It was a little scary to paint the flowers with my brushes taped to yard sticks. I couldn’t decide, should I put a coat of Maroger medium on it first in case the brushes bobbing around on the end of yard sticks made a really bad blip? Because with the medium on the dry painting first I could easily wipe off a mistake. Then I thought Matisse probably didn’t use Maroger medium and if I want to try to paint like him I should skip it.
After I got going it wasn’t as bad as I thought but my brushes did go all off in places.
I never saw a painting by Matisse that I didn’t like. If I could copy his style that would be a real accomplishment to me. But I can’t just copy one of his paintings because mine would look like a bad imitation. I have to wing it a little because this isn’t something they taught at the academy. And also, every artist is different, so you’re supposed to do your own thing. I did try to find his style. I’ll keep working on it. Too bad he’s dead. I can’t shoot him an email and ask.
This close up shows a brush stroke gone wild in the red on the flower and in the blue that went over the stem.
Oops, the blue cut right through that stem. Should I fix that? I’d like to fix it but something tells me not to.
I don’t know. I guess this is the best I can do for modern art at this point in time. I made it as bright as I could. I’m pretty sure Matisse mixed his colors instead of using them straight out of the tube.
I meant to tint my canvas paper gray but it came out black. That will be ok. It might make my begonia look like a drama queen.
I think I’ll do the background blue because the petals are orange so that will be the complimentary color for some contrast. It might make the petals show up brighter. I’ll wait a day or so and put the orange on top of the white and gray. The white and gray in the petals is the underpainting. I need to underpaint the orange with white because the orange won’t show up on the black background because it’s a more transparent color.
For this painting I’m stealing from 2 great artists, Matisse and Picasso. At YAA they told us, “Only steal the good stuff.”
From Matisse I’m stealing the idea of taping my brushes to yard sticks and standing way back from the painting. It’s fun but slightly out of control, which doesn’t make it easier. And from Picasso I’m stealing cubism. I wanted to fill up the paper with a lot of flowers and I have this little plant, so I drew it from all different sides and at first I had it up on boxes for added height, then I lowered it to table level. So that gives me different angles too.
I’m going so modern I didn’t sketch it with charcoal first and didn’t plan the arrangement. I just started painting flowers and filled in the whole paper. Painting them a little larger than life makes it easier.
So, I still have to do the background at least once, maybe twice, put the orange on the flowers and decide if I want to go over the leaves again. I’ll see how they look on the blue.
Doesn’t matter how long this takes, it’s too hot and humid for me outside in plein air. And we have rain coming in.
That was a great place to paint and the weather wasn’t too bad in the shade with a nice breeze today. Bugs were buzzing around but I didn’t get bit thanks to DEET. I might not go back to this spot. It was tiring to lug my supplies out there even with my beach cart. By the time I left it was getting hot and a long walk back to the car in the sun. Not many people were there today.
I used my modified fan brush to paint the tall grasses. I had my brushes taped to yardsticks so I could sit back from my painting to paint and a few of those grass lines went on too thick so I scraped through them with a palette knife to break them up.
In this close up you can see some of my dark shadows. It looks like a good habitat for a snake, doesn’t it?
This shows a grass focal point with a direction going up to the sand slide and thin ridge which also has some direction in the shape of a light colored bent line next to a dark shadow.
This one is the top of a fragile dune and the dark line in the shade is the edge of a sand slide.
I went over the shadow in the sand again. When I got there and compared what I had before to nature, I though the shadow was too brown so I mixed a neutral gray and scribbled it on top of the brown glaze cooling it down slightly.
The original dark color is showing through where the sand breaks and a few tiny spots under the brown and gray sand shadow colors.
It was great to have a secluded spot where no one noticed I had my brushes taped to yardsticks because for people to see a woman out painting alone is enough but if they saw the yardsticks they might think I was really nuts and I don’t feel like explaining that Matisse did that and I want to paint like Matisse.
I think it gave my painting a more loose impressionistic look and I’ll use the yardsticks again.
Waves and dunes are the same shapes. They both are always moving but you don’t notice the dune moving. They’re so much alike you could dress a dune up in wave colors, tell people it’s a wave and everyone would believe you.
I want to paint waves but it’s too hot to hang around on the beach. I used my sketch of a dune and did a palette knife painting of it with wave colors from memory, then folded the paper in half to make a mono print.
Dunes are like waves in another way, they’re breaking.
In my dune sketch there is some plant life on top of the dune and the sand breaks below the vegetation. So instead of painting that part green I used white and it would put the white water of a breaking wave in the right place. It’s me dressing a dune in wave colors.
This mono print is a variation of the dune painting I’m working on and hope to finish tomorrow if I can get up early enough to be at the beach before it gets too hot.
It was windy but nice to be out after a lot of days that were too hot and humid and rainy to paint in plein air. Finally! I could go back down there to work on this again. The wind was around 20 to 25 mph I think. It almost blew me down when I stood up. Last time it was windy too. It felt good but the blowing sand got in everything.
the wind was blowing my brush around because I had it taped to a yardstick and was sitting back a yard away from my painting, like Matisse did. It’s a lot of fun but you have to give up some control. Can you see the craziness in this close up? Sand in my paint? Scribbling because of wind and sand? I doubt anyone could call this painting “tight” hahahah
I enjoy it a lot but maybe other artists wouldn’t.
