Saturday, February 9, 2013

A new series following a series-how does the artist keep the momentum?

I have just released twenty new paintings,  I say new but they've been hanging around waiting to be finalized for several years, now after finishing the final touches on the twenty and putting them into the blog and out on the website-still working on that. It's kind of unnerving to go back to the studio with all the remaining paintings in varying degrees of progress. How do I keep the momentum and how do I avoid cookie cutter finalizing-there are so many varied ideas in all different states.

I think the first task is discipline, just showing up and attempting to paint when there really isn't much floating around at the moment. I start one oil, put that aside do some finalizing on another and than mess with a large pastel, suddenly I am back in the process of painting. It's a state where you don't really recognize what you are working on, everything kind of blurs and you go into a zone where you know where each blob of paint goes and what needs to be highlighted and what needs to be left alone. During the process I can't really fully see what I am in the middle of-it is only after observing the image afterwards that the detail and the specifics become more apparent.

Today I reconvened a pastel of two light posts reflecting in a park pond. It is a large image and therefore hopefully a dramatic image. I am excited about the fact that the colors are just kind of flying across the page-darkness isn't black, it is reds and blues and even browns but each element of the scene must heighten the effect of the light, the colors become dark but only by touching the areas of light do they take on their final colors and the working up of the darkness is more complicated than you would think. I used to blur pastels, even using the whole palm of my hand to rub the hues but now I much prefer working up the colors slowly. I don't even mind the movement and the changes of colors that the layering effects, it adds to the depth and creates darkness that is not opaque but more transparent. The viewer sees all the colors and how they react, they  don't consciously realize the colors but the glowing of the light makes the process secondary which heightens the effect of the light. This particular image will be cold and dark with a great accent of light. I plan on doing more night scenes for this series.

Another night scene I am just starting to work on and started the underpainting today, its a view of Lake Ray Hubbard, an actual recent view with all the lights reflecting on the water. I have attempted this image  before but always tend to lose the lights and colors too much turning a night scene into more of a dark image that misses the vibrance of the colors. In this case there are several images in the scene that are lit up and stand out-one image is a steeple in the nearby town, it is a small intimate image that allows the light to tell a story and street light to illustrate a town at night. I am striving more lately to have some sort of story behind the painting, some of the stories are real and actually happened but others are more poetic snapshots of some time and place that didn't necessarily happen but the viewer has the ability to create his or her own story from the elements in the painting.

I am finishing up a second swallow image as well-it is an image of swallows and passionvine under a bridge. I am enjoying the freedom of this new series and feel the previous series is a pathway toward the work I'm doing now. If the previous series was an introduction of looking at the landscape from a different perspective and adding a story and figures of people that add to the imagery without taking away the basic element of the landscape. This new series will take up where the previous ended with  more experimentation, more blobs of color and richness of light and darkness. I have given up the safety of the landscape I know and have welcomed the idea of adding elements and perspectives I haven't explored previously.

One particular change in perspective is looking straight up a large oak tree-the blackness of the tree takes you into a cloudy sky and the sillouettes of the blackbirds fill in the image almost as if there were fingers reaching into the clouds. I want the viewer to follow the branches into the sky and almost become lost in the branches of the trees in a sense becoming a part of the tree. The blackbirds will be  haunting and dramatic against the soft cloud filled sky.

The momentum has picked back up quite quickly and I feel I have many exciting elements to explore in this new series. I can't wait to process and debut the new images, these will be more fresh and spontaneous than previous and the ideas I hope will be of recent and updated images. I will keep you posted and would love any comments on the previous images and the new ones coming up.

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