Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Work in Progress

Eleven snowy paintings that I painted over the last few years finally found their way into a cohesive exhibit. 

They will be displayed in the foyer of the District of North Vancouver Municipal Hall for two months. Thank you North Van Arts for doing such a stellar job of bringing art to the community!

In other news, here's what's going on in the studio. 

I am working my way through the studies of a complex composition. My goal is to approach this painting more analytically than I usually do, just to see what will happen. One early reward is the joyful process of creating interesting small sketches, each of them teaching me something about various aspects of the creative process.

1. Thumbnail Sketch

This is something I almost never do but now, nudged by the artist extraordinaire Mike Svob, I am giving it a chance. The idea is to determine the composition using rough values (light, medium, dark) of the main shapes in the image. Years ago, I thoroughly studied and practiced the ancient theory of Dynamic Symmetry and I learned to quickly develop a harmonious composition in my head, but I  like the idea of recording this step so it doesn't get forgotten. Below are my reference photo and a 3-value thumbnail sketch.

2. Study of Shapes

I usually block in the shapes while I am laying down the underpainting of the final piece. But doing it separately on a smaller canvas allows more freedom in pushing the shapes around, making changes, and even ruining the sketch in the interest of experimenting and learning. I used three pigments - titanium white, dioxazine puple, and transparent red oxide and I took care to keep the light, medium, and dark shapes distinct.

3.  Color Study

This was (still is) a fun process which I normally do while creating the actual piece. This time I am working on a medium-sized canvas which will remain a sketch. 

I am using a wide range of pigments while I play with gestural brushstrokes, caligraphy, wet in wet technique, dry brush marks, glazing...

Each application of paint slightly changes the look and feel of the piece in an interesting way. It's so much fun, I am finding it hard to stop. I could keep playing like this forever.

Seriously, I need someone to stop me, please!