Forty Minute Color Studies in Oil on gessoed panels:

The backyard is becoming a bit too green for playing with color value shapes.  The garden hose presented a nice juxtaposition of linear shapes and curves.

'Randy's House' 5" x 8" oil sketch

The house peaks out from behind the giant pine trees.

Trying to stay out of the path of the chilling wind, I set up between two of our huge pine trees on the west side of the house.  I’ve been trying to get used to painting with the board and palette in my lap as I sit in my folding red chair.  The problem with this, especially when I am cold, is that I don’t walk back and forth to view my painting from a distance.  As a result of not seeing the painting from a distance, I get caught up in detail too soon instead of laying down a strong pattern made up of strong lights and darks as well as various sizes of significantly different shapes.  The image below shows how I lost track of the original treeline shape I had established in the initial blocking in.  My fussing with detail in the hedgerow resulted in a monotonous band of uninteresting trees.  When I packed up my gear to head into the house I saw the painting from a distance and immediately went back into it to redefine a more interesting shape of the trees against the sky.  Boring shapes don’t move through space and movement through space is what I enjoy capturing in paint, both in abstract painting and representational painting.

The basic elements that make a strong work of art often suffer due to the distraction of the reality I see before me.  My hope is that as I strengthen my ability to paint representationally, I will be able to bring that strength into my abstract work.  Likewise, I hope that I can bring more abstraction into my representational work.

Chilly Day in April, 5" x 8" oil sketch

As the cold wind chilled my bones I slipped into frantic mode, dipping here and there with my brush, losing focus as my body fought against the cold.  In April the mercury should be rising, not falling.  Rarely did the sun break through the clouds to add a bit of contrast to the landscape behind my house.  When I squinted at my painting it faded into nothingness.

With little to lose I  stopped looking at the complicated, evenly lit field and trees.  I dipped into clean color and applied it to my painting as a mosaic of shapes and values, disregarding the neutral reality that lay before me.

The palette is still limited; cadmium yellow pale, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium scarlet, alizarin crimson, french ultramarine blue, viridian and permalba white.  I was tempted to try an ultra-limited palette today (yellow ochre, burnt sienna and prussian blue).  Perhaps it would have been a good time to try it out.  Maybe on the next neutral day.  Tomorrow?  The weather prediction is leaning toward a day similar to today.