Friday, April 12, 2013

A peek into process

Here's a little peek into my painting process.  Sometimes paintings just flow in through my eyes, run down my arm and effortlessly out of the end of the brush - certainly not always!  Here's how many of my paintings begin.  Most of my recent landscapes come from Arnold Arboretum and here's one that came from my wanderings.  It's a stream that's off the main path near the Rhodedendrums. A small pool of water with sky and trees reflected in it caught my eye so I did the quick sketch below which is how the vast majority of my paintings begin. I can't tell you how many times people ask if I use photos, I almost never use them.  If I do they sure don't look like the end result, rather they act as a touchstone.

Sketch for "Pool"
From the sketch I did this watercolor but when it was nearly finished I didn't like it at all so right away started another one...below.

Pool, watercolor, 11 x 14"
Then I started this one below and 90% of the way through didn't like it either.  Grrr.  So I hung them up side by side, pulled out my inner critic and had a tough love session.  Lots of artists, probably all of us, hang them up and live with them for a while. Turns out I liked them both but feel the first one is better, looser.  Pool #2 feels a little stiff and the reflection too centered and on-purpose.  But it does have some nice qualities to it so is a keeper.

Pool #2, watercolor, 11 x 14"

Which one do you prefer?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A walk in the park

I spend a lot of time in Arnold Arboretum painting and gathering ideas for paintings.  Here's a few I've done recently.  The first one "Night in the Park" is actually made up using composites of sketches I did from there then added a dash of drama, working on a couple more on this theme.  I'm too chicken to actually be in any city park at night...sad but true.

Night in the Park,  12 x 16", watercolor

Understory,  9 x 12"  watercolor

Upstream, 16 x 12", watercolor

Path, 12 x 16", watercolor