Pansies And The Maiden - "Drinking In The Muse" & Thoughts As You Progress Through A Painting
11"x14" oil on Belgian linen mounted on archival panel
"Nobody lives happily ever after. We live happily when we live with a sense of purpose and when we are unafraid of living in a world in which things are seldom settled, few things are permanently improved, and where love does not take care of itself."
Painting our favorite things is certainly a wonderful indulgence that any artist can partake in. I shipped this little statue home from my mom's house last year when she moved to a much smaller place and didn't have a place to put her. This bust stood on a pedestal next to the piano in the living room through the greater part of my childhood. I always admired this piece. I don't know why I've waited so long to paint her, but there you have it. The pansies I had bought during our warm weather frenzy last weekend, only to have a freeze come through on Monday. No worry, I decided they could stay and pose in my studio for a couple days before I put them back out on the front porch. "There's pansies, that's for thoughts" and I had a few thoughts to share in the 'building' of a painting:
- give yourself a map. No details necessary, but get the placement and proportion of your main elements. I tend to draw in paint, as I think it moves easier if I want to change something. You can also draw over what you've just laid down until you find that shape. If it gets too heavy, scrape it off, or use less paint. I don't use turps or thinners when I paint. I want the luscious thickness of oil paints on their own. You'll be laying paint on top of these anyway- they are NOT to "color in", but as a general guideline.
- think big SHAPES (not details) - SQUINT down with your eyes- that quickly removes any sense of detail and gives you the view of light vs. dark areas.
- pay attention to the EDGES - where do you want to make the viewer look? Crisp, hard edges at your focal point, softer edges that recede from view (you know the childhood saying, "Made ya look, made ya look!").
- if you don't like it, scrape it off! But you don't have to throw away the paint! Sometimes these make nice grays to tone down some very loud passages.
Once I get mid-way into a painting, I find that it's hard to stop and photograph! Something just takes over and I keep going. Yes, this does have both palette knife and brush in this painting. After years of using strictly one or the other, I am experimenting with employing both in the painting.