Tuesday, April 13, 2010

From the Literal to the Expressive

April Mosaic
copyright 2010 Jan Blencowe

April is such a glorious month (when the sun is out!), these are some of the beautiful things that are blooming in my yard right now.

April (National Poetry month) always brings to mind the prologue from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. If you can get into the spirit of the Middle English it's quite beautiful....

Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour,
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his half cours y-ronne
And smale foweles maken melodye,

It goes on a bit more but if the Middle Englilsh is too much for you, you can check out the original and a modern "translation" for comparison.

In the Studio
Meanwhile on the art front I am happy to report that I have started two new landscapes, 24x30, simultaneously. This is something new and different for me. I usually stick to working on one thing at a time (something about keeping my sanity) but I decided to choose some subjects and then get the underpaintings done and then work back and forth on each of the paintings, perhaps in the same session or perhaps alternating days.

I'm doing this because I'm interested to see if I can create a real relationship between different pieces, in other words, if I can transfer mood, technique, etc between pieces and thereby create a tighter series of works.

The first piece will be based on this photo...

It's rather bleak but I intend to add quite a bit of drama and light to the sky. What I liked about this photo was the progression of the trees on the right and the undulating water lines on the left.

However, after having a viewer's eye travel all that way into the painitng there had better be something satisfying back there to reward their efforts. Which is one of the reasons I'll be adding light and drama to the sky.

The second piece will be based on this photo, taken on the same day at the same location...

I haven't gotten to finish the underpainting for this one yet I got hung up getting down initial drawing and textures for the rocks, then I laid in the sky, but without any water or sand it's looking very odd right now.

As soon as I have some decent progress I'll have a video update on both of the new paintings.

It's been an interesting transition for me going from a plein air painter to one who works both outdoors and also in the studio. I'm learning a lot about creating and choosing references and departing from a literal copying, both from the actual subject outdoors and the photo references indoors. That departure from the literal to the expressive, emotional, poetic painting process has been a very exciting journey for me over the past year. I think I'm finally getting the hang of it!

Finally, I wanted to pass this link on to all my artist friends, it's a compilation of recent Top Art Marketing Articles from Around the Internet, brought to us by the folks over at Fine Art Studio OnLine It's quite comprehensive so I suggest brewing a pot of tea and setting out a plate of cookies for yourself before you begin reading.

1 comment:

AutumnLeaves said...

I am intrigued by your thoughts on working on the two paintings simultaneously. I think your reasoning is spot on and am pretty sure you'll gain what you seek in the process. I love both photos but the second really is intriguing. 'Course, without clicking on it and seeing it in better light than I have here, all I can see is a thick juicy steak with that slab of rock on the right...