I love the spontaneity of certain paintings, but some times an error occurs and you have to go back and fix something. A lot of times my paintings come easily for me and I don't sweat them too much, but once in a while I have to put my proverbial blood, sweat and tears into a work.
I recently painted a painting of my dad sitting outside and I loved the overall light and feeling I was able to capture. The painting took a little over an hour and I photographed it and called it finished. A lot of the painting is impressionistic and even my dad's face looks unfinished, but the thing is that that was on purpose and not in error. But I later realized that I forgot to put in the upper portion of the chair behind my dad on the left side of the painting (as indicated in the image below with the red arrow). I want my paintings to be intentional and in control even if they appear less finished.
I'm a purest when it comes to painting alla prima and I believe in capturing the transient moment and then called it finished in order to leave the spontaneity and not overwork it. The problem was that I was losing sleep about that missing chair part. My style is fairly impressionistic so a lot of people probably wouldn't notice, but I noticed and it was bothering me. I knew it was an error.
So what I did was I set up the chair back outside under roughly the same lighting conditions and I fixed it. It only took a few minutes and now I finally feel the sense of relief that I get when I do something right. It's a hard thing to judge, but I knew I had to fix it in my gut and I always trust what my gut tells me.
The beginning of summer so far has been very productive for me. I'm really enjoying the weather and being able to paint outside. I'm also really finding my own voice as an artist. I'm fondly remembering my trip to Spain last summer and I want to channel that energy into my new paintings.
My family's renting a beach house during July and I plan to do a lot of beach paintings while I'm there!
I've been painting a lot from life and every time I do, I realize how important it is to do so. I had a correspondence some time ago with the portrait painter, Everett Raymond Kinstler, and he urged me to always paint from life (ERK is a wonderful man and I'm truly appreciative all of his kind words and encouragement). At the time, I had been working from photos for commissions and my work was lacking a lot of vitality, it felt wooden and stiff. There's a magic quality to work that's done from life and I'll only be working from life from here on out.
To give a quick update about Novus Atelier, I'm very excited to begin classes on June 24th. I'm currently gathering supplies for still life paintings, easels and getting some work ready to bring over to the space. I'm also very proud to say that our atelier is going to be a community partner with Patch.com (a community news site). It's very cool to see my hard work paying off.
Stay tuned for more art and more updates!
I finished up this memorial portrait and I'm very excited to give it to my patron. The portrait progressed very smoothly and I really enjoyed working on it. I really tried my best to capture a feeling of life and spirit in this piece.
As a side note on technique, I had some thoughts about oiling out, which is the application of a thin layer of oil before you begin to paint to bring out sunken colors. I recently read that oiling out could provide some problems for the longevity of your painting; the problems could arise from the fact that oil yellows with age and there's no way of removing old oil, unlike an old varnish. I'm always concerned about the longevity of my paintings and thus, I will not be oiling out in the future. I used to think it was necessary in order to ease my paint strokes, but that isn't true anyway. Painting is an endless mystery.
Have a nice evening everyone--