Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Here's about two hours' worth of painting since the last post. I fussed some with the tree on the right (I feel better about how it looks now, but I might fuss with it more before I'm done) and started fussing with the people. At this stage, they remind me a little of Maurice Prendergast (see examples here and here) in that they are undefined blobs of color.

With a few exceptions, the colors of the clothing are going to change dramatically. The first layer is mostly about defining form and trying to capture the subtle hints of color that the average person never thinks about. For example, the woman seated on the left edge of the canvas is wearing a white shirt, with hints of green in its shadows. So, for the moment, her shirt is green, and I will build up the brilliant whites as I go along.

I should mention that the canvas is 20 x 30 inches; the pencil grid is comprised of one-inch squares.

At this stage, I have two choices: continue to work on the left-hand section, or finish putting the initial layer of color on the rest of the figures. My inclination is to focus on the left-hand group, but by the time I get time to paint again, I could very well feel differently about it. (That's what happens when you spend days or weeks thinking about your next actions!)

One decision that I made several weeks ago: the trash barrel in the middle foreground is going away! Now that I mention that, I wonder if the empty bench should disappear too. Hmm.... no, that stays. I like it. It balances the clock and connects to the guy standing next to it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Better Trees

I was ready to tackle the trees again last weekend, but I was too wiped out from being sick all week. I didn't have any free time during the past week, so painting didn't happen again until yesterday.

I'm very pleased with the work I did yesterday. The tree on the left is perfection! The tree on the right needs a little more work, but overall the trees are coming along very well. Much better than they were before. The trickiness of trees is the leaves--I can't paint every leaf, I can't capture every subtle nuance of all those leaves, so instead I have to generalize and create something that looks convincingly like a tree (or like several different types of trees), even if it doesn't necessarily look just like the real thing. I now have a better appreciation for the fluffy trees of the Rococo.

The next step: fuss only a little more with the trees, then move on to the people and ground, starting on the left.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Greenery, Round One

Yesterday I tackled the trees. Six hours of painting, with a break in the middle to get a pot of chili started. I don't seem to ever be able to paint for more than six hours at a time.

I don't know how well the colors come across on your screen, but in real life the greens have too much yellow and brown. Or maybe too many yellows. There's a chaos to the greens of the trees right now. It could take me a couple of days to decide what to do about it. I might stop by the Mattatuck to revisit their Inness painting, which is a beautiful medley of green. I want harmony, not discord.

Friday, January 2, 2009


I started 2009 by working more on the backgrounds. Added some white to the sky, added definition to the distant buildings, working right to left, and then laid down a little bit of color to the ground. I think the next step is to start working on the trees, which will end up covering a lot of what I've done so far.


I ended 2008 by starting the Clock on the Green painting. Backgrounds first: some blue for the sky, then the first layer of color for the buildings in the distance, working left to right.