Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Neptune steps III-IV - I lost the spirit of the first pass... and probed deeper into the more conventional and ordinary!

The first pass was much more fluid, but I was caught off guard by the power of quinacridone violet. In my past experiments, I noticed that a ground made of acrylic paste works well when floating watery colors over it in a watercolor fashion. This time around, I did not like the dulling effect of paste when mixed with paint... and brush marks disappear as the paste shrinks! Too many new things at the same time!

This one, with a permanent light bulb over it, would be acceptable... at least, it's got the spirit of the men from Lascaux!

In retrospect, I would have been better off working on an orange background and go at it with a first and final pass "alla prima"... for the effect I wanted (abstract and figurative at the same time and pushing paint around as I do with my watercolor sketches). It's "partie remise"!

Note to self: "So far, working with multiple thin layers of paint on a textured underpainting done with a palette knife shows the best promise as an extension of my current style. For a more spontaneous alternative style, my next experiment will be to work " alla prima" (in the same way I do watercolor sketches) on a colored background using a stiff brush and mixing paint with gel as usual. I'd like to work both styles concurrently... until they mesh!"

Monday, September 28, 2009

Neptune step II... timidly graduating to higher contrasts...

Changing from gel to paste and using different primary colors applied with bristle brushes seem to be more than I can handle for now... feels like painting for the first time!

I used staining colors and they are much more powerful than I thought. With this one, I'm trying to leave as many brush marks as possible... letting the paint sit there... with difficulty I might add! I need to lose the guy a little in the background with the third layer... and bulk him up by shortening the left leg and increasing the size of his head.

Note to self: "My future challenge is to retain brush marks... somewhat like plein air painters... but on 6 foot panels!"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Laying the foundation for Neptune in Rome... thick and pink!

Based on a travel sketch and photo references, I mixed paint with modeling paste and used stiff brushes to lay down the foundation for this rather small painting (18 X 18). I favoured pink which is the color of air in Italy...

My plan is to float orange and turquoise on this absorbent ground... this is very experimental evidently. I want an abstract undefined mess with plenty of discernible marks in a close up that translates into pure figuration from a distance.... let's hope I don't end up with a "blue boy" or, even worst, a "pink boy"!

Note to self: "Using different primary colors poses definite challenges in the short term, but I want to broaden my horizons. Gotta get used to those new substitutes for crimson or alizarin... in a hurry! "

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Down to the wire... literally!

After 4 weeks of heavy duty work (it's been a bit of a killer!)... I'm left with the wiring of a few stretched canvases (the others on foam boards will be assembled and wired on site).

It's leaving me with a week for some paper work (beyond invitations which were sent already)... and the painting of a few "commercial" paintings. I'm expecting a number of Italians at the exhibition... I think I can connect with them... time to re-look at some of those travel sketches!

Meanwhile, the muse, impressed by my painting and varnishing abilities, gave me an assignment to keep me stimulated...

... a small price to pay to keep "my model" happy! I took the opportunity to take snapshots of flowers around the house, sort of a last glimpse at summer 2009...

... hope some of these colors stick in my mind through the fall and winter!

Note: In the end, "commercial" may just mean smaller size... I'm in the mood to experiment with little compromise!

Note to self: "I realized all of a sudden that each of my watercolor sketches represent in fact the imprint of a scene in my brain, or more precisely what's left of it, shortly after I have experienced it. Lines are drawn on the motif but colors are applied as a second step while my memory of the scene is still fresh. Now that I think of it, my paintings should follow the same principle, i.e., they should not represent pure reality but traces of what's left of it in my brain after having experienced it!"

Friday, September 18, 2009

First coat of varnish... one more to go!

So far so good... I'm on schedule with 30 paintings with 2 weeks remaining! I used a first coat of gloss varnish which will be followed by a coat of satin varnish for a waxy non reflective finish... this makes bare canvas look likes it's painted (sort of my getting away with murder approach)!

