I usually don't revisit a painting, but a big glob of white paint was thrown on this one and I had to repair the damage. In doing so, I began reassessing all of it. I touched up here, and there and didn't stop until fresh paint covered the entire canvas. The most notable addition is the clouds, but beyond that, I was more playful with the paint and less concerning about blending and consistency of color. I punched up the lights and darkened the darks. It's done this time. I swear!
When I began this painting, I wanted to do a blocky, abstracted cityscape that was loose and carefree. I can still picture it in my head. Yet I couldn't put down the small brushes and what I ended up with is something entirely different. It's frustrating to not be capable of pulling off one's own vision. The biggest challenge for me was to capture color in the shadows of the buildings. I wanted a colorful scene, but to read correctly, the sides in shadow had to be darker. I would start to get mud if I wasn't careful. I see paintings all the time that use color in shadows that read perfectly, without loosing the fact they are shadows. That is one of my goals. Good shadows. The more you study shadows, the more you realize they can be very complex. and can add unexpected vibrancy to a painting when done correctly. Also, I would have loved a more dramatic sky. Some billowy clouds to offset the busyness of the buildings. I'm not experienced in cloud painting, and after working so tirelessly on the buildings, I just didn't have it in me because it's a large one, 40x30. When I look at the painting, I'm dissatisfied because it didn't meet my expectations. It's funny how the brush and the left brain can take over. I'll get that abstracted look one day. Thanks for looking.
I have a slew of wonderful photos from various vacations and decided since I've been in an uninspired mood, I'd make use of some for my painting. I'm not sure what drew me to this scene, but this is from a week spent in Santiago, during a walk in an old part of the city. I think it was the strong vertical lines and the blocks of color. It also had some nice play of light on the trees. I like this painting, but I don't feel it was that successful and I think it has to do with a lack of focal point. The eye doesn't have a place to rest. It wants to rest on the figure, but I don't think it's painted in a way that holds the eye's attention. As I study it, I think I should have put her in a color that stands out from the surrounding, like a red. Also, I could have hit her with some light. Perhaps moving her in to the light. My nature is to paint what is there, and I'm tentative when it comes to adding something that isn't in a photograph. Not sure why, but at this stage, I'm comfortable with only the known. As my confidence grows, I hope I can take bigger risk. I was happy with the leaves of the trees though. They look leafy and not solid like my trees from earlier paintings.
Still in the uninspired stage, so why not throw some paint on the canvas. Decided to do an abstracted city/landscape. Looks part skyline, part fall trees, but it all came from my minds eye. I'd rather rely on a reference when I do my art, but sometimes it's best to stretch a little. Played with the palette knife somewhat on this and it's an addictive tool. My follow studio mate, Linda, loves to paint with palette knives. I don't think she owns a brush, but it doesn't seem to hinder her because she does amazing art. One of the basic rules I learned was not to cut your canvas in half, and that is exactly what I did. Not literally, but you can see the "horizon line" is right smack dab in the middle. Abstracts are interesting because they can be just about anything, but it does help when you follow basic rules of painting. Abstracts are not as easy as they look. Oh, I could do that!, is what you hear so often in a museum or galleries. Well, my advice to those who say that is to try it and maybe then they'll have a better appreciation the abstract. A good abstract is planned and considered, just like any other type of painting. Still a little scared of the paint at this point though. Not brave enough to really goop the paint on the canvas, even though an abstract is perfect for a heavier application. The texture of the paint can add a nice element. I did sell this one and was pleased that my boss was the one who purchased it. She saw it in my trunk. So that's a trunk show. I had no idea. She's a good boss to support me that way. She see trees, by the way.
My sweet tooth has been satisfied and painting candy no longer fulfills my cravings. Not sure what to tackle next, so I thought I'd just do an Alla Prima paintings and quickly knock something out. Since I found myself ill-prepared for a night in front of the easel with nothing to paint, I rummaged through the studio and came across a pickle jar. Why not? I supposed something sour is a logical choice. Painting glass is a good challenge and the lettering from all the candy paintings will come in handy for this exercise. I had been painting in layers for awhile, allowing each layer to dry before the next round of painting. That works well for me since I paint so sporadically. Since I wanted to finish this in one night, I had to contend with painting wet on wet which has always presented issues for me, like trying to get crisp, clean edges on my letters. Not going to happen. However, I like the loose feel of the brush work and if I let go, I even like the roughness of the lettering. The composition is a bit uninspired and the drawing could be improved, but overall, for a quick painting, I was pleased.
