November 9, 2014

From lily pads

Yeah okay, not a great photo.
Because I'm still not ready to paint the girl, purse and water painting, I decided to get going on it anyway. I figure the poor result will be my punishment for procrastinating for a year on collecting good reference photos, designing my pallette, and doing more practice sketches.

Also, yeah.

I shot a few frames of Ada on the porch with my purse today and I think that tomorrow night I'll use them to help me paint the girl into a landscape I finished a few weeks ago. I realised after painting it that the composition was empty, the painting uninteresting, and the whole thing needed a radical do-over. Blair Paul, my teacher, gave me some ideas for sprucing it up...

...but after three weeks on it, I just wanted to put it aside.

Maybe he'll advise me against it tomorrow. I'll bring an extra canvas in case.

November 6, 2014

Energy, precision and Blair's show

Gatineau Park, looking north from Des Allumetieres
I spent over seven hours on this latest landscape and, if I keep painting this slowly, I'll atrophy. I can paint only during my 2.5 hour art class each week. Back when I was firing off bus portraits four times a week, this space was a bit more exciting, eh?

I have learned two things since I put the first nail into my own style a few months ago.

  • Thing one: I don't know much about painting. The farther I go with it, the more of it I realise I don't know how to do. Pretty standard realisation for anyone not completely full of themselves to make while doing anything worthwhile at a given time. Nothing much to see here, moving along.
  • Thing two: Following on paragraph one, my brushwork needs work, and, I don't know how to blend on the canvas.
My art teacher, Blair Paul (who has a HUGE art show this weekend), says that artists each have a distinct way of using a brush that is tied to their nervous system somehow. After he said this, assuming I am remembering it right, I paid more attention. I noticed that I generally take quick, distinct, long brushstrokes of disparate colours and I use them to build up areas in a painting without doing much blending.

I think my brushwork is unpolished and full of energy. For this painting, I tried to take more control of each stroke without losing a sense of movement. I also began trying to blend areas a bit more, something I only ever tried a few times.

You probably can't imagine how exciting this is. It looks so dull from the outside! Treeline, river, autumn brush. Or, maybe you also have a fiendish hobby that stonewalls you with slow progress and its own endless vista of unattainable mastery?