Monday, December 21, 2009

Tyre Shop

Another painting based on the low story, ad-hoc buildings that are the norm in Brazil, scruffily lining the roads.

How to mainting the energy of the underpainting, to carry it through to the paintings final stages? It seems a hatefully difficult task, and I fear that I failed to do this in "House among Woods", below. Sometimes I think the medium of oils is not right for me, because it seems to encourage a definate heaviness. At other times I feel that that heaviness is a value in itself, worth enjoying.

As a rule, for me, a picture should be completed fairly rapidly: if it starts to require "messing" then it's usually because the thing was misconceived in the first place.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stage three, two Summer paintings.

There is something heavy about "A House among woods", caused by the starkness of tonal difference between sunlit and shaded areas. I shall have to attempt to relieve this with dabbed brushstrokes of leaves. The composition is also heavy, however: the landscape dense beneath the sky.

Also, the canvas is not lightly accepting paint. I don't know why, I think it needs to dry more. I might leave it for a fortnight.

"Trees at the end of a Road" is happier, perhaps becase I invested less in making it, the result is lighter, fresher. I like the art noveau rythms there.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Forest and Swamp- third stage

The slow addition of greens. I love the lushness of the Brazillian landscape.

I am trying to hold back from responding too rapidly with this painting and I guess it will take three more sessions. I'm enjoying the slowness, with a week between sessions.

It makes taking photos seem glib or shallow, as if imagemaking using photography is to easy that, ironically, it actually prvents one from really looking in the first place;.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Forest and Swamp - second stage

I'm attempting to make sense of the foliage, which is abundant and riotous before working in the greens.

I get something of Paul Nash feeling from this, and of English 1940s painting.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Second stage.

The difficult second stage: difficult, because the pictures have neither the liveliness of the first, drawing and underpainting stage, nor the quality of finish of the final stage which is still some way to come (usually about three sessions away).

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Forest and Swamp - first stage

Perhaps you can detect the forms of trees and bushes in this underpainting? And on the right hand side you might be able to discern distant fields between the trees.

I shall leave this to dry for a week, then return to it. The slowness of oils is fustrating and immensely satisfying at the same time, forcing you, as it does, to appreciate more and more- what a contrast to the glib speed of photography! On Monday, weather depending, i shall tackle on of the other two newly begun pictures, illustrated earlier this week.


Oil primed canves allows the paint to sink and become absorbed- had I used an acryllic primed canvas, the paint would not settle into the canvas, and each layer would more or less eradicate the one previous, so that the resulting picture would lack depth and richness.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New paintings, canvas

Two new paintings; their first stages.

I'm continuing to explore tonal painting, with references to Sickert, Hammershoi and Hopper (late Edwardian and Early modern art). I want to continue working on a simple style, very straighforward and uncontroversial, and to continue exploring the changing urban environment near here, and the changing relationships between old and new buildings and nature.


It's surprising how little aware many oil painters are of the importance of the painting surface, specifically that the sort of acryllic pre-primed canvases, cheaply available in the art shops are massively substandard, and will result in much less sucessful paintings.

This is because of the way these cheap canvases absorb paint, and how they make it hard to paint in glazes. I have resolved to chuck out all the cheaper type cnavases I have, to avoid the temptation to repaint on them, and only to use the better oil primed canvas available from the UK.