Thursday, October 16, 2008

Texture-Texture-Texture in an Autumn Marsh Impressionist Landscape

Jan Blencowe

About This Painting:
Title: Looking Across the Marsh

Media: acrylic
Size: 30 in X 20 in (76.2 cm X 50.8 cm)

Price: $1200,unframed, shipping and insurance included in the USA
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Yesterday I went out to a new local park, Founders Memorial Park in Old Saybrook CT. This is a great painting spot as it is up high on an hill over looking North Cove and the marshlands that boarder the Connecticut River. This view from above is something I don't usually get so I'm very excited about this spectacular site. The palette knife work I've been doing in the Landscape Echoes Abstract Landscape series has spilled over into this large landscape and I'm very excited about exploring a combined palette knife and brush technique. What I've been looking for is a way to keep the soft, atmospheric quality in my landscapes while also creating really interesting surface texture. I have a personal benchmark for evaluating my work and that is the near and far rule. This is not a universal "rule" for all art or every artist but something I like to achieve in my own works. This near and far rule means that the painting must come together and work in terms of value, color and composition from a viewing distance of 10-12 feet for large works and 8-10 feet for smaller works, plus it also must work when viewed close up by giving the viewer something very interesting and exciting when viewing the painting from a mere 12 or so inches. The close up view would be evaluated differently depending on the intent of the painting. For example in a painting that attempts a highly realistic rendition of a still life, up close the drawing must be flawless, the modelling smooth, the edge treatment sophisticated. In an impressionist landscape the brushwork must be interesting and meaningful in the painting. For a long time now I've wanted to see much more surface texture in the up close view of my paintings, but how to achieve that without disrupting the hazy softness that creates the atmosphere and serenity in my landscapes was eluding me. This painting is my latest experiment that has brought me much closer to the answer. I started with the usual transparent red oxide under painting to establish values, then added color in my usual way with large soft brushes and a good deal of scrubbing and scumbling. Once the local color scheme was established I went back over the painting using a lot of paint, mixed with impasto gel and a palette knife for application. Then it was back and forth between layers of palette knife work, scumbled over with a dry brush technique to soften and create atmosphere. Working in acrylics allows me to go layer upon layer without much wait time in between. I'm pretty happy with the results and will continue to refine the technique. It takes a little longer to complete a painting this way and definitely uses more paint, but I believe the results will be worth it.

Here's a detail showing the kind of texture that I'm able to create, using impasto gel, palette knife and dry brush scumbling with a soft brush.


Sylvia Jenstad said...

Wow... had to stop... love your colours... really cool

Jan Blencowe said...

Thanks so much Sylvia!! Autumn is a great time for some really vibrant color combinations.