Saturday, February 5, 2011

Summer in Winter

I'm in my winter rebellion mode, defiantly painting summer landscapes from some old photos I'd taken of the landscape surrounding my studio in Portland, Maine. My studio sits in the middle of an industrial park, Thompson's Point, that's seen better days. I suppose that's the only reason I can afford the rent there. But strangely enough it also abuts the marshy estuary of the Fore River, one of the loveliest views you could ask for.

Summer Birch
Branch Over the Fore River

Branch Over the River

     I've finished 3 paintings so far, (or I think I have, never quite know about that!) and I'm presently working on the fourth. And as it is my habit to take photos of my progress, I thought it might be fun to post some of them with a few descriptions of what I'm thinking about as this latest painting develops. So here are the three completed paintings (above), and (below) a few images of my current painting which I will continue to update as I go along.

Tree in the Marsh, day 1
First thing I did was block in the basic forms, paying attention to the dynamics of the composition and the overall design. In this beginning stage I have lots of freedom to move things around. The paint is thin, and I can use my turpentine like an eraser.

Tree in the Marsh, day 2
   Although I'm adding layers, the paint's still pretty thin so I can still readjust easily, rubbing out, redrawing and moving forms around. I've modified the shape of the center tree, wanting to describe better how it relates to the background foliage. I've also added more detail as well.

Tree in the Marsh, day 3
I've moved down to the lower half of the painting, paying more attention to developing the water, the reflections, and how the marsh grass grows and meets the water.

Tree in the Marsh, day 4 
Working all around the painting, I've refined more of the forms, doing more drawing and adding more details to the color and shapes of the backgound trees, the marsh grasses, and of course, that center tree.

Tree in the Marsh, day 5
Now that I've established most of the larger relationships...background to foreground, trees to marsh and marsh to water and reflections...I can concentrate more on that center tree. I've begun to investigate how I can use the gesture of its branches and those leafy, billowing forms to express its volume.