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December 2009

20 My "neighborhood" here in New Jersey got up to a foot of snow yesterday, so this morning I took the dogs out for a snowy walk. I realize as an artist it is essential for us to have sensory input to put the "real" in our work. (Unless of course, you are not a realistic painter!) So after the walk, I set up my traveling "light" supplies and began this 12 x 9 acrylic. I'm using the traditional acrylics, and did NOT tone the canvas. With acrylics, especially the traditionals, one of the great features is the luminosity that is possible with glazing and layering the colors.

This is the stream that runs through Ridgewood, New Jersey, and is near the swimming pond--now covered in a sheet of ice and snow!
21 I've covered the canvas, which all you seasoned followers recognize as a characteristic of how I work. Turns out I don't even need that cool red in this one, since the coloration is lending itself to the palette of colors I brought along (see yesterday's post for those). Still have a lot of loose brushwork, and will tighten it down on the next "go round".
22 I've covered the canvas, which all you seasoned followers recognize as a characteristic of how I work. Turns out I don't even need that cool red in this one, since the coloration is lending itself to the palette of colors I brought along (see yesterday's post for those). Still have a lot of loose brushwork, and will tighten it down on the next "go round".

SOLD to Alice Jackson.

23

I've started another painting while I'm here near New York City... this time a still life of those luscious pears. I set the trio up under a single light in the basement, and am having fun painting this 6 x 12 acrylic.
24 The guidelines from yesterday are driving the values as I push the design further into the darks. I elected to put a strip of dark under the edge to push the pears back from the viewer. Although not a relatively good design choice, I believe that linking the middle shadow to it will create the visual path that we need to "get into" the composition. Let's see how it develops.

No color yet, just the grays of the ultramarine blue, burnt umber and some thalo green whispered in to create that backdrop. (You can refer back to yesterday's post to see the source.)
25 Now I'm starting to add color to the 6 x 12 acrylic painting--noting the basic structure of the pears with my brushwork. Knowing these pear-boys are going to be warm in the lights, I've added some cadmium red and burnt sienna to the sides away from the shadows, because on the next "go-pass" I'll be putting many thicker layers of color. Having an underlayment of the basic color helps me to unify the finished work in those areas. Note I've also put a warm wash over the horizontal surface, and the relationship to the pears' coloration is obvious. This will bind and unify the painting as it progresses.
26 Check out how the color is developing on this 6 x 12 canvas now! I've started to add the warms over the underlayment of colors (look at yesterday's to see the initial layers) and it really is coming along.

By putting layers of more subtle colors UNDER the final layers, the painting develops a depth that is not possible any other way. Each one of the pears is starting to have a character now, and their shapes are interesting and hold the viewer's eye--even at this early stage. I have found that I don't need Yellow Ochre, but can mix a decent one from the cool burnt umber and the cadmium yellow--OK, it BREAKS THE RULES. But by careful manipulation, it still remains in the cool family.

So a limited palette can work with my Color System, yet it is not for the faint of heart. One must have a good deal of experience in mixing colors, and have an "eye" for the temperature inherent in the mix before moving out of the System for new expression. My visit to the MET museum really toasted my eyes for this, and I'm more than ready to stretch my wings!
27 Here they are, the trio of pears in acrylic finished, 6 x 12 inches. I've finished putting the rest of the warms on them and cleaned up and detailed out the stems, background and surfaces.
After seeing the work of Gustav Klimt in the Met, I'm really realizing that loosening up is a good thing, and so the paintings are starting to come across with the strength of energized brushwork instead of tight details. I'm pleased with the new direction.

Available, $295, and scheduled for the Women Artists of the West online show this January, when I get a better photograph of it.
28 Here they are, the trio of pears in acrylic finished, 6 x 12 inches. I've finished putting the rest of the warms on them and cleaned up and detailed out the stems, background and surfaces.
After seeing the work of Gustav Klimt in the Met, I'm really realizing that loosening up is a good thing, and so the paintings are starting to come across with the strength of energized brushwork instead of tight details. I'm pleased with the new direction.

Available, $295, and scheduled for the Women Artists of the West online show this January, when I get a better photograph of it.
30 The canvas (12 x 9 acrylic) is covered now with the basic hues that will dominate the finished painting, and I'm stepping back to let it dry so I can continue to lay in the layers of detail to follow. If this were done in oils, I'd continue to proceed, yet handle my brush at a different angle to keep from lifting up the under layer into the new hues and values going on top. With acrylics, that's not an issue (more non-thinking painting!). This painting is going to hold to the complementary blue/orange grays in the final stages, so no surprises coming there. Where you will find surprises, is in edges, value changes and shapes!
31 The end of the year, and I'm still working on this 12 x 9 acrylic landscape of the Saddle River. From yesterday's image, you can see that I've moved into the phase of making larger shapes more interesting with variations of hue and value across them. Going from big to little makes for an interesting transition, and one that many masters practice in executing their work.

The feeling of the sun's light on the left is coming through, done by reducing the value of the other areas with washes of burnt umber mixes over the right sides. Again the dominate hues are ultramarine blue and burnt umber, yet I've used some of the warms in the lighter areas--mixed well to disguise them!