Sunday, May 20, 2012

What's on the stove

Here's a quick post on some new works in progress:

12" x 24"
     Started this one about a month ago, but I've only worked on it for a couple of sessions. The location is from the top of a parking garage that we use a lot when we go downtown. The large red roofs caught my eye while I was there one day with the kids, so I ear-marked it for a future painting. There aren't too many elevated spots in Charleston that I can get to and it definitely reminded me of the kind of scenes that I was doing in Brooklyn. Instead of a skyline of factories and warehouses, here we have church spires....you can't throw a rock down here without hitting a church! I liked how those thin points of the steeple punctuated the skyline and the bright red roofs compliment the greenery in between the buildings. It's been overcast and rainy here for the past couple of weeks, so I'm looking forward to some clear weather to finish this up.

15" x 20"
     Started this one a few days ago, and I'm just smitten with it. I did a sketch of it awhile back after my daughter complained about being scared of the staircase. I told her that sometimes when we're scared of something or don't understand it, it can be helpful to do art about it. Well, I don't think she ever did that herself, but I thought it would make a great image for a painting. I do think that I captured a certain sense of 'scariness' here, but I'm not sure I can place my finger on why, other than the dark shadows as they recede back into space. I've only worked on it for a few nights, and have to articulate a lot of the details, but the scale and the composition seem really locked in. For some reason it reminds me of a combination of Alfred Hitchcock and Edward Hopper.

21" x 28"
    In my last post, I showed an interior scene with the vaulted ceiling and my kids craft table...that is what's underneath this painting. (You can still see some of the raised markings of paint from the previous image here). After working on it for awhile, I sort of lost interest in it. I felt the space was a little forced and not engaging, so it ended up not making the cut. I usually don't like painting over other paintings any more (due to the residue of the texture underneath influencing the new image), but after scraping it down with a razor, I feel that I'll be able to build up the new surface to conform to this new image. I've also started working with a new medium, something that I feel will help with the surface sheen and the ability to hold the pigment and brush marks better. Previously I had used a formula of 1 part poppy oil to 3 parts turpentine. Now I'm back to using the traditional Ralph Mayer formula of 1 part stand oil/1 part damar varnish/5 parts turpentine. To this I'm also experimenting with adding about a 1/4 part Copal medium, which increases the flow of paint and quickens the drying time. So far, I'm pleased with the way it's drying and the luminosity of the paint film. The image is from our front porch, and although it's in the really early stages, I like the feeling of the light and banality of the scene. Our car sits parked in our semi-circular driveway, along with a tire swing which my kids love, which hangs from a wonderful Live oak tree. There are interesting bits which I'm looking forward to clarifying, like the bright red car parked across the street, as well as, the different sections of green foliage as they recede back into space. I like the visual tension that is produced with the different depictions of wood on the right side...the cut lumber of the railing post next to the organic contour of the tree trunk. Have a long way to go on this one...

21" x 28"
     Finally, here's the finished painting from the previous post, the living room. I'm pleased with the way it came out...I was a little worried about reconciling that lamp shade with the rest of the composition, but I think it anchors the whole painting. I like how your eye gets moved through the space, from details of things near to little pockets of space in the background. I really like the couch and the red details...the green/red and orange/blue compliments played out nicely.

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