Monday, November 30, 2015

Impressionist Color Study

    Studying color is, of course, much easier during mid rather than late autumn, and painting what you see can be a joy.  Here are two studies completed on two different days --one cloudy and one sunny.  My purpose here was to perceive and paint color as influenced by the ambient light key:

    Cloudy day near sundown, oil on bookbinder board, 11x15(appr)

   Near Sundown (sunny day), oil on bookbinder board, 9x15 (appr)

The paintings above were done at a local Audubon sanctuary in early November.  I was not disturbed by anyone walking the path and I was able to simplify the scene in order to observe color and temperature changes more closely.  The area itself was a lowland with not many trees in the marshy field.

   The following oil sketch, again essentially a color study, hangs now at Spring Bull Gallery in Newport as part of the Gallery's Little Picture Show:

   Beavertail Light, oil on Masonite, 8x10

   Beavertail is a painter's paradise, especially when the light is consistent, as it was on this November day.  Another subject which is always appealing, even when the colorful leaves are sparse, are the houses of Wickford.   Here are two basically color studies done within the last two weeks of November:

   The Red House, oil on wood, 11x14

  A Quiet Corner, oil on wood, 11x14

Both these houses encouraged bold paint handling, enabling me to push the chroma in impressionist fashion.  In this last painting forms seem on the verge of dissipating.  The stone bench and nearby path are near the corner of a small graveyard adjoining Narragansett Church.  It was this light of late afternoon that was the challenge to capture.

   Finally, last week I was curious to see where this paint handling would lead in portraiture.  I had the opportunity to find out at the senior portrait session given at the NK Senior Center:

   Naomi, oil on bookbinder board, 11x15

The sketch is a likeness of the model and reveals certain of her personality traits.  The spontaneity was aided by the fact that only two hours are allocated in these sessions to capture the likeness of the model.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Autumnal Beauty


  With my last class (under the sponsorship of the South County Art Association (SCAA)) I had briefly described to my students of Plein air some of the working methods of a few of the post-Monet impressionists.  These artists included Hawthorne, H.Hensche, and, more recently, Lois Griffel whose Provincetown workshop I was lucky enough to have attended some years ago. To properly convey their methods, of course, requires the discipline of "block studies" on different light keys.  Without the time available to practice this discipline, we could only stress the importance of identifying the light key, establishing the scene as spots of color, color masses of the right temperature -- I.e., at least attempting to establish the "first notes".  With second notes, " holding to the masses", use of palette knife was stressed.  I hoped to expose these students who were primarily trained in traditional painting approaches to the importance of color observation-- and, basically, that there is a lot more to color than identifying hue.

    Color is a driving force for me to paint, although most of my work would look out of place in the "Provincetown School".  I appreciate that it takes most of a lifetime -- or two!-- to begin seeing sensitively enough the color truths held by the first masses.  Here are some practice pieces I attempted to exercise the color sense in specific light keys:

    November (Wickford), oil on wood, 8x10

     Sheffield Cove (Jamestown), oil on wood, 9x12

   East Greenwich, oil on canvas panel, 11x14