Lately when I meet fellow artists and they ask ‘what have you been up to’ I’ve started saying that the past few months have been an period of dedicated play. I’ve put my more ‘serious’ work aside and I’ve just tried new things. Very little of the prep work I usually do. No thumbnails, colour studies, no value studies just jump right in – mostly with photos but also some plein air work. I’ve called it by a few names such as plein air in the studio etc but what it really is is just play.
I’m posting some of the results. Some of these paintings are successful as paintings some are not but I learned from each of them. I don’t know about the wisdom of posting paintings that may not be successful. However as learning experiences they were all very successful so I’m going to do it anyway.
This one was a lot of fun. It’s exactly the look I was going for – very loose. I have always been attracted to the lines of the steps.
This one was an attempt to capture a mass of foliage.
In preparation for my workshop in Lethbridge I wanted to try to make something of this downtown building. This is just a literal interpretation.
With this one I wanted to make it a more personal statement.
This one was to put it all together. Watercolour is so good a recording a rainy day that I used that theme.
This is a return to probably my favourite location, Kensington Market in Toronto. I love the ramshackle nature of the place. Very human, very interesting. This one I am very happy with and intend to do a larger studio version.
I’m intrigued by this wall and really wanted to work it into a painting so I literally copied the photo. Nice idea but not successful. Major confusion around ‘what’s the painting about’. Is it the girl catching the sun or the colourful poster. Trying to make both important doesn’t work.
A very well known artist I know said that the human eye can’t really imagine what something will look like without actually seeing it. So by doing this I could see that as much as I love the girl and the wall I have to make a choice. Can’t have the two stars competing.
So let’s focus on the girl. I like that and I like the wall now but the structure on the left is probably too busy. Again it takes away from the star of the show – the girl.
Just a few steps away from the previous painting I caught this girl on the phone. Her rich, reddish brown skin was captivating. The dark really brings her out. It’s getting hard to take photos of people without the ubiquitous cell phone.
So what is the power of play.
For me it’s exciting, quick and very focused. But above all it’s a wonderful way to explore new themes, new techniques and to learn and grow as an artist.