Until recently, my impression of some of the blogs I'd read had been a bit negative. People sharing their daily lives (occasionally with interesting bits ) seemed rather self indulgent to me. I could be quite wrong, but that was how I felt.
However, I've now had time to think about it and also been reading Robert Genn's great 'blog thoughts'- (it's well worth googling his website : www.painterskeys.com).
As a result, I've added this page to my website. I had intended doing short teaching videos to put on"You Tube" but, on reflection, decided that having a blog would be easier to keep up with.
Having enjoyed working with art clubs, tertiary summer schools, and small groups over many years, it occurred to me that a blog page, especially if it related to a recent painting, would add interest to my website, and more particularly, painters might find it useful. A good idea! And it might not feel too indulgent!!
So.......this time I want to talk about a painting I did last week on the Dart river bed near Paradise.
This is an amazing place where the Humboldt mountains and Cosmos Peaks tower above a wide riverbed. I felt inspired by the beautiful day and the view so I started with great gusto!
I've always wanted to work in a bold, decisive way where the fluidity of the strokes showed assurance and confidence but I realised half way through the painting that I was labouring -it looked fussy and the tones and colour lacked strength. It looked anything but bold! I have had to tell so many groups that the success of a painting depends on good design, tone, colour, brushwork, etc. Detail and neat edges (careful painting) come further down the list. And here I was producing poor colour, tone, and brushwork.
Almost in despair, I was about to scrape the paint off but stood back to study it for a moment. I remembered Robert Genn's advice - "Talk to the painting and let it talk to you!" Basically, it spoke to me about my lack of courage!
With day light running short and little to lose anyway, I slashed on some much stronger colour and tones in the dark areas and the mid tones under the snowline. The shadowed snow then needed more colour to be 'ín step.' Some blue areas thrown into the sky broke up a rather flat grey. All that took about 10 minutes! Because I was being rough - 'devil may care'- almost at the point of washing off, edges were now much looser, the paint now had areas of 'broken colour' and the tones had much more strength. Overall, the painting was coming to life! It was just a matter of adding snow high lights and the tussock and sand in the foreground and it was finished! The whole repaint had taken perhaps 30 minutes but it had gone from a 'write off' to a favourite!
So much more colour and strength - and even fluidity!
It's strange. Like so many fellow artists I've met, my natural 'default' painting style is much more cautious than I want to be. I need to remember to knock down the walls of the default box and step into the freedom outside. When I do, it feels great!
I hope I've learnt the lesson this time!