10 May 2007

Underpaintings - Glastonbury, Avebury

I've just completed the acrylic underpaintings for the two new landscapes.

First, I underpainted the Glastonbury Tor scene, at right.

Generally, I'm working with the opposite colors of what will be on the finished painting. That's obviously not a rigid rule; sometimes I work more intuitively and in the Impressionist style. In the sky area, the yellow-orange will be below blue paint, and the pale blue will be under the white clouds. Orange, not red, is under green areas, and blue-purple under yellow-green and brownish areas.

After that, I worked on the Avebury scene. I'm especially pleased with the composition; that is, what's where, and how the darks & lights fit in the picture.

Again, I'm working intuitively, but generally applying color opposites to broad areas. In this one, I was more careful to emphasize the darks & lights, because they're important elements in this painting.

I let the acrylic underpainting dry overnight. Tomorrow, I'll start the formal (oils) work on these two paintings.

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08 May 2007

Tonal paintings - color opposites

Today, I tried a couple of acrylic sketches based on a photo of one of my favorite salt marshes. It's directly across the street from the Bush compound in Kennebunkport, Maine.

The first sketch is at right, and it's on an irregular piece of corrugated cardboard. The photo is directly below it, propped on my easel.

I'm working with corrugated cardboard for sketches. I cover the cardboard with gesso and paint over that. Since it's informal to start with, I'm more willing to experiment with color and design. Worst case, I throw it out; best case, I'll sell it on Etsy or something, for cheap.

Anyway, I tried a more stylized version on canvasboard. I'm not sure how well I like it, but this is all about experimenting.

What I really want to create are semi-abstracts and abstracts. I'm really in the mood for them, but something in my brain keeps shutting down when I start thinking in this direction. I'm not sure why.

So, pushing myself with these tonal studies in colors almost opposite what will be in the finished version... this is good. It's a step in the right direction.

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07 May 2007

Four underpaintings - Winter scene

I've been wanting to paint a winter scene from an old issue of Yankee magazine. It's very simple: White snow, grey sky, a single evergreen tree, and a maroon house with snow on the roof.

However, when I started the canvas in oils... ick. You can see it in the photo at left. I stared at that for about three weeks, feeling very uninspired.

Then, I realized the problem: I need a good underpainting to make it interesting. So, I just underpainted one canvas and three pieces of gesso'd corrugated cardboard (for preliminary oil sketches) with Maimeri acrylic paints. The result is at right.

The blue areas will go underneath the white snow. The orange-ish areas are the underpaintings for a flat grey winter sky.

Most people will have no idea that such vivid colors are underneath each landscape, but I'm hoping that these will make a big difference in how interesting the finished paintings are.

Of course, that's why I'll be creating a few oil sketches before I work on the canvas. The canvas is the tall skinny painting in the middle, and it's 6" x 12".

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