Inspired by the paintings of William Wendt, I decided to go a little bigger outside and tackle the painting with more of a broad brush approach than my usual medium brush approach. This is a 30 x 30 on a cradled wood panel (box) gessoed a couple of times and lightly sanded. It was a two tripper, about 7 hours of total work, maybe 8. And may I say that here in Florida it’s steamy hot even at 8 in the morning? Developing a painting on this scale is tough, if things go south they fail on a much bigger scale which means more time is wasted than in a smaller effort, so a little more thought has to go into the approach. I didn’t do any preliminary sketches but used my handy cropping tools (fingers) to arrive at the main idea of this piece, which was the sweeping curve of the shore going up to the main event of the lighted bushes and the rhythm of the upright trees. The mapping in of the main shapes was the key to establishing the compositional patterns, it’s a bit like taking an old fashioned camera and throwing it out of focus, slowly dialing in to a sharper view. With this approach sometimes things end up in the wrong place creating a improper rhythms that require wiping out and reworking. Moving in a thoughtful way, using light washes first to feel out the balance of the main shapes works best for me.
I painted with 3 friends from the studio; Don, Tim, and Lynn. We all stayed in a group so that we could move back and forth within our circle of wagons to see who was doing what and maybe borrow from one another. Lynn and I talked about color theory a bit and I had suggested that she try just working in the primaries instead of using all the tube colors to mix the multitudes of green that we are faced with. She asked why and I said, well, whatever color you mix is going to have some variation of the three components in it (and white as needed)… want gray? it’s a little blue, red and yellow and white. Want green it’s a lot of yellow, some blue and a little red, maybe some white. Want to make brown? and who doesn’t? It’s a lot of yellow, a lot of red and a little blue. But usually one color dominates. She said, you mean like two against one? And I said, yeah, like two against one. It was a good way to look at it.
(I just reposted the image after comparing it to the original, there was a bit more contrast and depth in the foreground.)