October 29, 2009

Ochre and Black Stripes

Ochre and Black Stripes, 2009, 2 panels: each 6 x 6 inches, egg tempera on panel

I finished this small painting yesterday, after adjusting the color many times on the yellow sections of the hose (that's what the yellow and black is, a large hose on an agricultural implement). I had to go back and forth from lighter to darker colors in order to get a sense of light flowing through the material. Because the panels are very small, getting the brushwork to be both descriptive and lively was fairly difficult.

I have mixed feelings about this work. It's impossible to see online, since all images big or small are reduced to the same format, but I think this might have been better on larger sized panels. When I paint studies from the motif, I usually make the work about life size, even taking out my ruler to measure the thing I'm painting. But this work looks a bit cramped to me, and too fussy. The painting is now sitting on a shelf alongside Opposing Angles and looks better there than it did upstairs in the studio. I expressed misgivings about a painting before––Yellow Curve––which I've come to like after living with it for a while, so my opinion of this work may shift.

It's odd to be thinking about spring now, as we're heading into winter, but I look forward to the season of outdoor painting to see where my eye may lead. I've lately felt most interested in the simplest compositions and so might choose even more abstract images when I go out to paint studies. Having to write about my working process has certainly nudged me to be even more conscious of my thoughts, which for me is a good thing. I believe that clarity in thinking promotes better and more interesting painting.


  1. I certainly agree about the thinking part - without it, one part doesn't know what the other is doing.
    I like the back and forth looking that this duo instigates, I look to see what the differences and similarities are and instinctively try to imagine how they are part of the same configuration. this is, to my mind, an excellent use of two images, the back and forth energy enhances both.

  2. thanks, rappel, I'm glad you like this. Again, looking towards spring, I'm thinking of multi-part pieces, more than just a pair. ah, possibilities.....