Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Not So Sure

Last week I thought this painting to be finished. I was so sure about it that I could taste it, but the next morning after I claimed it "finished" I realized it was far from it. As I have said before, and as I'm told, green could be a very difficult color to deal with. I've never been an expert in that color, or in landscapes, but I've managed well; that is up until now. As I see it, this painting is starting to look like a ambitious amateur try.
I found myself desperate to find the solution to my problem, and where else would I look for the answer? None other than the Met Museum. I went to take some notes on Corot, Rousseau, Denis, and other landscape painters in the 19th century European galleries. I've never taken so much time to study the many little landscapes found there. Most of the ones I found most beautiful were small studies. Greens in almost all the paintings were muted, grey, shades of olive, ochre, brown, and deep blue green. There wasn't much detail, just shapes blocked in by a general color which gives the illusion of trees in the distance. Corot was the most spectacular of all. His palette was very dark, no bright greens were to be found in most of the paintings on display. He had a hazy touch, trees seemed to disappear into air. What is the secret I keep asking myself? I sketched and took notes hoping that it will all come together in my painting.
I walked around some more, took notes and made my way to the Hudson River School section. I was on a mission to see Innes. Just like Corot, his landscapes are hazy masses of beautiful colors. The paintings are like whispers in the air, and one is not sure if the scene presented is a dream, or part of past memories. Nothing is clear, but the light, air and warmth are all there making it too real. What can I do to achieve this kind of experience with my landscapes? I left the museum inspired and with more knowledge. I thought of painting scenes from my imagination or memory, maybe this way I might be more successful at achieving the look of an eternal ideal moment. On the train ride home I started sketching a landscape on my sketchbook, somewhat of a test to see if I can create my own world.

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