Crazy painting day for me today, second painting today. I have been germinating this idea in my head for a while during prayer and meditation. Remember Moses and the sign of healing on his staff or the sign for medicine? Healing power, 18 x 28 in, oil on panel. I learned a lot painting this painting. Painting imagery out of mind without over-elaborating or providing more definition than envisioned or more of an impression. The looseness that it was painted has opened up many more ideas for painting exploration.
“Flying Dreamer” painting, highlighted in Apil/May 2018, International Artist Magazine, paint what you see, don’t fill in the blanks, my impressions are fragmented at best. It is not like seeing a photo where everything is there in detail and relationship to each other.
Being part of the universal fabric, 30 x 24 in. Oil on panel. When we allow God to include us with his divine plan we become part of the universal fabric that weaves beyond all space, dimensions and time. More than our mind can comprehend.
It has always been my intention when painting to not only paint the physical. I desire to include the spiritual or other nonvisual dimensions of life. For instance, think about all of the emotions you feel in one day. What would that look like? Now think about the spiritual dimension, what will that look like? Challenging. It is more like a life force flowing from the invisible to the visible all at once. Like the breath of life flowing through the atoms of your body.
This is very different for me. This started from a very abstract sketch that I put away about one year ago. I saw it and wanted to do an abstract painting from it. The painting and style emerged as I worked on it very carefully and directly painting each stroke.It may have some Picasso (who I loved has work from childhood) and Cezanne influence. So funny coming back to this now. As a child so many of the ideas I wanted to paint I did not have the skills to accomplish. I remember huge amounts of frustration.
I was honored and humbled when International Artist Magazine wanted to include me in their April/May 2018 issue. Thank you.
This is how the article starts, you have to get an issue to read and learn more. Also a YouTube video of the article. I hope you like it.
“We can certainly learn from others, but know when to jump from the ship and find your own path. Too many start out learning and never learn to find their own personal interpretation. If you wait too long to begin exploring, you will never want to give up the safety of the easy path.
I am currently using an exploratory approach for developing a painting. You will need a trained creative eye to help you evaluate and make good visual decisions based on training and your developed visual aptitude. It will be very personal to who you are, so only you can decide. At times the decision process will flow from one decision and paint mark to the next. Other times there may be pauses and even stops while you ramp up for your next group of painterly choices.
It will be a lot like going on a road trip in your car… ”
One thing I enjoyed about this image or photo I shot while staying at T.C. Steele Boyhood home in Waveland Indiana with my wife Robyn, was the novel angles on this old staircase that rose to the upstairs. Then I began to think about how to enhance this view by darkening everything and have this light source coming from the bottom of the stairs by the open door as well as subtle lighting at the top of the staircase. I wanted some very dark shadows, that had this murky charcoal look, wood very beat up by its’ occupants and aged by use. A very rustic drawing seemed right to me to enhance this. I am using M. Graham Oil Paints, made with Walnut Oil, that I allowed to be very juicy, so the painting would have these spider vein drips I enjoy. It was like the painting was painting itself as the veins appeared. Some may be painted out and some left in as the painting dictated.
The idea of stairs, going someplace, either up or down fascinates me. I remember the song, “Stairway to Heaven”, always loved that song. Then having a figure seems to add something real to any painting, otherwise, it can be just things. The figure gives a painting an immediate focus. There is life in a figure or figure representation that the viewer needs to make some kind of restitution with. It helps the viewer to look at himself or herself possibly a little more objectively.
One thing I fight within a painting is that it is dark enough to show the brightness of the lights. I get my values off, I think I am dark enough and I am not, so I need to make definite decisions from the get-go of the painting. To grow and improve, and avoid pitfalls as a painter, I must be honest with myself. Know what areas of my knowledge is lacking and what I should put mental energy towards developing. The value study as a base is a very good move for me personally with this painting. Helping to define lights, darks, mid-tones etcetera. Figuring out where my hard and soft edges, lost edges in the painting will be. Going back and forth through the painting till it has the overall correct balance within the painting.
Each painting has a different plan of attack. I do think there is just one way to go about a painting, nor would I want or enjoy a painting that I had to do the same thing repeatedly hoping for different results. Is that not Edison’s definition of insanity? Maddening, that would be horrible. There are different criteria in every painting. I need to have fun and explore with each new painting I begin.
