Sunday, February 28, 2010

Speed skater I final - Started off like a lion, finished like a mouse!

With this one, I tried to separate colors instead of blending them too much. I also tried to play intense colors against attenuated ones (leaving them adjacent to each other)...

This was also an attempt to do textures on a loose piece of canvas temporarily fixed with duct tape on a board. I mixed modeling paste with heavy gel 50/50 to make textures more flexible and prevent crackling during storage (I roll my canvases). There was not too much buckling... it will be interesting to see how it stretches.

Although this painting is interesting to look at, I don't think I will perpetuate this model. I'm in the mood to experiment these days, but in the end, I want to produce decent images I can live with. For some reason, with this subject matter, going half way between a super loose rendition and pure realism just doesn't cut it for me: it should be either one or the other! More importantly, I also find that large masses of nuanced colors are more powerful than "a dab of this and a dab of that"!

For my next painting, I'm lining up this Yoga pose... having lost my "pompous ass" attitude, and evidently using a fail-safe approach to mark my return to the series!

Note to self: " If I want to do expressionism, I should start like a lion and finish like a lion! In that line of thinking, the spirit of the 3rd pass was better (unfinished and full of bright colors!). I realize I don't like attenuated (grayed) colors any more!"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Speed skater I - close to final - The quest for freedom... is still on!

With this 4th pass, I have attenuated the colors in an attempt to make the skater look somewhat more natural...

I overshot, and now I need to dial in some more intense colors, and reintroduce higher contrasts and highlights here and there!

Note to self: "I need to delve deeper into gestural painting... and not be afraid to go all the way!"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Speed skater I - step III - Sticking with the program!

I'm still proceeding one calculated move after another...

... trying not to fiddle around too much with the paint once it's spread out. I don't know what will be the outcome... but it certainly feels right... the exercise is liberating!

Note to self: "Freedom is tough to assume..."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Speed skater I - step II... going at it one brush stroke at a time!

I'm back to a more relaxed approach to painting. So far, after initiating this one, I've been blue in the face only a few minutes from lack of breathing... usually, I can't breathe and paint!

I think the kid in me is back!

I'm proceeding with both the palette knife and the brush, leaving brush marks for last...

Note: I couldn't resist those amazonian Japanese skaters!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Speed skater I - step I... A change of pace!

My last failure was a sign that I was running out of gas with the Yoga series. I decided to create a diversion by initiating this series on Olympic speed skaters using a 30 X 30 piece of loose canvas...

... an opportunity to go crazy on colors and techniques! With regard to the Yoga series, I think there might still be 5 more paintings in me, which I plan to complete fairly soon. Hopefully this sport series will help me break away from my repetitive patterns of late...

Note to self: "I seem to be progressing in spurts, getting bored after 5 paintings of any kind by the repetitiveness in colors schemes and techniques. Sticking to what I have achieved technically and improving my craftsmanship (clean colors, deliberate brush strokes, etc...) would be a reasonable short term objective though."

Friday, February 19, 2010

Yoga pose XI finale... A salvaging exercise: thank God for Chinese calligraphy!

I tried to correct proportions but remained unsatisfied (didn't get the look I wanted and also tried to fit in a narrow design within a 24 X 30 frame, big mistake!). No amount of efforts could save this painting...

... short of cropping it to save the day!

Evidently, this goes with the territory.With regard to technique, I'm left on my appetite as I've started to repeat myself lately! For the next 5 paintings, I would like to separate colors (at least different tones and hues) in the rendering of the figures as opposed to blending them to death. This is likely to be difficult for me but I've done it before!

Note to self: "I think it's time to follow my instincts and forget about wanting this or that!"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Yoga pose XI - step III... Sort of experimenting...

This one got out of control a bit, so I'm taking the opportunity to try different approaches (glazes, scumbling, etc.). I still need to tweak a number of picture elements and find a way to fill up part of the empty space behind the figure...

Part of the problem is that I'm running out of poses that I can easily fit in the series. Luckily, the Yoga instructor that I used as a model offered me to take more pictures of her, which I did last night...

