Sunday, April 26, 2009


Inspired by the bold colors of Mike Dutton and Bill Cone, I decided a little exercise was in order.

Lunch time behind Costco in Novato 6x8 oil on cheap ass cardboard

There are a number of things that have been bothering me about my paintings lately, and I wanted to address them with this sketch. I've noticed on several paintings, that my colors are looking muddy and also my brush work seems to be lacking finesse, and lastly, back to color, I feel I've been approaching color too literally. So with this sketch, done quickly during lunch, I tried to really concentrate on these issues (with the exception of brushwork, which I chose to make a non-issue altogether by focusing on color as very basic SHAPES). For starters, I did this painting on cheap ass card board, which due to it's unfinished surface, really sucks the moisture/medium out of your paints. This forced me to do a couple of key things when mixing and applying color. You can't be lazy (which I've found myself getting lately) or stingy with your paint. You have to really mix a big pile of color, and lay it on thick or else you can' get any color down at all. Doing this, makes you more aware of the color you're mixing, not just idly adding dabs here and there, you have to be decisive, which can lead to boldness! So active thought in color mixing and application was one thing I tried to work on. I continually had to fight the urge to dabble, instead mixing a pile of color for EACH color note. Color choice was the other thing I tried to play with, I like the expressive use of color used by the Impressionists as well as the Tonalists, and I'm trying to keep in mind how they implemented color by pushing and exaggerating (even substituting) various colors for effect and mood. The painting above is godawful, but I really feel like it was a valuable lesson for me in concentration and being truly conscious. Which of course brings up all other kinds of debates about intuition and going with the flow or being in the zone. I've never claimed to have any answers.

This next painting, done the same day, basically chucks away everything I tried in the previous painting : ) It was the end of the day, and I was getting shut down again trying to find a nice spot to paint in Marin (how can you NOT find something in China Camp? Sheesh!) When Mike texted me that he wanted to paint in Berkeley. How could I resist? I was saved! Well it was blowing a gale out at the Albany bulb, so we decided on an old stand by, the cement plant on 2nd and Cedar. The light was perfect when we rolled up, which of course meant that it would be gone in about 15-20 minutes, which it was. We finally had to call it quits when the industrial sodium street lights kicked on. But, the lights also came on at the cement factory, and that will make a really cool nocturne! Another time...

Berkeley Cement Plant 6x8 O/P


enb said...

I really like where youre going with these.

Jack said...

Great that u come across those problems and gave us this wonderful picture..really nice one..

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