Archive for December, 2012

A Pause Along the Way

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

As we approach the end of another year, I find it a good time to evaluate how far I’ve come, how much my skills have increased, and where I would like to go from here.

120814 Preserve Shadows

This year I have been studying with the Virtual Art Academy (July 1 blog) to fill in a lot of the gaps left from my informal, self-directed art education. It has helped my work improve immeasurably. Admittedly, not every painting reaches my highest level of achievement, but learning is an ongoing process. I intend to continue applying the lessons learned there and through my own related studies.

Some of the areas in which I’ve been aware of improvement include use of color to achieve a sense of perspective, closer observation to the causes of certain visual effects, drawing skills, composition, more accurate depiction of form, more effective use of values, and more confident brushwork. I know there’s still a lot of room for improvement, but that’s a lot to have learned in a short time. So I’m pleased with how far I’ve progressed to this point.

Now the question remains, where shall I go from here? I expect to resume teaching watercolor locally, during Florida’s “Snowbird Season.” I will continue to work with acrylics (see #120814 – “Preserve Shadows,” above) as well as with watercolors. And it’s also time to make my work more widely available to the general public. So I will consider participating in more art shows during the coming year and will strive to increase my gallery representation.

Among other things, I look forward to doing some more traveling to see fine art masterworks in person, to experience a bit of other cultures, and to otherwise broaden my intellectual and artistic horizons.

I wish you all safe and happy holidays, and hope you fare well in the coming year, whatever seasons of change and transition may lie ahead.

Cays Sunset Revisited

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

After living with “Cays Sunset” (#120701, August 1, 2012, blog) in my studio for a while, I found myself becoming increasingly dissatisfied with it. Despite having reglazed the sky earlier to desaturate it, I felt it remained overly intense. Neither was I content with the rest of the elements in the composition.

I scrubbed the canvas down to reuse. A lot of the pigment washed away, but because of the underlying coats of gesso, much of the watercolor pigment still remained. It spoke well for the absorbency of the gesso, which fulfilled its intention (see blog April 15, 2012). It meant, however, that unless I reworked the same composition with only minor variations, the underlying colors would show through and compromise any new layers.

So I decided to reuse the canvas for an acrylic composition, instead, allowing the underlying watercolors to act as an imprimatura for the new acrylic painting. As it happened, I used the same subject with very few compositional changes in “Cays Sunset Redux” (#121107) below.

121107 Cays Sunset Redux

The chromatic variations across the sky now read better, and the hue and chromatic variations in the water have both improved, while the lines of the ship serve the composition more effectively.

Sometimes it’s worth the risk of wiping the slate clean and taking a fresh tack.