This will be my last candy painting for awhile. Ok, it's technically gum. I was asked to donate a painting for a fundraiser and if I did so, I was allowed to hang another painting to sell for myself. I didn't want to donate the Dots or Good 'n Plenty, but I did want to see if I could sell one of them. I decided to paint another painting to donate to accompany the others and this is the result. My second attempt at bubble gum. The painting sold, so it did the job to raise money and that's wonderful. If you read my posts, you know I like to critique my work, but I hate to do that to a work that sold. If I purchased a painting and then came across a posting of the artist trashing the work, I'd be very unhappy about it, so I'm not going to chance that happening. But I will point out that during the "candy period" my attention to rendering even and consistent coverage of paint really stands out. It was definitely intentional because I was going for realism with a pop art feel. I love realism in painting, especially with non-traditional still life. The marriage of traditional technique and modern subject matter and composition is very exciting to me. I also love a loosely rendered painting where you can see the paint mixed on the canvas and the brush strokes are evident. Not sure what I like more, so I’ll just continue to explore until my own style emerges. Perhaps at painting 100.
Still on the Candy kick. This painting came together very quickly for me. I really enjoyed painting the folds of the paper and getting the colors right. The white on the paper is cool with a tinge of gray and the stick is warm. I also added a hint of the background color into the wrapper for a reflective quality. Paying attention to those tiny details is one of the reason I find painting fun. Painting teaches you to look at things in a new way. Our brains love to fill in the blanks and make decisions for our eyes. Training yourself to actually see what is there and not what you expect to be is a difficult journey, especially with warm and cool colors. Color is a beast to master, so I take pride when I purposely use color principles in a painting as I did with the whites. The background puzzled me greatly. I wanted a colorful, fun contrast in keeping with the other candy paintings, and I painted the background a few different shades before I settled on this orange. I don't care for it. I think it detracts attention away from the subject. The shadow is also an issue. It's too dark and solid and also detracts from the subject as well. My grasp of color theory obviously didn't hold up through the entire painting process, but I never liked Tootsie Pops anyway.
Kay Wyne gave me a roll of lifesavers at the studio. Kay is a former member of Studio Art and Soul and recently found representation with a gallery in Sante Fe. Being in a gallery on Canyon Road in Sante Fe is like winning the lottery for an artist and everyone at the studio was so proud of her and what she has accomplished. I am fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful talent and it really makes me a better artist because of it. The Lifesavers were a great gift since my last 2 paintings were candy. Lifesavers definitely remind me of my childhood and specifically, my childhood during the holidays. Does anyone remember those Lifesaver books they had during Christmas? It wasn't Christmas until you had your selection of Lifesavers in a book shaped box! I loved painting this and I am very pleased with the results, especially with the candy. It's shiny and sticky and I think I captured them perfectly. The foil of the candy roll was a fun challenge and I am pleased with the overall results. I was even more pleased when someone purchased the painting at our Studio's open house. I paint for myself, but I can't help but feel validated when strangers see fit to spend money on what I create. It's very satisfying and definitely motivates me.
The journey through the candy aisle continues with this not so delicious treat. Licorice is definitely an acquired taste and not something I was fond of as a child. Never remembered eating a Good & Plenty, but they still are iconic for me. I had a few while I was painting this, and they weren't that bad. Licorice seems like an old person's candy and now that I'm getting older, I'm starting to like it as well. I guess it must be true. The background color was a struggle for me. I didn't know what color to paint it and I'm still not sure about it. Kind of makes me dizzy. If you've by chance found this painting during a search on Google, there's a good chance you're a big Good & Plenty fan. If so, this painting is for sale!
I love things that trigger those memories of my childhood, and candy was my passion early on. I was a picky eater and very slight of weight, so my mother resorted to feeding me what I demanded and sugar is what I wanted. Honey Buns and coke for breakfast was common. It's a wonder I have any teeth left. Dots are not my favorite, but they are iconic. I have memories of eating them at the movies mostly. To me Dots are movie candy and not something we ever had at home. I'd gobble them down at the start of the movie and then spend the rest of the time picking the goo out of my teeth. My childhood was sweet in so many ways and putting those memories on canvas makes me smile. I enjoyed painting on a large canvas (30x40) and it is almost a billboard sized ad for Dots. Perhaps it's too much of an advertisement than a fine art painting, but I suppose that's the graphic designer part of me shining through. If I had added a bloody tooth or a g-string in the still life, it would have been provocative and museum worthy, but as is, it's just cotton candy fluff. And with my sweet tooth, that's just fine by me.