Friday, July 4, 2014

Back to the Old Easel

It's been almost two years since I posted to this blog, and very nearly as long since I've done any art. I was sidetracked by unfortunate family matters, but I think (I hope!) I'm ready to have art return to my life.

I'm about to start painting a scene from the 2011 Old Skool Picnic at Lakewood Park, using a photo I took as the source of inspiration. I laid out the sketch on the canvas a few days ago.

It's a small canvas, only 6 x 12 inches. A nice size for shaking off the rust from my brushes.

The challenge inherent in this painting is the dominance of shadow. As you'll see in upcoming posts, the figures inside the pavilion are in deep, cool shadow, while the distant background is brightly lit. I've always had trouble painting shadows, so I'm a little intimidated by this project.

I got all in a tizzy yesterday because my iPhone wallpaper, a painting by Alberto Pasini, clashes with the design of iOS 7. Aesthetically, the two things have no common ground. Then I realized that I was looking at the painting with fresh eyes, forced to think about why I like his paintings so much. Mostly, it's the brightness of the colors, the scumbling of the paint, and the way he depicts bright sun without washing out colors and forms.

Alberto Pasini, Yeni Valide Mosque at Eminonu, Istanbul, 1872.
Collection of Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has a terrible, overexposed photo
of this painting on their website, and no longer has the painting on view in the galleries.
Glad I took this image with my iPhone years ago!

By happy coincidence, Pasini's paintings which contrast deep shadows with brightly lit backgrounds are exactly what I needed to look at before going any further with my painting of the pavilion at Lakewood Park. I never would have thought to look at them if I hadn't been so cranky about the design of the iOS 7 user interface. Another example of how, sometimes, adversity can be a good thing.

Alberto Pasini, La Mosquée Moristan au Caire.
From Wikimedia Commons (which doesn't cite the owner of the painting)

Alberto Pasini, Mohohoudie Mosque.
From Mattia Melzi Fine Art website.

Alberto Pasini, Halte A La Mosque.

Enough procrastinating, time to paint!

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