Thursday, January 23, 2014

Latest Painter Painting

After "Dark Country Road" painting braggishly displayed in Existing In BFE on November 18th, I wanted to hurry and get something else going while the iron, or brush, was hot.  I kind of knew what I wanted to do which was a cloudy expanse with a bit of blue sky, then cascading down to a rainy farm scene.  Sound confusing, welcome to my head.  I also wanted the farm to be Uncle Ed's, where I worked for many many summers in high school and college.  I don't need any pictures to help me with remembering his place; just closing my eyes and picturing it is good enough. 

There is a place on Central Avenue that sells canvasses 'buy one get two free' which is a pretty good deal so I got some nice big ones measuring 30" by 40".  "Dark Country Road" was a big one and this was, too.   (Carrie, a fellow artist from BFE, you should do a large canvas sometime, it's a challenge but you'll like it.)   These are pre-gessoed but I put another three coats on just so I'd have a nice smooth surface to work on  (I like to talk like I know what I'm doing).

First I applied a background sky of Torrit gray and some sap green to give the lower sky area a menacing stormy look, you know that greenish look when a big storm is forming.  Torrit gray is a unique color since it is leftover when the paint companies mix regular colors.  Retail art shops usually give it away free if they get some.  It doesn't cost the art companies anything and they even have a national contest where you must use Torrit gray somewhere on your painting.  For further explanation, you can usually mix 1 or 2 colors including white but when you add a 3 or certainly 4th, your mixture will become muddy and gray.  Thus you have made your own Torrit gray.  

The next step were the clouds.  I started at the bottom (to make those farther away and then layered closer clouds on top of the last layer.  Not really too difficult if you look at a few clouds.  The upper edges tend to be lighter because they are thinner allowing more light through.  That's about it, really.  Making them jagged and cloud-like is the tough part.  

Down at the bottom I left it unpainted where the ground and Ed's farm will be.  I then took some Payne's gray and very lightly made an up and down swoosh to simulate rain falling.  
I thought it would be kind of nice to have some blue sky showing to display the contrast of that is happening up top and what is going on down below in a storm.  It is kind of jarring to see nice clear blue sky up top and storms below, but I also wanted a bookend kind of thing with color up top and below while the clouds are just a combination of various grays.  I also started to play around with the pine trees that are a hallmark of Ed's place. 

 You could spot his farm from miles around, just look for the row of pines.  I used to mow underneath and around these pines with the cool little Massey-Ferguson utility tractor.  On a side note, Ed's tombstone in Knoxville is ordained with pine trees, a nice touch from the family members who designed it.

This is the finished painting.  For whatever it is worth, I think it came out OK, and really looks like Ed's place from a road that is to the south.  The old big red barn mysteriously burned down shortly after Ed died.  And since I worked there they have added on a garage to the house and it now has tan siding.   There is also a new utility shed and the old cribs to the right are gone as well.  Again, taking pictures of paintings is tough.  It just never looks the same, mostly because I don't know what I am doing.  

I will start another one tomorrow if I can come up with an idea, but it is important to do it as often as you can, otherwise the desire fades and you find other things to occupy your time.  Seriously, I can go years without doing any painting, so I'm trying to stay in the saddle until I burn out again.  

Since I have you in class, I thought I would tell you that when the oil is dry I'll be "oiling out" which is a process that makes the surface uniform in appearance.  Usually you have some areas that look matte and other that look shiny.  Oiling out is a way to make it all look the same.  You use Paint Medium and with a lint-free cloth just smooth it over the surface with a circular motion.  Then after that is done and it sits for awhile to let it really dry, it will be coated with a varnish to protect it.  

Any questions?  Questions?  Alright, then, class dismissed.

1 comment:

  1. Great painting with a great background story. Can we ever escape the farms of our misspent youth? I hope not.