Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A Hand

I went to Machynlleth yesterday to drop off a painting to the Museum of Modern Art in Wales. It's their annual competition. The trip takes all day, mostly on trains or waiting for them but it's a nice place and entering competitions is something I like doing. The theme is "Feeling", in particular expression of feelings the artist feels. In a way all art should do that so it's a very open subject! I'll comment more on my entry later...

Today I'm preparing to begin the large Lyceum painting. It's heavy so one thing to learn is how to safely raise and lower it from its prostrate drying position to my easel and back. I redrew the right hand today because the hands in Poser aren't up to the job. It looks a bit small now. I'll use the lighting from the computer model.

Another issue was the tree. Generally it's best to paint everything in the underpainting but with less detail. Very fine lines like eyelashes can be omitted from underpainting because these can smudge in the thicker layer of paint needed for this solid coat; but things like that are an exception. Time and experience has shown me that the more detail one adds to an underpainting the better.

Trees though can pose a problem because of leaves and fine spindly branches. Are trees best painted in the glazing layer then? I have done this, on Memory. With that the sky was solid blue, then glazed in blue, then the green leaves painted into the wet glaze. This worked fine... but perhaps if it was underpainted with even more detail on top it would have looked better? Also I like the idea of a simple rule such as "underpainting everything". As such I've decided to do that for this one, and paint the tree in general blocks of colour and refine in a glaze layer.

Either way I must make haste. The second half of 2011 must be the main event, and the first half the preparation. I feel I've done nothing nothing nothing! I have too many creative ideas and am spending too long implementing them. My mistake of the year was painting big. Large paintings are difficult to store and expensive to frame. Many competitions don't allow them as entries at all, they are more likely to be rejected due to lack of space, and they take a lot more time, work and materials, and as a reuslt fewer works are produced and fewer lessons are learned (after all, every artist is a student). I will aim to finish my three large paintings as soon as possible and next year I will paint smaller.


-Don said...

Well, I agree with you that every artist is a student. I learn from reading about your processes and I appreciate your willingness to share about them. I have rarely used underpainting and glazing, so it's fun to read about the process and the results.

I understand what you mean about the large paintings. Another thing I'd like to add to your list is how expensive they are to ship.


Mark Sheeky said...

Yes, good point. I'm reminded of your heart.