Tuesday, January 29, 2013

After several years of painting, stagnating, painting and more procrastination-I finally have a new series of paintings coming out. They will be up on the website shortly with more information about each. I will give a brief explanation of the images and hopefully you will see there is a thread that kind of connects the images-nothing particular as far as a common theme but more of an idea of telling something of a story.

These paintings are experiments, waterfall series and overall explorations of color and form. I look at them more of a starting point for a larger series that is in the works. This next series will be more with a bit of an edge or theme and the reason will be that the ideas and images are fresh. This prequel to the series is more like an introduction to taking chances and exploring without the fear of any failure.

The subject matter is different, there are people in the works, there are structures and more wildlife, this is the beginning of jumping into the exploration of anything from portraiture to wildlife. The images tell a story that is not necessarily happy and serene and that's the idea-I really didn't think first of how peaceful or beautiful-it's more the idea of how it feels to be there.

I am also working on perfecting the water-the different aspects of it-from the clarity to the opaque surface that only reflects and hides the bottom. I hope the viewer will be taken places with temperatures and emotions to enjoy in each place.

This painting is of Navarre Beach Florida-the original idea is from five years ago, the first time we stayed in a condo overlooking the ocean. It is a bit of an exaggeration of the light and the colors in a moonscape. I hope the viewer can imagine standing on the deck looking out across the ocean-an intimate moment with the moon. This oil painting progressed slowly and was only finished just recently with some accents of light.

The next painting on the right started with the sky, it stayed just a sky for several years probably. The beachcombers were always intended to be there but they didn't materialize until long after the original sky was created. This painting brings a bit of the happiness of the ocean but also a little bit of the loneliness of a single parent-her face is barely discernible and I hope you can tell she is pensive while playing with her son in the waves. The waves and the sky are also both less detailed than previous works allowing the imagination to fill in much of the gap of the details. I wanted to feel the depth and get the feeling of cold windy day and let the viewer fill in the rest with their imagination.

The blackbirds on the left is an image I have seen on numerous occasions and am still perfecting, call it just an intro to the blackbirds, a larger scene which will have much more details of the purple grackles and their shimmering purple and black feathers. I have several sketches of the blackbirds a sunset, early evening and splashing in a puddle. The image on the left is of a coming storm. Blackbirds are a recurring theme in much of my poetry and writing-they are symbolic of darkness and impending sadness or regret. They also create a mood of sadness or violence.

The pastel to the right is of a park in Wylie Texas-it is called the dragonflies-you can't really notice the dragonflies in the image but they are in the sky around the trees. This image was from after a storm during a the football practice four years ago-again the image stayed in the sketch form-I still don't believe it's finished as the dragonflies need more of a presence-The light captured my rendering more than the dragonflies and the image became more the storm and the tree than the focus on the dragonflies. For a future image I plan on having several large dragonflies with brightly colored wings and the storm is more muted and blurred in the distance. I will probably finish this image with oil paint to allow for more detail with the dragonflies.

This is an oil painting of the Tithonia plants (Mexican Sunflowers)
in my garden-it was created many months after the tithonia were shrivelled up and gone-I perfected the image the following year as the Tithonia bloomed again-the fading light in the sky was actually how it looked the day I started the painting. The painting sat unfinished for maybe a year before he finishing touches of light and blues finished off the image I was trying to capture.

The next painting is a small oil of a highway image coming home from Wisconsin. I watched the hawks along the road, up in the trees and on the fences. I created the trees, the water and grass in the background first and again it stayed that way for months. The final rendering of the trees in the foreground was all in one sitting and when it was finished it really captured the space and the cold water of the late winter scene. It amazed me how the simplest finish was so unclear for so long and suddenly the inspiration finished out in a very short time. When a painting is finished, it just happens and there is no doubt that it is finished.

The oil painting on the left started out with an orange sky and cool blue water, it was loosely based on an image of the highway coming home during sunset and originally inspired by a early morning at the oil rigs fishing with my oldest son. This image was inspired attleast twelve years ago when we went fishing in Galveston, I think it's incredible how long the ideas stay before they actually become reality, it's just a very long process and I'm not sure if they perfect themselves over time or maybe they allow themselves with my skill level or strengthening of my observations in nature. Either way, it is a long process and a very interesting process of becoming a finished painting from just a fleeting idea.

The pastel of the cars in the city was an
image of the rain which I have never
quite perfected. The blues and the dark reflections is how the rain becomes a mirror. I envisioned this probably twenty years ago and I
have many sketches, I still have not perfected the idea but the basic flow and the feeling of the city I believe is a great start. I am working on creating more images of water that are not actually just lakes or oceans, the way water reflect the sky at night or in the rain. Other options that I am pursuing is a night scene of a fountain-all ideas of water and its many different appearances in unique places. In the past I wouldn't have pursued the car-it wasn't where my skill set was but more the idea than the perfection of its individual pieces. I believe the overall idea supercedes the flaws of rendering.

This whole series I wanted to have fun with whatever object I introduced, not bogged down by details. I wanted to attempt to capture the images that have been sketched out and waiting to be finalized for many  years. I feel I have accomplished the flow and the light and hues that bring emotion and temperature to the standard landscape.

The waterfall oil painting is of Petit Jean, this is the start of a collection of waterfalls including Turner falls in Oklahoma. This is the first image I started and it was after teaching a student how to paint water, rocks and reflections that I was able to work with the details and perfect the reflective nature of water in my own painting. I believe this mini series of waterfalls will have probably five new paintings from across the country from trips I took with my son-this one is from a spring break trip to Arkansas.
The next idea will also be the caves that we observed which I think will complement the images of the waterfalls.

