A site dedicated to a continued effort to create and share my art. I create pen & ink drawings using mainly the stippling technique. I also paint in oils and am influenced by the California Impressionist school of painting.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I don't know why but I really have this thing for nocturnes...I love them. I tried doing one once but it was horrible. Night colors are so different to day colors and I just didn't get it. I loved seeing the works of Whistler and Grandville Redmond and lots of others. They have such an eerie feeling to them, and although I'm not an eerie kind of guy, I'm attracted to them all the same. At the house of a painter friend I saw some nocturnes he had done...really nice ones. Like most of the other nocturnes I had seen before I studied how he handled the scene. Always taking mental notes which is what I do constantly when looking at other artists work.
So....last night before going to bed I decided I might as well try one since I had 2 8"x10"'s gessoed up and ready to go. An 8x10 is not a huge canvas to lose if the painting goes sour...besides, I'm good enough now to recognize a bad piece as it progresses and can wipe that baby down in a heartbeat while the paint is still wet. Frugal...that's what my middle name should have been.
This scene I painted does not exists anywhere except in my head. I wanted sky, a distant mountain range, a big tree and some smaller ones behind it to create depth. There is a tree close to where I live on a slanted hilside that I took pics of the other day...again, and I just tried to visualize it when doing this one. I'm still not the expert at painting nocturnes but I figured the use of blues and greys would mute my colors enough to read as night colors. My tree here probably has too much color in it and in the future I'll try going darker there. The way different artists handle nocturnes is kind of strange...some paint them really dark which makes sense to me...it is night time, but others paint them really bright. Whistler handled them both ways so I'll try the same...the guy was pretty damned good at painting so I have no problem following his lead in variety rules.
I'd like to explain my color mixes better but honestly so much of it was done on the fly I really would have a hard time doing it. I used my usual dark mix for the tree and then added slightly more yellow and grey to make the tree highlights....well, mids because there is no highlights on the tree. The grasses were just using this mid color and maybe adding some barely brighter grey or greens to them in places. Seat of the pants type or work there. The trail started out as just a splash of yellow ochre dulled with dark grey as just a small foreground highlight but my mix was too bright and I used too large of a brush. The first thing that came to mind was it looked like a flat patch of dirt in the dark to me and then I thought "trail"....a dew additional strokes and trail is was. Hey, it's my imagination so I can do what I want there.
Anyway...here is my finished piece which now sits drying on a shelf and I'm pretty happy with it...turned out much better than I thought and most of it done Alla Prima last night. I did however mess with the foreground grasses some more this monring so I can't really call it an alla prima totally...but mostly.