That big dark slash there, that’s a blip of the brush because of wind and sand. I’m not sure how I’m going to fix that but I fixed the bad place in the sky so I’ll do something to break up that dark blob. Note the sand getting bad by the time I got this far with it.
I’m trying to decide if I should brush the sand off when this dries or leave it there. Some of it won’t come off.
Just as I was packing my things to leave the wind blew my canvas paper off the drawing board and it flipped back with the paint in the sand. I thought that was too much but it didn’t wreck it any worse than it was already. I had to quick slap more tape on it before it started flapping in the wind. This is the kind of plein air experience that might deter a lot of artists. I’m not fighting nature. Let her mess up my painting. I should care but I don’t.
Too much sand on my palette. I had to quit working on it or else clean my palette out there because I couldn’t mix up another color on top of that mess. The blue colors on top are what was left over from the sky and they’re covered with little pieces of plastic wrap to keep them workable, so maybe that much paint is still ok.
I’m not sure about finishing this. I might go back in a few days after this dries a little or I might finish it at home.
This is a start. It was tiring to lug my art supplies out to the dune and I had everything in my beach cart, but so much fun to paint there. I was saying to myself, This is the life! All those years that I worked at jobs trying to make ends meet and never gave a thought to retirement, then when I started painting in plein air and the beach was far away, I wished I could hop in the car and be there. Then my daughter married a Norfolk guy and says she’s staying in Norfolk, I moved to the beach and it’s great! Norfolk and Virginia Beach are just one huge city to me. If I believed in karma I’d wonder what I did to deserve this, because it was a pure delight out there today. Even though it made me tired, I thought the rewards for doing something difficult are higher than the rewards for doing the easy thing.
My spot is so nice. Picture this. I’m in the only shady place in the dunes. I sat on the sand and leaned against a post. I leaned my painting on a post about 4′ away and spread my stuff out all around me. I found a heavy piece of metal to lean against my painting and had a foot on it too and the wind, which really picked up when I was there, didn’t blow it down. The wind felt good. It was sunny and not too hot. But the best thing is people didn’t notice me there. Only one kid saw me and they all moved on. Since I knew I was hidden I took my yardsticks and taped my brushes to them so I could sit back and paint from far away like my favorite artist, Matisse. That’s why this underpainting is loose looking. And that made it all the more fun.
Since I had my brush taped to a yardstick it went a little wild here and I accidentally smeared some green into the sky. When I tried to wipe it off it only got worse. I wanted to go over the sky again so I’m not worrying about it.
The whole experience was so much fun I don’t even care that sand got all over my painting. It’s not even artfully designed sand and I don’t care. I mean, how zen is that?! I’ll give it a few days to dry and maybe most of the sand will brush off. It won’t all come off but let that be proof for future art historians after I’m dead that I was really right down there in it. I’m like freakin Turner tying himself to a mast in a storm to capture the storm! haha I would never tie myself to a mast because I’d be seasick. It would be great if my efforts would show up in the painting when it’s finished. I want to go back and finish it soon but it might rain in a couple days after this dries enough to work on it again. I need to go over it again twice.
stars and planets spiraling in a downward tornado into a black hole
I don’t know what happened to my wordpress thing here. Before, if I clicked on” write” a bar for a title was at the top of the post but now that bar is gone. So I clicked in the box and typed in “title” then I get a line to type on but it’s showing the title twice. If I try to erase one line they both get erased. I fooled around with it but I can’t figure it out. The blue question mark wasn’t getting me anywhere either and even my daughter can’t figure it out, so, oh well, maybe it will fix itself, who knows.
OK, back to art talk.
I’ve been doing modern art all week because the weather isn’t good for plein air lately. The modern art is fun and fast. I could knock out 5 in a day, or even more, but is it just a waste of paint or will it eventually make a better artist out of me? It seems to me that if you want to improve at a difficult game like art you have to challenge yourself and modern art, fun as it is, is no challenge.
All you have to do is throw some paint down, smear it around or don’t smear it or whatever you feel like doing, then look at it and think of a title. I guess most art viewers like a title because people want to make sense of things.
When I’m doing that, it’s like making a little Rorschach test for myself. The art viewer gets a glimpse into my subconscious. Maybe if I keep doing modern art the art viewers will feel like they know me.
I’ll let the viewers make the call on the question of will this make a better artist out of me. Meanwhile, it looks like more rain is in the forecast so I might continue with this for a few more days. At this time of year if I want to go out to draw in plein air, I have to get up early, and check the local radar for rain. If it gets too late it’s too hot out.
The artist that invented pointillism, Seurat, had his color theory down to a science. I wish I knew how he did it but I see so many variations of pointillism I guess most artists put their own spin on it.
Last week when I got to Back Bay the clouds were so pretty I couldn’t resist trying to paint them. It was windy and the clouds were moving fast. I got some general shapes dotted in for the cloud shadows and when I wanted to puff them up with more volume they were all different so I decided to wing it when I got home.
I can’t tell if this experiment is working or not. If it’s not, and you can tell me how to improve next time, please don’t be afraid to advise me. I’m not sensitive about a critique and I don’t feel emotionally attached to my paintings, so my feelings don’t get hurt easily if it’s a flop.
The thing about painting at home is there are too many distractions here. When I go out to paint in plein air I’m leaving everything behind and concentrating on the drawing and painting. It might seem like people out in public would be a worse distraction but the people don’t bug me. I like when someone is interested in what I’m doing. Most of the time I’m alone out there except for walkers passing through.