This is an image where the water is dark and the mirror blocks out the bottom, something I normally capture in most of my water scenes. In this image the reflection made the water surface completely opaque. More time was spent on the rocks than anything else in this image.

This oil painting is of a killdeer, I have envisioned this image for many years and just recently began sketching it. There is supposed to be a bit of darkness in the coming storm. I still haven't decided if the bird needs to be more of a sillouette but it is an image that is still in the works. I also captured the whisps of the water in the background catching the last bit of light.

I don't do a lot of wildlife but am in the process of trying to capture more as they are appropriate in specific scenes. This image is supposed to be a golf course and the storm is looming in the distance.

Continuing with the wildlife theme, the swallows on the left capture that moment before a storm, the awkwardness of a chance meeting between two male swallows. I have started a series of swallow paintings, this is the first that I've finished. The painting hung on the wall for a year before being completed recently.
I blurred out the distance and introduced the fog that captured an image of a late afternoon fog and the communication between the two birds is the main focus instead of the background.
I left much of the background with less detail again so the viewer can fill in the details with their imagination.

The sail boat is an oil painting, it began as the sky and the light in the distance. It was an image of Lake Ray Hubbard in Rowlett, Texas. It started more light and pale and as I finished it up I ended up darkening the foreground and the boat hoping to focus more on the light breaking through the clouds. I left much of the detail to the viewers imagination-another image I tried to leave a bit less overworked.

The next painting below is a sunset image of a clearing not far from my house. The image began as just the trees and kind of stalled in the water. I like the idea, the initial light and color but the water just seemed to end abruptly, again it's amazing how a painting can seem unfinished and it not actually be missing anything but accents of light, the boat on the left was an afterthought to strengthen the idea of perspective and distance, the image below seemed to be finished when I simply detailed the trees and made the light in the foreground become its own element-I thought any image in the foreground would detract from the light instead of focus the eye-I hope this image comes across
somewhat raw and appearing as if there's a power of light
piercing through the dark trees.

This image was originally just the sunset sky, I saw it while my son and I walked the bridge in Rowlett-it was seven years ago or so and the image just sat there unfinished for six or so years before finally adding some people in the foreground and a person in the background. The image really focuses more on the sunset and the sky was what I saw that day we walked the bridge. The people are really for scale and distance and only to complement the sunset sky.

The oil painting on the left is an image of Wylie originally, just the moon and the waters of Lake Ray Hubbard, I have seen the sunflowers for many years and have made mental notes on many ocassions, I have several very detailed sketches of the big trees and the many wild sunflowers that grew in that area. I also have an image of the same field in the darkness and starkness of winter with a torn up turf ground and the blackbirds flying through the field. the girl was an afterthought but I wanted you to not be able to see her face, she is almost like a ghost in the scene and you can't tell if she is pensive, sad or just emotionless. I really focused on the rich blues and violets that fill the shadows around the sunflowers, the garden is supposed to be more dramatic and vibrant with just a calm pastoral feel of the lake and the moon in the distance. This painting took probably two years to perfect.

I would consider the meadow on the left to be more of a study. It started out as just the flowers and the woods in the distance. I was attempting to capture depth in a small painting, the flowers give you the detail to realize depth and the field in the distance is the late fall as the trees are losing their colors. This painting sat on the wall for a year before finally finishing up the final details.

This is a painting of Lake Ray Hubbard during a very dry period. I started the painting seven years earlier and it just kind of stalled. I don't normally paint images like this, it's not vibrant and colorful, it's not particularly cheerful and that's the beauty of it. I included the bottle and the bobber in the foreground for scale but I also felt like it told a story about the fisherman that lost a bobber and the bottle is someone discarding their glass and only now after the lake has dried up can you see the remnants of the spring. The blackbirds in the background are the scavengers or perhaps the viewer that looks through the painting and remembers the lake in the summer when it was full. I leave the viewer to come up with their own story and unfortunately the memory of the drought is still fresh in our minds.

The pastel of the umbrellas are from an image I caught at work, there were two people walking in the rain and it was quite recent. It is a very quick sketch and another way of looking at water. I wanted the umbrellas to capture the coolness of the rain, each person is turned away from each other showing how we are all very isolated. I still plan on working more on an image similar to this but I felt like this captured the general idea because of its simplicity and the space between them that alludes to the loneliness and the coldness of the rain, the umbrellas brighten up the scene as a complement the coldness of the scene.

This scene is from Uncertain Texas, when my son was just two or three we watched the fireworks, the sketch waited for nine years before it became an oil painting. I am still perfecting this one and will probably have several different views but this image captured pretty much exactly the scene that fourth of July, it was probably one of the longest fireworks we had ever witnessed.

The final painting in this series is actually a commission-I painted it from a collection of photographs and didn't stray too much from the original composition and details. I liked the quick and straightforward approach. The painting is of Yosemite National park, I plan on painting more of the waterfalls in the near future. 

This series was a very exciting departure from my previous artwork, the images I hope capture the temperature of the mood, and tell a bit more of a story than my work has in the past. This is just a  prelude to a larger series with more aspects of this series but perfecting the clarity of water and the atmosphere of darkness as I have explained in my artist statement on my website at www.artbygordon.com. I will have all of these images put out on the site with a listing of their size and prices as well as images from the upcoming series of paintings. Please comment-positive or negative, would love to have any feedback on my artwork or their descriptions-thanks for reading.