October 30, 2009

Beginning a New Painting: Green Tilt

This morning I started a new painting, which I'm calling Green Tilt; it's a 10 x 24 inch horizontal; the gouache study done on site is above. I found the three major colors in the image very appealing, with the cool colors of blue and green against the warmth of the red-brown rusts. A major shift for me in this painting is that there is no direct sunlight playing across the surface, something that has always been a major part of composing for me. I like having cast shadows as compositional elements, and sunlight adds vibrant color variations in reflected and direct light. But there I was, standing in front of a motif that I liked a lot, and there was no sun. So this painting will be an attempt to work with a different kind of light, one that is softer and in a sense more embedded in the forms. I wonder if this will make the work more abstract, since we are not shown a real world sunlight.

Above is the first layer of paint applied to the panel, on top of an ink drawing. I wanted to photograph this early stage of work to illustrate some of the wonderful qualities of egg tempera: its translucency, quick drying, ease of handling, vivid color. It doesn't yet look as rich as the gouache study, but that's because tempera does require layers of paint to achieve its full intensity of color. One thing I wanted to point out was that when white is added to the color, the paint becomes more opaque and this is clearly seen above. This opacity is very useful as I develop the painting. Please click on the image (even those of you reading this in an email subscription can do this; the enlargements are always embedded in the emails) to see this more clearly. I'm looking forward to the challenge of picturing what is essentially a flat image, having only a shallow space.

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