As I am anxious to start the new year with it’s hopes, dreams and new beginnings, I am reminded of how on a smaller scale to the artist, a fresh white canvas offers hopes and dreams all on its own. Just as in life we see the importance of looking back in review to more effectively move ahead, I am reminded of the necessity to treat each new canvas with the same degree of serious reflection so as to learn from the last attempt.
Each painting must begin with a resolution of sorts, to improve upon a deficiency in edges, value, drawing, or color to greater achieve the mood you are aiming for. I am continually striving to get to the next level and have found that it clearly helps to have a plan formed before the brush hits the canvas. Be specific. Resist thinking, “I hope this one turns out better”, but rather meditate on, “What specifically do I need to work on to gain greater sensitivity or strength in my work”. If you have trouble identifying what that might be on your own, ask someone you trust to tell you the truth. I am extremely dependent on “outside” help. My wife Jennifer has an amazing eye and often sees what I miss.
I remember specifically the resolution I made prior to this painting, “Tricia”, page 33, that being to severely limit my color palette.
My work had become too colorful, meaning I was using color for color’s sake, throwing it in haphazardly and not being truthful with what I was seeing. The “circus” look was not working!!! Having recently viewed an Anders Zorn exhibition helped me to identify this color problem and I recognized that something had to change. As an exercise, this work was completed using his choice of colors as well, that of, white, black, raw sienna, and Rembrandt’s Permanent Red Medium, (which closely resembles the vermillion Zorn used. I have since broadened my palette again, but the lesson was invaluable to teach me what effects could be achieved with very little shift in color.
I wish you great paintings as you break out into the New Year!
Thank you for your enthusiastic support of Not Far from Home!