28 May 2007

Glastonbury Tor, completed?

I think that the Glastonbury Tor painting is completed now. I'll look at it for a few more days before deciding.

This photos is small and a little blurry because I painted while the light was perfect this morning, and then took photos when the sky was dark and overcast. Since I don't use a flash when I take photos of my work, the picture is slightly out-of-focus. Earlier pictures capture the color better, too. But, this photo conveys the mood of it well.

Like almost all of my paintings, this one looks best from about 20 feet away. And, I've already sold it. I absolutely love this painting. It really captures that fresh, slightly wild feeling at the Tor.

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23 May 2007

Avebury painting, completed

I've completed the Avebury painting. It shows some of the standing stones in the circle. The sky looks magical, with a variety of colors (pale blue, yellow and pink) peeking out through the clouds.

Like all of my oil paintings, this painting looks its best (to me, anyway) from 15 - 20 feet away. It's clearly a neo-Impressionist work.

From 30 feet away, it looks like a photograph.

Up close, it looks like a slightly modern illustration. There's a lot of texture in this work, especially in the clouds.

This unframed painting SOLD for $40. It's on 8" x 16" canvas board. The medium is oil paint.

I will ship it when it's dry, which could be two or three weeks, probably when I return from England around June 15th.

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Glastonbury Tor, day 4

Glastonbury Tor painting
After being away from my easel for several days, I took a fresh look at the Glastonbury Tor painting (already sold) and increased the details and contrast in the flowers in the foreground. That didn't work. It made the whole painting "too busy" and detracted from the mid-ground's lovely contrasts plus the focal point of the top of the Tor.

So, I scrubbed off the new layers of paint, but I wasn't happy with the earlier version either. It looked pretty in photos, but in real life... it looked sloppy, sort of.

Now, I've painted over much of the earlier foreground. It looks like long grass in the breeze.

I'm letting that dry, because the painting may be finished. I'd like to try restoring some of the flower suggestions. If the current version is dry when I next work on it, I can scrub down to it if the new flower detailing gets the painting back to a "too busy" impression.

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11 May 2007

Glastonbury Tor, day 2

I was most nervous about this painting, after the underpainting looked so... well, choppy. And, this is a more complex painting that the Avebury scene that I'm working on at the same time.

When I stopped and looked at this from across the room, my fears vanished. Well, mostly. It's a good painting. (My original photo is immediately to the left of my painting.)

I'd guess that there are still a few days' work in this painting before I decide that it's finished. In addition, I may let this sit--over the weekend--so the paint will start to set.

That serves two purposes:

First, it makes it easier for me to work fresh colors into the painting without disturbing the existing paint too much. In some cases, I'll want to lay the paint over the existing colors. But, with a little elbow grease, I can work paint into the still-tacky layers.

Also, I'm really happy with how this looks. So, if additions to it don't work on the first try, I can carefully wipe them off without disturbing existing work very much.

If you compare my work today with yesterday's underpaintings, you'll see what I'm doing with color. I won't keep posting my work, step-by-step, for every painting; I'm mostly doing this to share the process. This underpainting technique generally works best with oils. Acrylics dry too quickly to get the exact same effects. (That said, there are merits to underpainting acrylics. They're simply different merits since the painting techniques are also different.)

I think that this has been a very good day for art. Even better, I accomplished this during the brief time that we had full sun. I need sun to get the colors right, and I thought that today might be a no-painting day when I saw the sky.

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Avebury, day 2

I'm quickly becoming a believer in the value of underpainting, at least for my neo-Impressionist style. I'm also beginning to wonder why I stopped painting for so long.

After yesterday's successful painting, I started to wonder, "Was that a fluke? One of those weird times when the 'first try' is wonderful, and successive efforts don't measure up? Was that painting successful primarily because I've painted that particular scene so many times?"

Well, today's first layer of oil paint on the Avebury standing stones painting... it speaks for itself. It's also nearly completed. It's not a photographic-type painting; it looks best from about a dozen feet away. That said, it looks tremendous a dozen feet away.

I'm especially pleased with the magical effect of the colors in the sky, showing through from the underpainting. I wanted to convey the beauty, simplicity and sense of enchantment at Avebury. I think that I'm succeeding.

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