Yesterday, at a farm stand, I ran into the director of the local Lyme, New Hampshire, gallery, "Long River Studios." I told her I was making my Lyme paintings, which are uncharacteristic for me. She said, "We're glad to push you out of your normal work." Those words can mean a lot of things, but I am taking them as my chance to explore other ways to paint, other than my own. Yesterday I looked at many of Claude Monet's paintings, looking for inspiration to begin my second Lyme painting, the "Smarts Mountain Landscape." I realized I wish to make an atmospheric painting. As example I show you Monet's "Waterloo Bridge."
Yesterday I made two drawings, as shown below the painting by Monet. The light in these drawings is extraordinary. In their own way they are "atmospheric" drawings. Perhaps they are preparation for today's painting.
It isn't that I am not having fun. What could be better than playing with one's skills without a lot of personal second guessing? The Lyme, New Hampshire paintings are due for delivery this Friday, June 3. I am telling myself NOT to be overly critical. I am having a good time while getting this job done, and that is enough. In other words, "Enjoy and entertain myself!" The "Lyme Soldier" is almost done. Today I stretch a canvas to make Lyme Painting #2, which will represent Smarts Mountain, the major peak that overshadows Lyme.
I like the drawing I made yesterday. A second local exhibit is coming, the juried AVA Gallery Summer Show (Lebanon, New Hampshire). I like the drawing I did yesterday enough to consider it for the AVA Show. I will also submit a painting, both due June 15.
I plan on making two paintings for the 250th Anniversary of Lyme, New Hampshire. The first one was begun yesterday. I am obligated to deliver these new Lyme Paintings by the end of next week (June 3), so they will not be long-winded, nor second guessed. This is good, as I will return to my regular work more quickly. I did have fun with the first painting, and show it below. It depicts the Civil War Monument on Lyme's Green, with a detail of the steeple of Lyme's Congregational Church. The verticality of the soldier is important. Further enhancement of the soldier's features will be important too.
I made two drawings yesterday. They are good ones. My ability to emote every aspect of my human figures is rapidly increasing. I feel as if my niche in this world is opening its doors to me, and I have the ability to find that niche through continued work. I am not there yet. Drawing #2 is better than #1. As I better understand myself the stuff I know will spill over and into my paintings.
Today I make a painting to celebrate Lyme, New Hampshire's 250th anniversary. Although I feel it is an obligation (I have never liked obligations), I am going to have fun with it. Tune in tomorrow to see the result. This will (hopefully) be a one-day painting. Let me show you yesterday's drawings.
Yesterday's drawings did not feel fluid while in process, but looking at them feels better than it felt making them. I am ready to start a new painting, a new major work, but I have obligations to fulfill before I do. I have contracted to deliver a small body of work, representing Lyme, New Hampshire, to the Long River Studios, the gallery on the Lyme green. These works are due by June 3. Lyme is celebrating its 250th Anniversary. I have lived here for many years and want to celebrate this great, little town. Today I will begin the first of two paintings for this celebration. I intend to paint two icons of our town, the church with the Civil War monument in front of it, and a piece of the landscape (either Smarts Mountain or the old stone abutment which once held the North Thetford Bridge).
Looking at yesterday's drawings: Mostly I am looking at light and its play across surfaces. I want to use my Lyme paintings to further my studies of the play of light on objects, but on things other than human figures.
Yesterday I had not quite returned to full energy. I did manage to make a couple of drawings. Here they are...
It was a good day in the studio. I wrestled the painting "Window" to a viable solution. The feeling it is right comes from my personal surprise. I would not have expected this painting, which began with three characters (two of them female), to be solved in this manner. The foreshortening of the female figure is so dramatic as to drive exhilaration; remember this painting is 60 inches wide, which makes her foot dramatically larger than life-size.
The drawing made yesterday is also good, although not one of my best. Mostly I enjoy the spatial depth provide by the relationship between the two heads, which includes a diagonal from left front to right rear (as if this flat plane has depth).
I need a day of rest and recreation. There will be no post tomorrow.
The painting "Window" is driving me nuts! OR, is it driving me sane? In ether case, it must change again today. Its the woman who is plaguing my existence. Sound familiar? The painting is demanding a less exaggerated female. The overall spatial composition did improve, but the woman slinks across the foreground like an earthworm. I went into the studio this morning and took a look. I continue to like the woman from her waist down. So today, first thing, I will scrape out her upper half. I will attempt, one more time, to paint her with great attention to the entire composition and overall expressiveness of the canvas.
I continue to draw very well. One of my teachers, Morton Sachs, said, "a great drawing appears to glow with its own light." My recent drawings are glowing, one after the other. It is pleasure seeing them on the wall of my studio. As I have mentioned many times, photographic reproduction does not do art work justice. Looking at an image of a drawing is like looking at a diamond in a photograph. The photo has none of the physical reality of light as witnessed in the actual article. The sparkle and glow is left behind.
I want to announce another major change which will occur today in the painting "Window," even though today's post shows a major change in this painting which occurred yesterday. As of yesterday the reclining woman has improved, as has the allocation of compositional space, but it is not right. It is discomforting. Today I am going to wipe out the entire top of the woman's torso, head, shoulders, and arms, and paint it with increased concentration and awareness of the entire composition. I have little else to say today, except this: I like the way I am drawing. I am seeing form, space, and composition better than ever. You can see this in my drawing from yesterday. Today I want to bring this knowledge to "Window." Please check back tomorrow to see if I am successful.
Yesterday's major work was on the painting "Window." However, I am not altogether happy with the results. Overall I should feel a sense of satisfaction, since much was accomplished, but instead my main emotion is disturbance. The little man in the upper left is totally weird. He has to go. Yesterday I ran out of the time and energy to deal with him. Today he will leave the painting. I plan to rake the window light across the upper portion of the woman, lighting up her face and left arm. I am hoping the negative space of the upper left corner of the painting will properly hold space and surface, and thus make sense in the overall composition.
The two drawings from yesterday are good ones.
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