Back to Basics isn’t a bad thing
Even though my focus is on abstract art or pop-art portraits, sometimes you have to get back to basics. Robert Burridge says “behind every good painting is an abstract painting” and there’s a lot of truth in that. Especially at the beginning of a painting, when strokes of paint are just being put down on canvas. It always looks so random and arbitrary, but then there are still so many layers to go. I never get tired of the process. It’s still fascinating to me even though that’s what I do every day.
Plein Air Disaster
So this past weekend, in celebration of earth day, I worked in the garden, but it was so beautiful here in Northern California that I also did a little plein air painting. It was really windy on Sunday and no matter how much extender, or how much misting with a spray bottle, it was difficult to keep the acrylic paints moist. Was wishing I had used oils instead. Anyway, I wasn’t happy with the way it turned out so I decided that I needed to get back to basics. Whether I was painting inside or outside I really needed to get better at mixing my colors and painting looser. I find that when working in spurts and bursts and very quickly the looser my abstract and portrait paintings are. That spontaneous movement gets captured in the final painting and is responsible for bringing it to life.
Back to basics, here we go, I worked from a photo in the studio. I used 5 paints (6 counting the toned canvas color), 3 brushes and 2 palette knives. I was trying to get it done in one hour – I went over – by ten minutes. Now the canvas panel is only a 8 x 6″, so that’s not a lot of real estate to paint. Especially when you consider the painting I was working on this past Friday was a 24 x 48″ canvas – quite a difference. Regardless, the painting process is the same, it starts out looking haphazardly and then many, many layers later – it finishes itself.
Keep it Simple
This painting came together easy, very simple impressionism that I think captures the feel of a spring day here in Sonoma County. And even though I’m not “into painting realism”, it felt good to mix colors and to put pressure on myself to paint loose and quickly.
Why Be Normal
I also realized that I need to do this more often so I can become a better painter. Next time, I’m going to experiment with a different color palette though. I don’t want to be too normal! Oh, that reminds me of a bumper sticker I had – “Why be Normal?” and on the other side of the bumper there was one that said: “If you don’t like the way I drive, stay off the sidewalk”.
Could this Be Habit Forming?
I know several painters who complete a painting everyday, and that intrigues me. It usually takes me a few days, to a week to finish a painting. Maybe I should do a small, quick 1 hour painting everyday? I’m not a good multi-tasker so I’m not sure how that will go, but either way, it might be fun to try. Does anyone else do this? Let me know how it works out for you, what’s your process? Maybe this will be good practice for me…
Thanks for being here, hope you are having a gorgeous day, or brilliant night, wherever you are – know that everything is as it should be – and it’s all good!
Love ya bunches,