One should never take photos after varnishing... da!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

End of race IV- final step... back to some form of painting and signaling a new direction!

With this one, as an experiment, I relied solely on the painting knife for textures (albeit awkwardly and in an exaggerated fashion!).... it looks good at 300 yards, this is a close up!

I want to use this painting at my upcoming exhibition to signal a new direction in the area of textures. In my future works, I want to emphasize color and textures. If there is nothing to see in a close up (this is the usual with my paintings), at least people will experience bumps and crevasses. Tighten your seat belts... it's gonna be a bumpy ride!

Note to self: "There is no real impasto painting without the painting knife..."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hitting an Appalachian trail.... to end up in the Czech Republic!

Yesterday, while my canvases were drying, I decided to take a short break and hit a mountain trail close to the town where I was born. I'm sort of rediscovering this area after many years of absence... sort of lost all those years in prairies of asphalt and forests of electric poles. A close cousin was a helpful guide...

To avoid a case of delirium tremens, we elected to visit a winery close by: "Chapelle Ste Agnès". The estate was built over the course of 15 years using ancient Czech construction techniques. The owner was kind enough to offer us a private wine tasting session outside their usual schedule. If wine is a religion, then I'm a converted...

I couldn't resist buying a bottle of their best Vidal ice wine, which won international acclaim...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Riding the wave of chaos... trying to think big within the confines of small quarters!

This year, I've decided to extend my paintings beyond the picture plane... should I charge more for the side views?

I find it easier than painting the sides of frames blue-black... a good omen!

I took the opportunity to post an ad featuring the details of my upcoming exhibition on the quoifaireaujourdhui.com website...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Meeting my pre-exhibition objectives... getting there!

Close to 30 paintings... a pretty compact group, owing to foam board mounting...

I'm almost finished with pre-varnishing coats and the painting of frame sides. This leaves me 2 weeks for varnishing and completing the paper work (catalog of available works, labels and posters). I don't have too much time for turning my thumbs!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A moment of weakness... I want to sell!

As I'm preparing to sell nothing at my October exhibition (75% of my paintings will be on foam boards), I've been showing signs of weakness...

As the tension builds up... I may even do a Buddha... shame on me!

Note: Now, I need to invite people who have recently vacationed in Cuba or the Dominican Republic... and my chance of finding a few is better "than snow ball in hell"... in Québec, that is!

Sub-note: In actuality, I'm a poor predictor of what can sell!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Using the outside studio... it can be a busy place!

This week, I managed to mount 20 paintings on foam boards and "prep" all necessary frame moldings (these will be assembled at the exhibition site). Owing to the nice weather, I made use of the outside studio which, at times, can be a busy place... in this case, with our grand children!

Next week, I've got 5-6 additional canvases to put on stretcher bars and then, it's varnishing time. I will take the opportunity to make the odd corrections on my paintings wherever necessary.

Over the weekend, I took the opportunity to attend another art festival in the Eastern Townships, the Festiv'Art in Frelighsburg, about 25 km from the place where I was born...

I haven't been in that specific village for ages. It's an area surrounded by hills and mountains, and being there felt so right... as if the land was embracing me! This was another opportunity for me to see what's out there and determine how I can to position myself in the future from an artistic standpoint.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Prep work for my upcoming exhibition... after a day's work, I seem to be ahead of the game!

Things seem to be rolling: I finished cutting all my moldings and have started to mount my paintings on foam boards.

Next steps: painting the moldings black and varnishing the paintings. A number of works will be on stretcher bars and some framed.

While retrieving moldings in the shed, I saw a peregrine falcon in a flash and managed to observe it with binoculars. This is a rare bird in urban areas... could this be a good omen? I dug up this watercolor done by myself in the mid 70's after a painting from James Fenwick Lansdowne (an attempt to test my watercolor technique at the time)...

This brings back good memories... at the time, I was a student in Ecology.

Note: By searching the Web, I found out that Lansdowne died in 2008 at the age of 71. I'm saddened by this...