Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Two Studies

These are paintings that I squeeze in between my larger efforts- I need to experiment and try out some ideas with these paintings. Sometimes they come out much better than the bigger projects. For instance, with "Neblulous" the very first thing I hit was that core shadow in the cup. I held off and didn't touch it again for the rest of the painting, and feel like it was serendipitous. I really like how the pigment fell. I also like how the big blue vase loses itself in the background. 

"Nebluelous" - 11 x 17"

"Party ! Hats" was a better photograph than painting, but I was enamored with the organic nature of the elastic strings. Yep: that's using maskoid, and I'm not a big fan of it. In this particular case I think it was crying out to be used. Fun and done.
Party ! Hats - 10 x 10"

I can't 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Four Tube Painting

"Paris Toit"
11.5 x 15.5", watercolor

I do quite a few paintings that use intense colors, so on this image I purposely wanted to limit myself to a minimal array of paints while keeping my tones subdued. I used Yellow Ochre, a tiny bit of Cinereous blue (which I love), Neutral Tint, and Raw Sepia- all Sennelier watercolors. This smaller range of choices made my approach so much easier, and this one materialized really quickly. 
I think this is one of Paul's favorites.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Painting What You Love

For the past 50+ years I've been going to summer camp, and still feel like a kid when I'm there. I'm lucky: 3 generations of the Wallace family have been going to the Lair of the Bear in Pinecrest, CA since my brother, sister and I were little kids. It's dusty, dirty, rustic, the food isn't that good, and the facilities marginal. I love every minute of it.
This past summer Paul and I got up at 6 a.m. each morning and hiked the 5 mile loop around Pinecrest lake. There's no one on the trail, and our only company are the Osprey searching for trout below.
Even though I spend only one week in Pinecrest a year, I find that I do a lot of paintings of this area. It gives me peace when I'm there, and again when I paint it. I always try to encourage people to paint what they love, what interests them, what makes them happy. I think it makes for better paintings.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

It Doesn't Always Go Well

This one was a true struggle. I started out really excited to work on a painting of a merry-go-round in Tilden Park, up in the Berkeley hills. It was so much fun to throw a lot of color at the initial pass:

I wanted to contrast the warm tones on the horses with the cool violets up in the ceiling of the carousel. I also wanted to have an area that was complex and detailed against a more abstract area. One problem: it looked really bad. No definition, unfinished. Just plain lousy looking.

But, after all these years of painting, I know not to give up. I washed off the entire top half of the painting and tried again. And again. This just wasn't meant to be, so I cropped the thing down a bit. Then a bit more. What started as a 19" x 26" painting is now about 8" x 8".  It's frustrating when a painting doesn't move forward easily but I've grown to know that I learn the most when I get these challenges. So I'm a little less tough on myself, I resist the urge to trash the thing, and I gut through it. I may not end up with a great painting, but that's okay. Next.