Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Second Stage

Work continues fast and steady on this landscape. On the second night of work I had covered most of the canvas, blocking in general shapes and tones. Although my speedy progress looks promising I'm still afraid that I might make the same mistakes I made on the first try. Things can't be as tight or forced as before, I have to keep reminding myself to keep the paint loose. Easier said than done!
I admire the Barbizon school of landscape painters, I love the poetic and wispy movement of their brush. Those guys were loose, they had a tremendous amount of courage and confidence when translating the French country side into an ideal pastoral scene on canvas. How did they do it? My biggest problem is I think too much and don't do enough. I need to enjoy the process and have fun with it, in the end that's why I'm a painter. Not because I hate it, but because of the pure joy I feel when pushing paint around on canvas. To aid me on the search for the ideal landscape I have been looking at Courbet and Inness closely.
After looking at paintings online and in books I realized that these guys were not trying to paint every tree leaf; with paint they were laying down general gestures, ideas of the dense foliage of trees. Innes was more atmospheric than Courbet, who was all about texture and layers. Taking some hints I began painting with a palette knife, something I haven't done since my abstract days in 2003 and 2004. I have to admit, it was fun and scary at the same time. On the first few tries I was having problems with the palette knife, paint would smear in strange ways, sometimes in random jagged forms and sometimes in straight hard lines. I wasn't going to give up, and so I knifed my way through the night adding layer upon layer.
I got the texture I wanted, the trees look like they are moving about as they get lit by the sun, but all the sharp edges are starting to worry me. Thanks to the Italian wax medium I'm using; based of lead, linseed oil, and beeswax, the drying time of these layers will be faster, allowing me to glaze over them and knock them down sooner than expected. More to come...happy painting!

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