This past week I've been working on a studio piece that was inspired from a field study (plein air Piece) done last summer in, yes, once again, Door County. In the photo above you can see my set up and how I often times work in the studio. To the right of my easel I've got my 'study' done in the field with pretty good color reference to work from. To the left is my Mac set up with a photo image I took the day I was in the field painting. Although I had good references to work from, it's important to have a strong concept and structural idea for a large painting to work out and become it's own painting, not just a large field study. The foundation of this painting in my mind was a path to lead you into the painting and carry you through. I love the idea of walking through a painting and it continues to be a great source of inspiration for me in much of my work, it's so poetic. So with that said, an idea is one thing and making it happen is another.
The passion and inspiration of the artist is what makes a piece original and authentic but in order for this passion to be properly supported, the painting must be grounded with the foundation to support of the original and authentic idea.
When I start laying in my paint, I start with a fairly thing layer and think of the big 'sweep' I want going through the painting. In other words, the design of painting. I lay in the large shapes of darks that connect throughout the piece, leaving the light shapes open with a warm wash underneath. At this very beginning stage of the painting, I can already see if I'm going to like the painting and the direction it is going, off to a good start. If you don't like the painting at this stage, you should WIPE IT OUT and start again! Very little time has been spent at this point. From here on out it's simply building paint texture and color until you have what you need to say what you want to say.
"Into The Color"
24x24 oil on linen
The finished painting.
There is an interesting juxtaposition of thin and thick paint going on in this painting. If you click on the image it will enlarge so you can see the texture of the paint. For me one of the most challenging parts of painting is knowing when to stop. I could have painted notes of flower colors all day long but needed to decide if it would help or hurt the overall harmony of the piece. Too much can just be too much! This is when I decided the piece is finished.