Concepts for paintings arrive in many ways and are derived from various sources. Sometimes I set out to capture a certain sense of light or to develop a composition in a particular color harmony or tonal range. In other instances, I have conceptualized less before beginning. In these cases, I design in response to a rhythm of line or the unique characteristics of a model or costume. In Amethyst, I was inspired by the dramatic arching lines of the dress and the color harmony represented in the fabric and flesh tones. These stirring visual catalysts were accentuated by the models striking presence and beauty.
Also helpful in this set up were the models gracious offering to provide this dramatic dress. I remember the day well…before the day began while working on another composition of an exuberant flamenco piece which she sat for as well, the model carried this dress in and asked if I might be interested in painting this costume too? My response, “Are you kidding?!!!!”
Enjoy “Amethyst” and many more images in “Not Far from Home”.
Other good news from the studio…we are in the final phases of proofing the DVDs and BLURAYs before replication for our latest instructional video, “The Beginning of Autumn”!
Nichols Creek …then and now
One of my winter rituals in landscape painting for the past ten years or so has been to visit a secluded glade which my brother Steve Gerhartz first showed me. Steve, an accomplished artist himself, has painted this location often and has been generous in sharing where his adventurous spirit leads him. This particular “bit of paradise” offers wandering streams that spring forth from the hillside as they descend through virgin cedar forest. Endless angles and abstractions provide ample material for intriguing and inviting designs.
The invigoration of being surrounded by such beauty and experiencing the joy in trying to capture it on canvas bring to mind what my mentor and friend, Richard Schmid, once said to me while enjoying the experience of landscape painting, “We should be arrested for having this much fun while at work”. His enthusiasm for the thrill of painting is truly memorable.
This past week I made the pilgrimage to our favorite spot and captured the afternoon sunlight in this new work, “The Scent of Cedars”, 24 x 40, oil on linen.
The technical advice for this challenging work was to keep in mind the original intent of design and light as the moving shadows and spots of sunlight created a new composition every few minutes. If I had constantly chased the moving light and added spots here and there as they shifted, the composition would have been fragmented and less unified. I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping in mind a solid design of lights and darks from the outset. It is always helpful for me to produce a thumbnail sketch of this pattern, or if you are tech savvy, a digital sketch of the arrangement of shapes that you may refer to as you continue in the field.
Another snow scene entitled “Spring Fed”, painted in this same forest may be seen on page 101 of our book, “Not Far from Home”. Enjoy!
Just an update on the video, “The Beginning of Autumn” … we were originally planning on releasing our latest video solely as a digital download but recently have felt it necessary to also offer it in DVD and possibly BluRay. We are very close to production on that and hope to have things ready in a month or so. Thanks for your patience!