My goal with this image of Charlie Parker was to do it in a bold, spontaneous manner. I had recently seen a video by Don Andrews and I love his style of laying on the paint. In my attempt I feel that I was quite successful. I started out with a red wash over the entire paper except the white areas. Then while still wet I laid in some strong darks particularly in the background. As per usual I then wanted to let that wash dry so I could evaluate things. This is my comfort zone in painting. I had a real moment of insight when Sharon Williams suggested not to wait for it to dry but keep working it, laying in more darks and linking the background with the darks in the face. All of a sudden the light bulb just turned on. I could see myself pushing through my comfort zone and just letting it go. I think that would have given the painting even more spontaneity an most importantly I would have learned something really new about painting and about myself. I find this idea incredibly exciting and intend to do some real exploration of this approach. It’s moments like this that keep me moving along this art journey. So I really like this image for what it is but I’m most inspired by where it might lead.
I am posting this image again because after undergoing a fairly rigorous critique and by making a number of changes I feel it has improved substantially. This reminds me of the power of having other people give their thoughts and evaluations. We artists spend so much time with with our noses right up against the work and often with our minds locked in our own notions that we can be blind to elements that are already on the paper and unaware of other directions. Some works just seem to come from some other place and almost paint themselves but for me the vast majority of paintings are works in progress. I take them to a place where I need to stop and live with them for a while and then, hopefully, I will know how to proceed. For this particular piece the entire process was speeded up by listening to other peoples feedback. Painting is a solitary pursuit, the art journey is not.
As an introduction to figures I just blobbed paint on the paper with no drawing and no preconception of figures. Some white spots were left. Then this mass of various colours is refined partially while still wet but primarily when dry. I tried to visualize figures in the colour and sort of teased them out. You get a very spontaneous and effective grouping of figures. I created the dark background just to accentuate the figures. In this painting I added gouache to give more definition to the proceedings. This is a very enjoyable process in part because you need to give up control which is liberating.
Using a reference photo that I have mined for an entire series of images I tried to take it further ‘out there’ into abstraction. I simplified, rearranged, modified and changed to create the above image. When I first imaged what I wanted to do I envisioned a scene with all these rounded shapes and a sense of enclosure. I feel that this image does have a real sense of place. I’m still debating about adding more to the background, and more leaves but at this stage where it’s about 80% done I like to live with it for a while until I know what it needs. The palette was predominately warm and uses watercolour and gouache. The colours used were Indanthrene Blue, Manganese Hue, Emerald Green, Alizarin Carmine and Winsor Orange.
I’ve posted this image because it is a good example of the painting process that I have been studying. I had an old photo I’d taken of a little creek right that’s right beside Elbow Falls. I’ve used this image for a painting before but at that time I just took the entire image with a few minor adjustments. This time I was looking at it and and focused on a tiny section of the photo and it gave me an idea. I quickly did a small compositional sketch then a larger value study. The tall and narrow format came because I had a frame that size. Anyway the next day I did this painting. I used thalo blue and cadmium scarlet almost entirely. I like the painting which I call Chance Encounter since it’s a little scene that I often happen upon and it has, for me, that feeling of seclusion. What I really enjoyed about this painting was having and using a process to go from reference material to a personal statement.