Sunday, August 31, 2014

Venice Gold

A few years ago, my husband and I strolled through Venice on the first stop of our 25th anniversary trip.  This scene caught my eye because of the way the water turned golden with the reflection of a brightly sunlit buildings along one of the city's many canals ...

I cropped the photo to draw the golden light closer,

and then created a simplified sketch on canvas.  I was careful to get the architecture and perspective correct at this point (much easier now than later!)

One of the fun things about painting is that there are many "correct" ways to start.  For this painting, I chose to begin with my darkest area, which is the shadowed water that leads to the foreground boat, and then use that dark value to "key" my other values.

I painted each area almost to completion before moving on to the next, but always while comparing values -- darks vs. lights.  The important thing in this painting was to capture the essence of a golden glow, which meant that subtle value changes really mattered.

My process continued in this manner until the canvas was covered and then I went back for a second pass to make color corrections and add nuances.

I really love the way the lines in this composition lead your eye from the foreground boat through the golden sunlight and then along the walkway back to the foreground.  This painting was part of my "Making Ripples" solo show and helped to raise funds for a Rotary clean water & sanitation project in the Dominican Republic that my husband and I will be volunteering on in January 2015.
Venice Gold, 20x16 oil, SOLD
Here's the original cropped photo again for comparison:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Baby and Ewe, Anew

What happens when artists create paintings that they aren't quite happy with?  

Sometimes the paintings get wiped off the canvas while still wet, sometimes they get painted over when they're dry, and sometimes they serve as fuel for a farewell bonfire.

Another option is to put them out of sight and hope that the passage of time will bring a fresh perspective on what isn't working.

Today's painting falls in that last category.  I created "Baby and Ewe" last year, but as much as I loved the subject matter, there was something about it that didn't work for me.  After keeping it out of sight for several months, I decided to revisit it and immediately could see what was bugging me.

The original painting, on the left, lacked depth because the field of dry grass was too warm in color, making the sheep and field appear to be on the same plain.  I'm much happier with with the "Baby and Ewe" redo.

 Here's what I did:
1) Repainted the field a more neutral color
2) Added more texture and interest to the grass 
3) Increased the contrast on the sheep 

Voila!  Baby and Ewe, anew!  8x8 oil
Baby and Ewe, anew