Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fort Moultrie

     Here's a few new paintings I'm working on. They depict Fort Moultrie, on the Southern tip of Sullivan's Island, which is about a 5 minute drive from my house. I remember walking on the beach around the Fort with my family on the night we moved here. I'm intrigued with painting brick, as there is so much of it here in Charleston, and the angles from around the fort are really interesting.

     With this first one, I went out with my easel and a few canvases, searching out a spot to paint. It was late in the day, so the sun was low and the light golden, further accentuating the warm glow of the brick. I found this spot with a small doorway in the distance, and through it a wonderful bright yellow peeking through. I wanted to get the whole expanse of the fort's bulk, so I put the 2 canvases I had together, to make one long one. Each canvas size is here is 9" x 12".
     Back in the studio, I secured the 2 smaller canvases together with wood on the back. After working on it awhile, the seam started to bother me; it wasn't relevant to the image and it became self conscious. I also wanted to include some more of the sky and trees on the right side. I decided to stretch a new canvas slightly larger, 12" x 24", which is one of my favorite rectangle sizes, the double square or Root 4.

     After enlarging the image in the studio, I returned to site. A few weeks had passed since I had started the original, and my painting time had shifted. Most of the time when I work en plein air, the painting shifts along with the season, so I have to sync up where the light is at the given time of day I'm working. I feel that this is a more accurate representation of painting from 'life' anyway; it's not trying to copy a static image of the world to the canvas, but rather getting in touch with the rhythms and fluidity of Nature.
Here it is so far:

     I have another one that I'm working on at the same time, slightly earlier in the day than the above painting. I've been working on both in conjunction, but this one is giving me a little more of a problem; I'm not sure it's going to make the cut. The section of the wall projecting towards me, is reading kinda funny, and I'm not sure if it's possible to work it out. Anyway, here it is so far:

     I've got a few more ideas for different paintings here, and I think that I will keep them all the same size, the double square. I'm fascinated by trying to paint all the different reds and browns in the brick, and how they contrast with the bright greens of the grass.  The sun is so high overhead and so bright, that when I bring the paintings inside to look at in the studio, it's almost a completely different painting. It will be a lot of going back and forth, tweaking the color and trying to figure out how to balance the tones. At least it's not too hot by the ocean...I'm getting a nice breeze while I paint.

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