.

Final

"Lily Pads And Blue Skies"
20x24
"Lily Pads And Blue Skies" are of the same place. My concept here is to paint this place from as many different perspectives possible. We'll see what happens!

27 comments:

Marc R. Hanson said...

Both beautifully painted paintings Kami! Your work is steadily reaching new heights of accomplishment. I can't wait to see the next one off of your easel.

Judy P. said...

These are beautiful paintings, and your step-by-steps really showcase your decision-making process.

Sri Debi said...

Kami, thanks for sharing these. I can see a lot of progress in your work since I started seeing it. And I LOVE your reason for having kids.

Kami Polzin said...

Thank you Marc. That means a lot coming from you. :)

Kami Polzin said...

Hello Judy, thanks! It's fun to share! Happy Painting to you!

Kami Polzin said...

Hey Debi!

I'm crackin' up at the kids comment. :) Always thinking like an optimist you know! ;)

Happy Painting!

Jeremy Elder said...

It is very insightful to see the process of these beautiful paintings. Thanks.

René PleinAir. said...

Wow with this kind of posting it becomes very VERY tempting to head off to my studio, and make a real studio piece. In short Inspiring Kami very inspiring!

Thanks.

Kami Polzin said...

Jeremy, thank you! I too enjoy seeing other artist work in progress, it seems very inspirational to me. I think to share the process is also inspiring, I'm finding it a good thing to rethink the process once I've completed the painting and try and put it to words, not that it's completely possible to do that. . .but I try! :)

Kami Polzin said...

Gee Thanks Rene! :) Glad it inspired you! Your work inspires ME. :) Thanks for checking in, I can't wait to see your new found studio inspiration paintings! Happy Painting till later!

Claire Beadon Carnell said...

Beautiful work. I really enjoyed seeing and reading your step-by-step process.

Kami Polzin said...

Thanks Claire! I really appreciate hearing that. I'm not sure why I feel so compelled to write about it, I think it's really good for part of the process to replay the process once the painting is completed. I get so engrossed while painting that I don't necessarily think about it like this while painting. :) Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

上宜俊宇芳心 said...

人沒有朋友,有如地球上沒有陽光。......................................................

Dennis Dame said...

Great work Kami! The top one looks just like the river by my house! Bravo!!

Christopher O'Handley said...

Love that first one (maybe your best work so far?) and the step-by-step is very interesting. How long did you work on that painting? Is it linen on a board, or stretched? Looks like board...

Kami Polzin said...

Thank you Dennis. I appreciate the nice comment. :) There's something about painting a place that has vivid memories in the mind's eye.
What river are you by?

Kami Polzin said...

Hi Christopher
Thanks so much for the comment. It's interesting, this was one of those paintings that went pretty smooth from start to finish. I stareted about 11:00 and worked all the way through (besides taking an hour to run my kids) and come back and worked until 9:00 at night. I thought I would need to come back and work all day Friday but realized when I got down there that there was really nothing left to do except put in the birch tree.
So, short answer long. . . about 10 hours painting time. :)
It's painted on C12 double primed on gator board. It's pretty fine but worked very well for this piece. I need a smooth texture for reflections.
Happy Painting!

liz wiltzen said...

Really love the top piece Kami, it is so tough to paint reflections convincingly and you nailed them, your edge work is key. Great work!

Erik said...

Hi Kami,
Great paintings! Thanks for posting the steps, very interesting to see.
I can see your heart is in these paintings.
Love the palette knife painting too.

Craig Granger said...

Kami, Love your work! Reminds me so much of the fields and farmland of Southern Michigan where I grew up. I have fond memories of tose days. Thanks for stirring them up :)

嘉容嘉容 said...

笑口常開~~天天開心........................................

Kami Polzin said...

Thank you Liz! I really enjoy painting water, especially reflecions. I think the subtle area between light and dark is important to merge the two into one.
Happy Painting!

Kami Polzin said...

Thanks for checking in Erik! It's fun to make a post like this once in a while. Good for me to replay the process in my head when I post it. Hope it's interesting to others as well!
Good to hear from you and happy Painting!

Kami Polzin said...

Hi Craig, thank you for the nice comment! I appreciate it. Michigan huh? Nice! Art is good for stirring up memories. That's really what this certain project is for me, a memory reflector. :) I'm still working on more pieces from this place. I'll be posting more but just returned home from painting in Sarasota last night. A great trip painting!

文行 said...

Nice Post~!!!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Opendoor Studio said...

Kami,
Lovely, simply lovely! thank you for the tips! I love seeing how you build your paintings! the reflections in the water are superb !

Isabel Forbes said...

Beaver dam is a beautiful painting and well deserved of the Finalist award in the Raymar competition! Congratulations!