My idea going forward is that this foreground wood post and railing will be a very strongest focus, be the most dramatic, depicting the hand-worn aging over time. The strength of this post that has lasted years of young boys racing down a staircase, holding tightly as they swung around the corner. Secondly will be where the figure is coming through this door. Though the figure will need to be softer to contrast the sharpness of the post, creating great visual space between them both.
When you do a rough drawing like I did with this painting, it allows you to be freer with where you lay your paint or color. It is not like cutting a piece of wood where you decide to follow the line or cut to leave the line or cut the line away. You instead make your mark where you determine at that point in time is the best point to make it as the painting evolves. One thing I try to avoid is doing things I hate, and coloring inside of the line is one of those limiting things. Coloring books frustrated and annoyed me as a first grader at Catholic School. Maybe that is why my mother moved me out in second grade. Not sure. She told me it was because they complained about how bad my letters were, though the next school praised my neat letters. Today rougher seems to suit me better than smooth and tight. I guess I want the observer to see that a human being that breathed air, felt pain, had a real life was there before the painting at one point in time painting, moving his hand over the painting making marks. If they can feel that, I won.
In this painting, I wanted to make the mark making very evident. At every point I wanted each mark to be different as possible, but together like a great orchestra all pull together to make its’ statement. Some paint was laid in with a knife, a brush, scraped, sanded and many other tools. Some scumbled, dry brushed, glazed, drawn whatever suite the painting that craved it. Color was used sometimes minimally and other times like the orange right side, very boldly. Warm and cool colors were considered to help define a push and pull of space, while the sanding scratches unified the painting while building a thick veil of air inside the arising staircase.
I am thinking about calling this painting the presence. I have stayed at a few painters homes or studios were they once lived, now gone from this visual dimension hopefuly to the next. It is like some part of them has been left behind. Or maybe the things in the home or studio are the things that most impressed them and showed up in their painting. Maybe T. C. Steele’s mother, that you do not hear much about. Even the Israelites brought back Joseph’s bones from Egypt to the promised land because there was a significance to them, or it was part of him, maybe residue power? There is much we do not understand. It is okay to say, we do not understand, or not as of yet, I do not. Then seek to figure it out.
I enjoy learning and want to continue in a state of learning as long as the God’s breath resides in my spirit.
Everything is in a constant state of change. What you thought was this, has changed to that. Nothing stays the same anymore. Changes. This last painting in a series of what I called Monster paintings or better described as Pareidolia paintings, may be my best Stop by the gallery and see for yourself. Please call first. As you stand in front of this large 48 in. x 48 in. panel the objects will morph from one image into another right before your eyes. Monsters will jump out at you. Scary faces, human bodies, it is up to you to decide. But be aware, your mind will play tricks on you and you may end up some place you never dreamed of being.
Don’t be afraid to break things up. Trust yourself. You know where things belong. Since you have drawn the beginning phases of the painting they are held in the back of your mind.
How much do you need to represent the objects in the painting? How much can you break up and still have an object immediately recognizable?
What color and detail is a flag? I purchased one so I was able to take it all in.
I love the feeling of paint. The idea that the artist is present, not always hidden behind an overly polished painting of a representational painting. Let your personality shine. Have a play value in the paint. Anything can happen as you dive into the oil paint and you emerge.
Still more to do!
Other related fine arts oil paintings that had some break up in them, and more in other blog posts.
Starting a high-energy studio fine arts oil painting you want to stay loose. Loose, but targeted on your final objective. So every mark has a purpose and is directed towards the final goal of the painting. High energy can convey emotion, life, spirit, exuberance, and motion. I want to convey a very airy feel, like a spinning tornado, where every object is like the scientists say, tiny atoms all separated but some how held together. If you could, you may choose to pass a single piece of paper through any object moving between the physical atoms.
The first thing to do in a painting is start with an idea then a thumbnail sketch. You design the space of your canvas, here a 4 x 4 foot panel. The design is basically a fancy way of saying, “how do you plan to direct the viewer’s eye when he sees the final painting”. “How will his eye move throughout the painting”, created with a multiple of vehicles: color, tone, lighting, lines, etc. You will need to juggle a lot of things all at the same time.
Many of the light blue and red colors will flicker through other colors I intend to paint over the initial layers of paint.
I hope you watch as I progress on this painting with future posts.
Daryl Urig of the Creative Underground interviews artist/painter Chantel Barber. Uncovering Barber’s unique approach to capturing the big and bold depictions of figures in acrylic paint. How to create an Undo in painting. A photo can sometimes help the artist capture and remember the essence of the moment. Get out your big brushes.