Saturday, March 27, 2010

Quarry at the Eno River

Painted entirely in thin fluid acrylics, this work reflects the quarry at the Eno River. The picture was taken on a beautiful, crisp day in early March. Although there was not a cloud in the sky I chose to alternate colors in the sky in a combination of cobalt and cerulean. Both the sky and the water were created by first outlining a grid of a squares (each about 1/2" x 1/2") The squares were all individually painted to reflect a distinct color or pattern. The land mass of trees uses a series of greens and earthtones, I needed to use two different glazes of Burnt Umber and Raw Sienna to provide some contrast with the land and water.

Quarry at Eno River - 12x24" Acrylic on Canvas

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Finishing a Painting – How long should the painting process take?

A question I am often asked is – “How long did it take you to do that?” Unlike most other questions about a painting this is one I always have an answer for. I am a firm believer in the power of time – never too much, never too little. I have painted enough varying sizes of canvases to know how long I should be painting. I always keep notes as too how long I have painted – if the painting process of a 16x20” takes 5 hours less than a 16x20” painting I finished last year, I know I did something wrong. Sure the more I paint the more seasoned I become at different techniques, but does that mean I can accept mediocrity and stop learning and improving my art. Of course not – I am a firm believer that persistence and hard work hold suit over talent and training.

I have to keep working, not to arrive at finish, which arouses the admiration of fools... I must seek completion only for the pleasure of being truer and more knowing.

Paul Cezanne

Monday, March 15, 2010

Swamp at Crews Road #2

I just finished this painting depicting a swampy area on Old Crews Road not too far from my house. The paints used for his work are a bit of a diversion from how I normally paint. I normally work on a painting by first creating a layer using Matisse Structure heavy Bodied Acrylics. After this layer is made I will use a combination of Matisse Flow Fluid acrylics and Turner Acryl Gouache to add the details over this layer. For this painting I did not use the heavy bodied acrylic and worked exclusively with Turner Acryl Gouache and Matisse Flow Acrylics. In a way these types of paints are opposites in that the Acryl Gouache is opaque and most of the Flow acrylics are thin and transparent. Using these in conjunction with one another provides for some interesting effects. Certain colors work better with other, so of course a lot of trial and error is involved.

Swamp at Old Crews Road #2 - 12x24" Acrylic on Canvas

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Focusing on One Art Form at a Time

Often times the lines are blurred as to what constitutes “Art”. Art is part of our lives everyday – whether it be the elevator music in the dentist’s office or the inspiring collages and paintings my children bring home from school – there is no doubt art is everywhere. To consider myself the best artist I can be at any type of art means I have to focus on one thing at a time. I never thought cooking to be an art until I tried to split time between doing both. The end result . . . dinner was bad and so was the painting.

I spend many hours in front of the easel – during this time I listen to a lot of music. It really is amazing the profound effect background sounds have on my paintings. The few times I have listened to sports radio or NPR while painting have always yielded poor results. While painting I have listened to everything from opera to heavy metal. It seems I am most successful when I listen to top 40 pop music. The irony of this is when given a choice of music to listen to, I consider most of these songs mind numbing and if not painting would probably listen to anything else.

I guess trial and error will keep my mind focused on the art form that is important to me at a particular moment in time.

Monday, March 8, 2010

3" Wide Canvases - Grassy Creek Falls

So I just finished an 8x6" painting - Nothing to distinguishable about that size. Sorry forgot to mentions the edges are 3" wide. Pretty cool stuff . The end product is almost more sculpture than 2 dimensional painting. This size canvas offered some different opportunities and challenges. I normally paint on 1-1/2 wide canvas and I always paint the edges. In these paintings I look at the subject and only consider the face of the canvas - when it comes time to paint the edges I just extend it over the edges. This type of fudging works with 1.5", but for 3" I needed to consider a much larger area for the subject.

The scene painted is Grassy Creek Falls in western North Carolina.

Grassy Creek Falls - 8x6" Acrylic on Canvas

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Swamp at Old Crews Road

This might be the smallest painting I have ever done at only 5x7". Per square inch this took me about seven times longer than a painting done on a 30x40" canvas. It seems kind of silly to put this in a frame since the 1-1/2" canvas sides occupy about as much space as the face of the canvas. I guess I'll do some experimentation.

The last two months we've been getting alot of rain in eastern North Carolina, so I frequently see these type of swampy areas in very ordinary places.

Swamp at Old Crews Road - 5x7" Acrylic on Canvas