Merci Geneviève! I'd really like to get to 20 paintings that I can live with, so you've just increased my chances of getting there big time!

Note to self: "Considering the last 5 paintings, I've used much more transparency than I anticipated. They are perceptively quite different when compared to the first lot, yet they seem to belong as part of a continuum. When tackling smaller formats, I realize that maintaining a painterly approach is a challenge. It's like going from lunge punches to rabbit punches in martial arts terms!"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Yoga pose XI - steps I-II.... Signs of a struggle!

As usual, I never know what to do with backgrounds. After this rough second pass, just as I'm getting ready to throw the towel (I seem to reach this crucial stage with every painting!)...

... the possibility of introducing smoke from burning incense... a common ritual in Yoga classes. I rapidly tested ground in the upper part of the picture. I now need to figure out the smoke patterns around the bend... and everywhere else for that matter!

Lately, I seem to be practicing the art of painting... without painting... getting away with merely 4-5 passes of semi transparent colors. This one is already making me sweat, forcing me to paint for a change!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Studio 2010 - Getting there!

After a week of efforts, I finally managed to rearrange my studio to my liking. The only thing left is to decorate the walls with some of my paintings ...

I'm now ready for some serious painting!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Yoga pose X final - didn't quite end up with the color scheme I had in mind!

It seems that this painting ended up having a life of it's own...

... as I struggled to balance bright colors and attenuated ones (went at it the wrong way!). In terms of textural effects, I like the sweeping paint effects that remind me of Chinese painting... on the other hand, I don't want to end up with a gimmick. I've got to find some more ways to apply paint!

I'm lining up the next one with this in mind...

Note RE last painting: With this pose and the unusual cropping I applied to it, I wanted to keep people guessing a little by focusing on the weird design brought about by the exaggerated highlights. I got more than I bargained for in the "weirdness" department!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A short hiatus from painting - revamping the studio!

I finally started the prep work today before repainting my studio...

... and I had to strip more paint than I thought from the old plaster walls. I hope to be finished by the end of this coming weekend. This time around, I'll just keep a few book shelves and use as much studio real estate as possible for painting purposes. This room is not super huge (90 square feet) but it'll do for a while...

Update: As of the end of Sunday afternoon (Feb 7th)... I'm still sanding and breathing plaster dust... in other words, I'm getting plastered!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Yoga pose X - close to final... a bit short on clean colors!

I started off with dirty colors (toned down with black) but couldn't overcome them during this third pass...

My intention was to make clean color accents appear much brighter with the final pass. Great idea but I'm still in the mud! At any rate, I have another opportunity to leave some more brush marks...

Note: I decided to close the opening on the left by attaching the legs to the trunk overtly!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Yoga pose X - step II... Smudging my way to some color scheme!

After this second pass, I'm still not totally fixed on patterns or color scheme (for one thing, I'm not sure if I want to keep the long nose face on the left which seems to provide an autoroute to get out of the picture!)...

... although I feel I have achieved some resemble of what could be. So much for the Zen-like atmosphere. I still want fire in my paintings it seems!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Yoga pose X - step I... confused in a mellow yellow kind of way!

After some hesitation, I've decided to opt for an exploration of interactions between yellow and black making sure to include toned down (grayed) and high intensity color accents for variety...

Funny thing... after a one week break from painting (I'm getting ready to repaint my studio after a major clean up), it feels like I don't know how to paint any more! One thing is for sure, I'm determined to stay loose and intuitive up to the final layer. It appears music can help curb the rational brain in favour of the intuitive brain during the act of painting... harnessing my intuition is definitely an important next step in my becoming a real artist! I used to think a lot between layers and I realize now that this has been to the detriment of my creative process (some thinking is required, however, after having initiated a painting with a sub-optimal design). This is the very reason why many of my watercolor sketches are much better than most artworks I've produced over the last few years with acrylics... it's never too late to learn from one's mistakes!

Note to self; "I feel more comfortable building up layers... the question is: can I get away with 2-3 layers max after the underpainting (as I did with some of my more successful paintings over the last 2 years) while conveying a richness of surface I did not have before? In a way, I should be more preoccupied with results than with the number of layers!"