Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I have tried to cultivate the habit of taking pictures a lot during the painting process. I actually found it helpful, later. Sometimes, weeks after, I will prepare a self critique, as a Word document, with phases of the process inserted. The critique is a way of keeping oneself honest.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Plein Air Franklin Farm

Finished Painting
9x12 Oil on Raymar Panel

Plein Air Time 100 Minutes
Studio Touchup Time 30 Minutes

Work in Progress # 3
Trying to control hard and soft edges.

Work in Progress # 2
I was anxious to show the lower sky haze.

Work in Progress # 1

Composition Sketch
Close to lens view, but wanted to include some cornfield
and distant trees on right

My Camera View
Spent over one hour meandering around Franklin back roads,
trying to find the right scene with a good safe pull over spot, and enough
seclusion. Very hot, sultry conditions (temperature around 86 F)-needed to
paint fast.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Heading in a Direction

Storm Watch

Launching the Currach
My first efforts at oil painting occurred in my early 'teens. The paints and other materials were a gift from one of my uncles and, for a couple of years, without any tutoring, I pottered about learning as best I could, how to use the paints. At the time, I was given a biography of Paul Henry, who was at that time, the early 'fifties, one of Ireland's most gifted and prominent artists.

I copied a considerable number of the color plates in that book, one or two of which have survived in my family home.

Recently, as much out of curiosity as nostalgia, I decided to see how I would perform/react/fare-whatever word suits best-to the experience now of copying one of his pieces. I chose this painting, because of the fluid, dynamic and dramatic position of the figures and thoroughly enjoyed the initial drawing of the figures, which I did very quickly. In fact, in order to convey the fluid movement, it was essential to draw quickly (with the brush).

I was not concerned with making a faithful copy-just conveying the general mood. The big problem I had was finding a good color copy. Initially what I found was from an on line source, but it left me feeling that the color reproduction was far from true. From there, I investigated further and found a new publication in the central library, downtown Indianapolis, which showed different colors. So.... I sort of compromised and towards the end, flew on my own.

Here are the two side by side. My copy is the second image (obviously, I guess).

This effort led to more research into finding photos of West of Ireland fishermen and Currachs. For the un-informed, a Currach is an ancient Celtic No Keel wooden fishing boat, formerly covered in animal skins (in tarred canvas these days). These boats, extremely lightweight and buoyant, are very effective in the rough Atlantic on the west coast, but hard to handle-usually with three or four oarsmen. Currach images in Irish painting scenes are somewhat cliched, but I have never done one. Now I am looking further for composing more paintings.

In the meantime....going, as I said, In a Direction, I looked at Patrick Flaherty's famous documentary Man of Aran (on the same Currach quest), and from that, created the painting shown, which I am calling Storm Watch. It is supposed to convey the anxious search by the boy in the film, looking out to sea for the return of his father in a currach. View the movie on YouTube.