I did some more work on this oil study on paper. I added some volume to the foliage and the trunk of the middle tree. I've added some brighter accents here and there. I'm satisfied enough now. Sometimes a break from a piece helps to make you see something with fresh eyes. In this case I just thought that the painting needed something more. The danger with this logic is that an artist can end up over working a painting.
Finished this oil study on paper today. I really enjoyed this piece. The trees look like they are floating and about to tip over slightly. The orange - red color of the trees help trigger the blues and greens in the painting and vice versa. The glow of the green in the foreground adds an element of variation in application and mark making. It also references the third tree and it's round shapes on the top section. The clouds I really like in this piece.
Tonight I started this oil study on paper. For this work I want the trees to float a bit and the green to have a glow. Also I want the third tree to look as if it's almost not a tree at all. I'm finding this color scheme to really get me going tonight. The blue is a Sapphire which I haven't used for ages. To trigger everything I will make the trees orange. See how it goes....
This is the finished oil study on paper. It was back to what I love to do and that is be adventurous with the subject. I love the surreal look of this piece and it's darkness. The trees have a lot of paint and I just kept adding paint with marks and dabs and strokes until I saw something that I was attracted to. It's a method of trying to capture and attitude or a particular suggestion of a look in a face or figure. The english painter, Frank Auerbach painted over and over a piece for sometimes weeks or eighty hours until he was happy with the look of a piece. He had the model sit the whole time too, and yet, the painting looked like it was done in five minutes on the surface. Under the surface, the layers of paint are staggering in thickness. But still all done for an attitude to the work.
In this next stage I'm working on the foreground. As I said and planned in the last post, I want the foreground to have an orange - red tinge. I'll give it a rest now and focus on the main three subjects. This will determine what other needs to be done to marry the whole image together and strengthen the colors in both the foreground and background. The challenge at this stage is to draw the tree subjects and give them an attitude. It's deciding how surreal or how much information I want to give to the look of the subject. It might be a suggestion of an eye here or a mouth there. Also I'll be considering the tones of the three trees. They are at different distances away from each other, so I visually will make the middle figure tree seem the furthest away. Should be cooler and more greyed in color. The closest subject should be warmer and more pure in color. See how it goes.....
Up early this Sunday morning. Worked on the next stage of this oil study on paper. I've made a start on the background adding a few colors all mixed with Raw Umber. Colors range from blues to green and muted reds to create an atmospheric negative space. In my paintings, the negative space or the background of a subject is as important as the subject. I like to make it alive so to speak. It's an energetic space that really has a presence in the whole scheme of the work. It's never a dead space for me. I see it as a space to be abstract or make marks in a more controlled manner if need be. Also some times the negative background needs to a trigger for aggressive brush strokes to set the tone of a painting. So in essence the backgrounds or foregrounds are fields to act on and are considered positive subjects just as important as the main hero of the work, in this case the trees. For me no space is ever a dead space.
For the foreground in this piece I'm considering an impure orange- red to balance the background. It seems arbitrary, but there is always a method to the madness. It's just a basic complementary color scheme that really is ingrained in all artists that understand the theory of color harmony. Is it a good thing ? I guess I can't unlearn what I know to be true to make an image work. It's not easy to become naive once you learn something. An untrained or inexperienced artist would probably put an other color scheme together and somehow make it work. But more often than not, not really know why it didn't work or why it did.
Last night I started this new small study in oil on paper. The idea is that I often see a tree and it reminds me of the human form or a face or just a section of a figure. It's not a new idea in the history of art or the way people see. But it is a springboard to invent a new composition for me. I have often returned to this kind of imagery many times over the years and I find it satisfying in terms of playing with a subject and inferring another at the same time. It may be a reference to Rene Margritte's painting "This is not a pipe". In that painting he tells us that the pipe is not a pipe, so we are left to imagine something more about it. Is it a portrait of a man ? And so on....
In my case, it's a tree and I have done the dreaming of staring at it and imagining it as something else for the viewer. It's like being in front of a magnificent tree and seeing a beautiful leg or face. Then I show you what I saw and tell you what it is. The process is a creation and it hasn't really happened. I haven't left the studio to prove it by taking a photograph. I just remember that it's something that has happened whilst seeing a tree. The rest is a surreal exaggeration to paint it and reference the concept. As I said its not a new idea, but I love it's simplicity.
In this painting study I have two heads on the ends and a figure in the middle. They are trees that look like something else....
Friday is my art day. It's my day to not do anything but art. Visit a gallery, do a workshop, tutor or print or paint. It's a day off my normal full time work, comes at a cost. But, as an artist I need to put my foot down and make time for art.
This oil study on paper is now finished. I'm pleased with it. Dark and strange with a surreal edge. Giorgio Morandi is on my mind at the moment - just a compositional thought.
Tonight I started this very strange oil study painting on paper. After seven small studies recently, the subject is becoming a strange still life. The trees are becoming objects on a table top surface. How far can I stretch the reality of a representation of a tree ? Can I make it a mask or a tea cup ? Can I make it a horse or a bird ? Yes I can. I can make it whatever I feel and want it to be. I tell you it is therefore it is. But it still needs to be a tree in essence.
This picture is a crossroad work. It reflects the last picture but also leads to a new idea. I know I'd like to make sculptures one day soon i hope and maybe this is what leads me to this image. We'll see....
I really like the darkness of this piece. So different to what I've done for a long long time. I do feel comfortable in this palette. It is becoming easier to navigate the brown whilst staring at my pallet as I progress. Might be time soonish to start a bigger piece on canvas or linen. No prep studies, just invent on the surface as I normally do. Treat it like a unprecious piece of paper.
Tonight I finished this oil painting study on paper. I think the quiet background brings the subject forward considerably. The eye focuses on the contours of the three trees constantly. The scene is set to consider the relationship between the subjects. The rest is where art is either interesting or just an abstract shape without further investigation or consideration from the viewer. For me it's a path where I lay the first stepping stones, and hope the viewer keeps walking and looking.
Artist living and working in Melbourne, Australia. Paintings, works on paper. Mostly creates monotypes and monoprints