Saturday, September 20, 2008

Figure and Fabric

Silverpoint on prepared paper
10 x 8

I've been meaning to post this all week, but with the elections and all the problems on the stock market I've been really hacked off, and I was afraid it could quickly spiral off into a rant against the vast majority of the world. Well, I've taken a deep breath, and decided there are definitely enough political blogs spewing partisan crap that I need to stay away from it. Just in case you're wondering though I'm hoping for a scoreless tie in this presidential election. No winner, start over with a whole new bunch. They're both fools at best and possibly downright dangerous. Hold on, I'm spiraling. Back to art.

Okay, I'm better now and I'll try to remain focused on this drawing which combines some of my favorite things, a pretty woman, good lighting and white drapery. Can't go too far wrong with those elements. This is on the same off white ground as the flute player a couple posts back. I really like the color and value. It's just enough to knock off the bright white of the paper but still light enough that heightening with white isn't necessary. If a bit more light is needed though a touch of white will add some sparkle. It's warm enough that it combines with the silver really well, and as it oxidizes it should just get better. Compositionally this is obviously based on triangles, the most stable of shapes. But there's also an inverted triangle coming down from the top. Most definitely not stable. So to counter that throw in a couple vertical columns and a horizontal or two and everything nice and solid again.

You may notice I've added a couple new links where you can see more of my work. Everything there will be here. There will probably be more things here actually. But please free to take a look and tell me what you think. If you go to Brushspace click on the follow this artist button. Near as I can tell it doesn't do anything or maybe nobody that I'm following has added anything new. Anyway I've recently fallen out of the top 100 most followed, and that bothers me for some reason. There's some really good work there. If you want to take a look at the My St Louis Art site you'll see the world I find myself stuck in. Click on the photos button to see examples of the work from around here. And while I'm babbling on let me add a thank you to everyone that has dropped by, and a special thank you for the ones that have taken the time to comment. Your encouragement is greatly appreciated. Thanks

Friday, September 12, 2008

Monday Morning

Oil on Panel
24 x 11

This is a painting about light. If you've been paying attention and have a really good memory you may remember this window from a watercolor of an old church posted a year or so ago. That was a foggy winter day, this is a bright, sunny day making for a completely different feeling. Light changes everything, and light is really what painting is all about, at least the way I paint. There's a saying that light defines color and texture and shadow defines form. Look at the wood textures in this piece. In the light the textures are much more defined and important. In the shadows the texture is more limited to the flaking paint. The shadows define the clapboards and the shape of the window in general. And look at the difference in color. The shadows are a warm almost uniform gray while the light is a mixture of light ochres and siennas. The color of the light is of the utmost importance in feel. This is a relatively warm light which would indicate a late spring or summer day, probably in the mid to late morning. If it were warmer it would make you feel like it was earlier morning, not long after sunup. The angle and length of the shadows would be an important indicator too. If it were a cooler light, it would be more likely to feel like a winter day. So if you look really closely and pay attention, it is entirely possible to tell an entire story with nothing but light. At the very least you can use it to define a mood in whatever you're trying to do.

If this is interesting to you, might I suggest you look at Giovanni Bellini's St Francis in Ecstasy in the Frick collection. He was one of the earlier users of light to unify a painting. In that one he uses a greenish light which really enhances the feeling of something out the ordinary going on. There's some real interesting compositional things going on too. One of my favorite all time paintings. Maybe it deserves a post all its own.