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Showing posts from February, 2015

Capturing the Feeling of the Beach

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I've been fortunate this winter and have gotten a lot of tropical sunshine.  The light, colour, and warmth continue to inspire me in my snow-covered studio at home.

I've been painting a lot of little 8 x 10's and enjoying the size.  It's just enough to capture a moment and it forces me to be economical in my detail.  "Striped Sundress" was a particular challenge because the dress kept pulling me into more fussy detail.  With the usual overkill of modern digital, my camera captured every wrinkle of the billowing dress.  It took a few attempts with big brushes to make my painting into something that corresponded to what the human eye can see.  We don't see every wrinkle: we see motion, light, shadow and large areas of colour.

When I saw the woman and her child on the beach, the reason I photographed them was that she looked like a billowing sail, filled with light and air as she made her way across the sand.  I wanted my painting to convey that feeling.

Gesso vs oil priming

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My favourite surface is stretched, oil primed linen, but, it's a tricky surface to ship.  Where I live, it's so dry that you could mummify a body just by wrapping it up and putting it outdoors.  There's absolutely no humidity in the air.  That's the environment in which I stretch my linen.  The galleries that show my work are, for the most part, in more humid climates (less humid isn't possible) which means that some of my work gets loose on the stretchers after hanging for a while.  I had to restretch a few the last time I was in Rendezvous Gallery in Vancouver.  The solution is, of course, to find a different support.  
Commercial canvases don't seem as affected by changes in climate, so I'm giving them a try.  The painting above was done on acrylic-primed canvas and I'm ambivalent about the result.  I like the painting, but I miss some of the marks that I can get only on oil priming.  Acrylic priming gives a softer, melting look to the marks; they d…