Thursday, July 19, 2012

Last Rites

I did this painting today of this path that was close to my old house and which I always found to have a romantic quality to.  I feel I am becoming more confident with landscapes-- because believe it or not, I'm actually quite intimidated by them; it's all those minute details that really make me nervous.  I've been studying the paintings of other artists and pouring over my book on the Group of Seven and Tom Thompson and I was able to pick up a few little hints here and there on how to go about staking out the different areas of the painting without them over-lapping into a giant mess.

"Last Rites" Oil on Canvas. 8x10" 2012.

What I especially enjoyed when painting this piece was experimenting with different tones of black for the bark of the trees-- actually they look more brownish-- and that's because I balanced between concoctions of ochre, ultramarine and alizarin crimson with just the slightest bit of black.  I find the different tones give it a more realistic look.

I painted this landscape over a canvas primed in red and burnt sienna acrylic wash, which really helped give the piece that warm quality-- you can see some of the original red peeking out in spots in the finished piece.  I started out by just drawing in the dark elements with a thin wash of black and then proceeded to add other areas of generalized colour, building up towards light.


I'll just toss in another painting here at the end that I forgot to mention in earlier posts which I also did recently, but in acrylic.

"Rainy Afternoon, University Ave." Acrylic on Canvas.  24x30". 2012.

This piece is much larger than I usually work at 24x30" but it was also a rewarding experience.  Also I don't have as many city scapes in my portfolio and I was also just salivating at the chance to paint a rainy scene with all those delicious reflections of light.  I worked very fast in laying my elements down, working very rough and expressively.  I find acrylic to be a lot easier to do this with because if you make a mistake you can literally paint over it in seconds.  Once all the basic elements and colors were down I was able to focus in on finer details, which is how I love to work.  I also painted this over a canvas primed in a number of wacky colours akin to an abstract painting and some of these colours worked to great effect, such as the smear of red to the right which looks like reflected light in the wet asphalt, and the windows on the building to the far left which I merely painted rectangles around and edited as little as possible.  It helped to contribute to the overall vibrancy and looseness of the painting.  I certainly hope to churn out a couple more pieces like this before the summer is through.  The feedback for this painting has been really positive.  I'd like to see if I could pull off something similar using oil paints instead because my only criticism of acrylics is that they dry darker and seem to lose some of their vibrancy in the process.

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