Studio Notes – the landscape evolves

As a sort of journalistic experiment, I’m going to follow the development of my recently started Paysage planétaire painting through several blog posts.  This should be interesting, and maybe disastrous, since I don’t know how the painting is going to turn out. For me, creating is perhaps like giving birth to something — that something has a unique and independent existence.  (Or, to put a humorous spin on it, sometimes I feel like Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein — “It’s alive!”) Yes, I have a lot do with how it turns out, but ultimately the work takes on a life of its own.  If things go well, it’s almost as if the painting paints itself. So far, I think it’s going well.

So recall where I left it the other day:

"Paysage planétaire" in progress, oil on canvas, 24x24"
Paysage planétaire in progress, oil on canvas, 24×24″

Essentially this what is classically referred to as the “cartoon” – just the outline.  I also added a little texture and shading in blacks, whites and grays.  Today I started filling in the underpainting:

Paysage in progress, shot #1
Paysage in progress, shot #1

First blue sky. Then I started adding some greens:

Paysage progress shot #2
Paysage progress shot #2
Paysage progress shot #3
Paysage progress shot #3

Essentially I’m taking a layered approach, or a semi-layered approach.  I could have done it all alla prima, wet-on-wet, in one big session.  My plan is to finish the underpainting in this fashion, and then do a big alla prima overpainting to finish it off.  That will either complete the piece — or ruin it.

Here’s where I’ve left it tonight:

Paysage planétaire in progress (as of 1/6/2015), oil on canvas, 24x24".
Paysage planétaire in progress (as of 1/6/2015), oil on canvas, 24×24″.

The underpainting is not quite done. I’ll finish that up soon. And I’m going to find the reference to “paysage planétaire” and report back here.

Oh, in case you’re wondering the reference for this piece is a photograph I took in the Adirondacks (upstate New York) a few summers ago.  I’m not going to show that photo here since it is only a point of reference, an inspiration for the work, and not the work itself.  I don’t want to invite comparisons between this inspiration and the painting, which is definitely it’s own thing.  I’m not a fan of the concept of “representation” in art (at least as I currently understand it). But I’ll save that topic for another day.

Featured painting of the week – “Magnolia”

I’m featuring a different painting each week.  To start this series off, I present to you Magnolia, an oil painting I created in May 2014.  This painting was inspired by photos I took of some lovely Magnolia trees in a city park in Manhattan. The color palette is very simple: white, black, green, pink and blue. The painting is 12 inches square and the composition is very much about the square (the square being a favorite motif of mine over the past several years).

Magnolia, oil on canvas, 12x12", 2014
Magnolia, oil on canvas, 12×12″, 2014

This painting is for sale and is listed on my Etsy Shop! Check it out there!

Studio Notes – New landscape started

I spent some time in the studio this afternoon, stretching canvas and beginning a new painting in my “paysages planétaires” series.  A big inspiration for this series is the work of Swiss symbolist and proto-expressionist (my designation) Ferdinand Hodler.  (Occasionally I reblog Hodler images on my tumblr.) I believe I came across the term “paysage planétaire” in some essays about his work.  Alas, I can’t find the reference now.

Maybe it came to me in a dream.

In any case, this one is started.  Each painting is an experiment. Who knows how it will turn out!

"Paysage planétaire" in progress, oil on canvas, 24x24"
“Paysage planétaire” in progress, oil on canvas, 24×24″