Thursday, February 26, 2015

Irish Linen

Irish Linen
40" x 60"
Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas

A few years ago I was driving down from Virginia to Carolina Horse Park. I don't remember which event it was, but it was in the spring. The weather was that particular spring mix of rainy, partially cloudy, gusty, and gloriously bright blue skies with billowy clouds. It was all that spring can be on the drive down.

I drove down primarily on two lane roads and through dozens of small towns. The farm land was starting to reveal summer's promise. The further south I was the more vibrant and alive with color the land became.

Finally I was almost there and the last hour or so of my drive made the whole trip worth it. Horse farms where everywhere. From acres and acres with large barns and fancy arenas filled with jumps to small places with a run in shed and two horses and a pony in the front yard. The grass was verdant and against fences and next to the houses the azaleas where in full bloom. Pinks, whites, and purples clustered together, and it didn't stop there.

The dogwoods in every variety and colour and size where out doing themselves. Vying as it were, for your attention with spring flowers in yellow and blue and red. It was amazing.

However the true star of this was the wisteria. That creeping, woody vine that you either love or hate. It can be impossible to cultivate in your garden or take hold and take over. This day it was climbing up telephone poles and clothing hillsides in violet. The hues were muted by veils of cloud and rain and then would be sharply revealed in shafts of clear sunlight.The racemes of purple appeared to be almost two feet long. It was stunning. It was romantic. It was a bit of the old south revealed it her fecund splendor.

My memories of that trip are all in greens, lavenders, and creams. So when this canvas started to take shape it transported me back to that spring day. I hope it transports you too.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Day One to Twenty Three; A Brief Look at the Process

The initial drawing in charcoal is always so exciting. It is like the morning, fresh and full of possibilities.

Next I commit to the lines with paint. With this paticular painting I use acrylic Van Dyke Brown mixed with a little Phthalo Blue.

The painting process begins. At first it goes quickly.

A point is reached where every mark no matter how small, every colour no matter how subtle affects the painting. This is where the conversation between painting and painter begins.

Finally, there is nothing left to be said, at least for the moment.

This painting, "Irish Linen" is off to the photographers.

Before Day One

Before I started Day One there was the unglamorous work of creating the support.

I assembled the stretcher bars and cut the canvas.

Then I stretched the canvas and stapled it to the frame.

At this point I gessoed it, waited for it to dry and sanded the surface. I do this three time.

Then I started applying thin washes of acrylic colour. I do several times until I achieve a surface that I am ready to paint on.

This all happens before Day One.