Saturday, April 10, 2010

The road La Salle Falls...gouache- 8"x 10"

I started a gouache this past week putting about
45 minutes into before stopping that session.
Since I am working on my next book, (a soft cover)
called, "Painterly Realism- Less is More!" ...each
work I've been doing especially of late garnishes
more careful consideration on my part of how a 
lesson, concept or principle idea might be used or
expounded upon.  

What was a poignant moment for me, was my wife's reaction when I asked her what she thought of this work thus far, seeing I had just started it.  She first thought I was teasing her, saying, "you didn't just start that one!"

Now granted, I'm painting quite fast and prolific this chapter of my life.  I think my history painting high end realism with 200-300 hours into a single painting for the first 17 years of my painting career, to my own evolution of painting outdoors plein air in 1-1/2 to 3 hours has given me a unique platform to grow and develop, and discuss.

As for learning to paint painterly, and if there is one thing I've learned painting outdoors where nature's light can at any moment (and often does) change...the artist needs to come to recognize the few essentials (not many) of the most important aesthetic personality or impulse of the moment; that is...what precisely grabbed you by the jugular and demanded to be painted?  Its traveling your journey long enough and with enough suspicion of your inclinations to know that the novice sees and then paints everything, but the master discriminates...concerned most with what NOT to paint.  Masterfully taking the viewer's eye and directing it where s/he the artist wants a visual lingering...a lingering that comes away with an impression of a most fine piece of art work, while yet manipulating the eye (unbeknown to the viewer) to stray away from areas intended to be supportive but less interesting.  A secret really to when a painterly work successfully strikes the viewer as quite realistic.

That being said...the outdoor painter learns to get the moment, the drama, the essentials down before the light changes.  Having done so, nature can do what it will and the painter then proceeds with the scene serving only as a reference from that point on.

I've seen many novices to painting on location commit a major error we call, "chasing the light"...but not yet empowered to really do much else.  It is a development, a growing...and have said frequently it takes about 120 bad paintings just to learn something about painting!

Chasing the light refers to more or less start from one end of the canvas working toward the other recording what is being seen during the entire duration of time painting.   Thus...light, shadows, color and values always on a continual change resulting in no cohesion or working harmony whatsoever in the painting.  The beginner gets that painting home wondering looking at it what it ever was that caught their attention to begin with! shorten and sum up then...the above painting reflects the undergirding, the foundation established of the light, color, drama, the compositional design juxtapositions even quite early on.  As some have told me in other online venues concerning this work in its early stage, as has my could arguably be done as a painting already.

Paintings work...for reasons paintings work...(my frequent mantra stated, I suppose), and when the aesthetic impulse has a finger put on it and is nailed, the painting from that point on is really a process of refinements or finishing.   Based on one's personality, aesthetic could refine it for another 20 minutes, another hour...whatever.  The only concern I that at some point the integrity of that which is working may be compromised, becoming what "was" working when you add more than what is necessary.

Its been said...that it takes two individuals to make a fine painting.  One the artist to paint, and another to stand behind with a large mallet to hit the artist over the head before he ruins it!

So...I will then continue working on this piece and then share its final state, and what you see will reflect that which resonates with my aesthetic sensibilities.

Hope that's some food for thought...


Teri C said...

Your line about the mallet cracked me up but I sure need someone behind to do that too.
Lots of think about here, thanks.
Love the painting too.

Julie Broom said...

As someone else who needs the mallet treatment, I found this a really helpful post, thanks for sharing. I'm looking forward to seeing the final work.

Lori Bonanni said...

Hi, great advice to a novice plein air painter. Thank you!

Larry Seiler said...

thanks for commenting...its affirming and encouraging to know artists are willing to take a bit more time to read and reflect, and I'm glad each of you found something worth chewing on.