Monday, June 25, 2012

No. 3 in the Limited Palette Challenge

Are people who do not paint aware of what goes through an artist's mind before and during a painting session?  I wonder if when I am dead and gone if people will look at the 5 paintings I have executed in this challenge and wonder what on earth I was up to. These 5 pieces will be part of the greater sized Wind Canyon Series, but have their own identity, as the colors used are not the intuitive choices I normally make.  It’s getting hard to stick with just these three colors and black and white to do a painting. The greenery here in New Mexico is not that docile shade of green you can make with blue, yellow and black…….it needs some earth tones in it. And alizarin crimson is NOT an earth color. I have never seen a green in nature that did not have a bit of  real clear red in its makeup, and these greens are decidedly cooler.

For those of you who are not artists, these colors are probably not easy to identify, so I am including swatches I took from the Gamblin paint site, because theirs is the paint I have used for this challenge.

Alizarin Crimson
Cad Yellow Lt
Ivory Black

Looking at these colors, it is not hard to see the limitations of this challenge. That is especially true for artists schooled in really traditional colors, who use some if not many earth tones.

But I have vowed to complete the series and here is number 3 in the 5 painting challenge. Only two more to go.  This is also √Čtude #5 in my Wind Canyon series. Fried Egg Trail is what I call this piece. And like the others before it, it is oil on prepared wood board.

Fried Egg Trail - √Čtude #5
11x14 Oil on Board -  Available   
Gosh, the light was gorgeous as it broke over the far hill so very early this morning. It just hit the yucca and lit them up like candles. The breaking sun skipped along the tops of the fried eggs and made the flowers literally glow, all down through Wind Canyon Drive. Richard Robinsons' rich, deep, voice resonated in my mind, and I could fairly hear him say "And God said "PAINT THIS"".
The profusion of purple flowers have gone, but the white ones remain, pretty but poisonous. Even the cattle leave them alone, so they grow everywhere. I wonder if there is something with the white thing going on here. Datura are poisonous too, and they are pristine in their whiteness and found in abundance on the side of the road as well. 
I was tempted to just sit and drink my coffee and absorb the beauty. That early hour has a magic to it no matter where you are – it’s the time when the world is still and barely stirring, slowly shaking off the cobwebs of night and sleep. But I am determined to finish this challenge, so I needed to paint. I have never done a challenge before, and this is fun  -   sometimes. Other times it is frustrating as all get out.
I think this palette is too ‘precious’ for the terrain here. Maybe I just need to finish the challenge, do what I can with them, and reserve final judgement. 

Doing a series near your home, is a great way to connect to the land and to feel with your eyes, the place in which you live. I cannot recommend it enough. I am really glad to have started this Wind Canyon series. It is making me appreciate the subtle changes in the land as seasons ebb and flow, and has made me more responsive to new places to paint. 

I had a quail for company this morning. He got within 10 feet of me, so I slowly reached for my camera. I wanted a picture of him, with his pretty plumage and cranberry color about his head and throat area. This was the closest I had ever been to one. But my movement spooked him, and off he flew in a flurry of wings and air. He scolded me loudly for having had the audacity of parking so close to his home. These birds may be little, but they are opinionated. I'll try and avoid his nest for number 4 of the challenge. But I will have my camera at the ready, regardless.

Art quote:

After being observed painting a one color glaze over a finished painting and being questioned about it.
“you go back to your art school and tell them that I would smear mud on my canvas if it got me what I want.”          (George Inness)

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