Monday, April 25, 2011

The Title Dilemma

Untitled, 16x20, acrylic on linen, copyright Jan Blencowe 2011

I haven't painted in almost a month and that is going to change! I have had to extricate myself from too many responsibilities which were taking all my time and getting me no where. It was painful to do but pushing back and peeling away a negative situation has freed me to get back to my true purpose and passion: painting!

I started this as a demo for a workshop I taught on Saturday. Here are a few progress photos to show you how this evolved...

 This is the second stage of the under painting. First, I sketched in the major shapes loosely in paint, then established areas of value using transparent red oxide. Next, I beefed up the darks by adding ultra marine blue.

I often really like the painting at this stage and am tempted to just leave it as is! In this particular piece the right hand side of the painting is working very nicely, while the left hand side needs work and will undergo the biggest transformation during the painting process.

So, what's wrong with this picture? Well for one thing the line of trees on the left is a very straight, fast, downward sloping diagonal.Second, all the trees are at the same point in space creating a wall, or fence of trees.Third, the 2 smaller trees towards the center of the painting are too much alike in shape and size.

None of these things is a major problem since the larger shapes and pattern of dark and light in the composition works well. I pulled the one group of trees forward by creating tree trunks that come down further in the picture and extended their height. The original tree in the photo was a scrubby pine and that wasn't working so I changed it into a young deciduous type tree. Early on I told my students that I wasn't sure if the pine would remain a pine in the final version because I already had a bad feeling about it working in the composition. The other little pine directly in front of the smaller tree in the center which seemed important in the beginning turned out to be a distraction and got absorbed into the tree behind it. And the 2 smaller trees further back got re-sculpted into two different sizes.

I'm trying to give my paintings better titles. Titles that hint at the meaning of the painting rather than just describing the time of day or season, or the geographic place the painting is based on. Poetic landscape deserve poetic titles, don't you think? That being the case, it takes me longer to find the right title so this one will have to remain untitled for now. 

With the month of May almost upon us, the juried show season has begun with a roar! I've written many times about the pros and cons of juried shows so I won't belabor the point. I'm entering two this week, I'll let you know how I did.when I have news in a few weeks. 

Meanwhile, I'm looking for the inspiration for a new painting!

1 comment:

Joan Cole said...

Thanks for another great post, Jan. I'm sorry I missed your workshop; I always learn so much from you. I really appreciate your sharing your thought process on this piece. It gives me courage to get out my unfinished acrylic attempts & get busy.