Sunday, April 3, 2011

24x24 "Harmony Of The Meadow" (demo)

This is my latest studio memory piece.  My plan is do 2 more pieces in this 24x24 format of the same meadow area with different moods and light.  I am using my little 6"x6"pieces I did for the 6" Squared Exhibition in California.  I've got those 3 pieces posted below and they are currently somewhere between here and there on their way to the show, I'd like to be going with my little paintings!  
But, oh well. . . . :)
When starting this piece, I had every good intention of photographing the process in it's important developing stages, but once really getting in to the painting I was so zoned that I forgot to keep up the shooting of this piece.  So here's what I had! 

When I'm beginning a painting, either small or larger, I'm always thinking of the placement of the large abstract shapes that will construct the composition.  Believe me, I LOVE this tree and all it's character but I'm seeing and thinking of it's shape and the fact that it is a form.  Same goes with the background mass of trees and the meadow area.  I paint landscape because of my love for it but I don't get caught up in the little details of it's complexity.  I believe in painting with great reservation to show these beautiful little exceptions at the end of the piece.  (such as the flowers in this piece) The tiny notes of purity in the end of a painting are what people and comment on see but it's the underlying structure of these shapes that gives a painting it's 'bones'.  
So, that's what I was thinking at this stage.  Starting with my shapes of darks and working the lines of the composition.  I usually start with a wash of some sort.  I probably used a transparent oxide red in this one. . . ? 
At this stage I'm pretty happy with the feel and composition so I start to work the form by developing what is going on within the big shapes.  
I begin to 'work up' or 'build up' the paint a bit.  I always start my painting pretty thin and 'work up' the paint, meaning start to work a bit thicker as the painting develops.  If I work too thick in the beginning stages of a painting, I can completely lose it!  I think paint quality has a lot to do with paint consistency.  I don't usually use any mediums, for the most part anyway, but I do use mineral spirits to thin my paint and get the consistency I like.  Paint consistency is very personal and it's difficult for anyone to tell a student painter exactly how their paint should feel to them but I do think you have to paint a LOT before you know what works best for you.  I'm always exploring this as I work, and really it's feeling of the paint under the brush that I crave the most about painting.     
As you can see here I start adding some color in the foreground grasses.  But it was not until the very end stages of the painting that I even thought about adding the bits of colors in the flowers.  
A note about painting grasses:  it's important to search for and find the shapes, even in a subject (like grasses in a meadow) that provides a less than obvious structure, and contains much more of a subtle separation of lights and darks.  Connect your lights and connect your darks to begin.  Realize that under all the lush color is the warmth of the earth that vibrates through on a very subtle level.  Build from there and even in the most busy field of wild flowers, nature gracefully connects these dancing notes of color.  It's up to us as artists to find the connection and sweep of these notes to serve the area as a one unified and cohesive statement, the whole.  

"Harmony Of The Meadow"
24x24 oil on linen panel


J Joy Nocifora said...

Thanks for sharing this process, Kami! It is very helpful! Good luck on the 6x6 Higbee show!

Kami Polzin said...

thanks Joy!

Jim Serrett said...

Very interesting to see this develop, and I agree the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I believe you did capture the big picture, beautiful results.

Kami Polzin said...

thank you Jim, I really appreciate your comments. I think I'm sharing this because I work with so many students that when they first start painting, they don't understand the importance of the underlying abstract shapes and end up making painting even more difficult than it has to be. It's difficult enough! :) thanks again for checking it! :)

Marc R. Hanson said...

Very nice explanation and of course, very nice paintings Kami. It's interesting to see how those one or two days have brought you so much to work with. A pretty inspirational time and place. :) A memory not soon forgotten. Keep up the good work. :)

Marian Fortunati said...

First congrats on getting 3 paintings into the Higbee Show. I'm sure they'll all do really well as your work shines and Higbee's a great promoter!!

Second... Thanks for this clear and fascinating look into your thought processes while painting.. Loved the images too.


Bluezy said...

makes me feel peaceful like looking at a Monet.

Kami Polzin said...

thank you Bluezy, I love Monet! One of my favorites!

Kami Polzin said...

Thank you Marian, are you going to the show? Aren't you in CA?
And also thanks for the comment on my post. The concept of my pieces is such a large part of the process that it's nice to be able to share that. Glad you enjoyed it. :)

Kami Polzin said...

Thank you Marc, yes it was very inspiring but really like I'd seen it or been there before. It's cross between Door County and a place on my Dad's farm. . . I'm not quite sure where . . . I'm still working on more!

loriann said...

Hi Kami,
Thank you so much for sharing your process. I couldn't wait to see how you would work up one of your beautiful smaller field paintings into a larger studio size. The finished piece is beautiful!
I have little question, that you may have address in another post I missed. I am always curious about other painters palettes. What is on yours?
PS Your tip about keeping the grasses as shapes is an excellent one.

Kami Polzin said...

HI Lorian
Thanks for the nice comment!
For my palette I use a fairly limited palette of a warm and cool of each primary.
cad yellow light or lemon
cad yellow
cad scarlet
car red
aliz crims
ultra marine blue
titanium white (w.n.)
additional colors occassionaly
, permanent rose
transparent oxide red
viridian (I use it for my darks with aliz, not for greens)
Hope that helps! :) happy painting!