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Posts tagged ‘landscape’

I’m not painting today …

I thought I’d be much more productive … all that time at home … no place to go … nobody to visit … my home studio with all my art supplies available … but, I’m not painting today. In fact, in the last 6+ weeks, I’ve only done serious painting twice. All the rest of the time, it’s been dribs and drabs: a touch up here, another layer there, gessoing over disastrous paintings from before (before Covid 19).

Given my success at avoiding “serious” painting, I’m amazed at my three new paintings. One of them is one of those dribs and drabs I mentioned. Dawn was mostly painted at the Art Students League but needed a lot of fine-tuning (done at home, of course).

The second was a minor disaster painted at the League and gessoed over at home. I was trying a new technique intended to use up some of the gessoed canvases accummulated at home and, well, it needed some work. So two layers of gesso and many layers of brushed on acrylic using this new technique, and voila: Almost Clear.

Finally, the only painting completely done at home so far (I live in hope) was an experiment using some new colors. I’m not completely happy with it and don’t yet have a final name for it, but here it is.

When I look at Moon tomorrow I know there will be more to do to it, but right now I just know it’s missing something. Tomorrow it will be in the dribs and drabs category.

And hopefully tomorrow I’ll drum up the energy (inspiration/whatever) to start a completely new painting.

My new site is live

My new website (same URL: http://www.ruthhurd.com) is now live.  Halleluia!  You don’t want to know how long I’ve been working on it.

But I got serious about it last year when I screwed up an update to my old site. I found a friend, Jessica, who really helped me get the new site organized and on track and then a professional, Eric, put the Shop in place, etc.

It’s going to complicate my life in the future because the new site uses Wix but I am continuing my blog on WordPress.  I’ll have to learn (probably the hard way), how to create a blog post for a new painting and have it also appear on my wix site.

As my art making grows and develops, I’ll also have to figure out what that means for the structure of my site.

Anyway, for now it’s a big sigh of relief and a glass (or two) of wine to celebrate.

Hope you like the new site.  Let me know your reaction(s).

Moving beyond sunsets

Sunsets still fascinate me, especially the subtle or not so subtle gradations of color and their (often) reflection in the water. But I’m moving beyond sunsets to try using the same medium and techniques on abstracted landscapes at other times of the day and often without water. The colors are different but moving from one color to another, where to add a hard edge (or not), what to include (or not) continue to challenge me.

Gold

Gold      Acrylic on raw canvas      2018     20×16      $1000

I started painting this with the gold on the bottom. It was going to be called “Fields of Gold.” However, once I realized it worked much better with the gold on top, I decided to just call it Gold. I wanted to escape my typical colors and go with the complementary colors of yellow and purple. So what started as an exercise ended up as a real painting. Sometimes you have to abandon your own judgements and let the painting tell you what works.

 

Wind Swept

Wind Swept    Acrylic on raw canvas     2018     20×16     $1000

Remembering some of the vast landscapes I saw years ago in Iceland and a little over a year ago in New Zealand, I wanted to capture the wind sweeping over the plain. The details don’t matter. The feeling of it does.

 

Misty Landscape

Misty Landscape      Acrylic on raw canvas      2018     22×16      $1200

I wanted to do a landscape with mostly blues: ultramarine, cerulean and a little ultramarine violet. Better than gray.

 

Calm after the Storm

Calm after the Storm      Acrylic on raw canvas      2018      13x9x.5      $650

Painting on raw canvas really allows me to convey the atmosphere that can happen after a storm. You don’t have to worry about foreground, middle ground, background … it’s all misty. The colors blend into each other with just a hint of what’s there behind the veil.

It’s the mystery of it all that fascinates me.

 

 

Doin’ what I can

I don’t like making excuses (they’re usually so lame), but I had hernia surgery three weeks ago and I’m just not bouncing back the way I thought I would.  Okay, as someone pointed out to me recently, I’m no spring chicken, but I still thought I’d be way ahead of where I am today. I’m doin’ what I can, but it’s not what I expected.

I’ve mostly been staying home working in my studio (in between naps, snacks, etc.) and 2 hours here 2 hours there, stuff happens. But I’m constantly tired … even though I haven’t done much of anything.

But let’s talk about the stuff that does happen (2 hours here, 2 hours there). I have a couple of finished acrylic paintings on paper and a couple more in the works.

The paintings that are finished:

      My Sunset      10×14      $700

This is the kind of sunset I often see at night from my dining room table: pink orange and blue over the Palisades and the Hudson River with the little Spuyten Duyvil bridge making the connection between Manhattan and the Bronx. Almost no matter what the weather, it’s beautiful.

                                 Sundown     12×9     $600

I look at this and I think: it’s a little garish.  But then again, sometimes the sunsets ARE a little garish.  So rather than tone it down, I leave it very colorful the way it is (garish).

What can I say, it’s what I see.  I’m doin’ what I can.

 

 

 

Iceland continues to inspire

It’s been five years since I visited Iceland, but I keep creating paintings that are based on that trip.  With no conscious desire to do so and no matter what the medium, I nonetheless find paintings emerging from my Iceland memories.  Right after my 2012 trip, my paintings were all in watercolor;  now I’m painting with acrylic.  I remember thinking how beautiful but alien parts of the country were. Well, Iceland continues to inspire.

Two recent paintings, both acrylic on canvas created in my home studio, are perfect examples.

Lava Flow

          Lava Flow           10×8           Acrylic on canvas           $500

Lava Flow started as a painting about water.  But when I didn’t like it and took a pallette knife to it, Iceland emerged. I can’t explain it any better than that.

Fire and Ice

          Fire and Ice           10×8           Acrylic on canvas           $500

Fire and Ice took almost no time or conscious effort. I put the colors down, didn’t like the result and, as with Lava Flow, started fixing it with a pallette knife. Again, memories of Iceland surfaced.

When I first came back from Iceland and started painting, I remember thinking how my abstract paintings were really awfully representational (parts of Iceland were that strange).  These two aren’t representational, but they do really remind me strongly of Iceland.  I think Iceland will continue to inspire me for the rest of my life.

 

 

 

Evolution of a Painting

My latest painting based on a recent trip to New Zealand went through several iterations before I decided it was finished.  This is my description of how Into the Light went from there to here: the evolution of a painting.

First, I painted the basic shapes of the trees and forest land in very pale colors.  I then added masking fluid where I wanted the light to shine through in the final painting.

Into the Light, Stage 1

Into the Light, Stage 1

Then I added more color to everything.  The tree trunks are starting to look purple (brown is boring).

Into the Light, Stage 2

Into the Light, Stage 2

Again and again I added more color, and then more masking. The next step is to peel off the masking fluid using a “Lift-off Tool (a fancy name for a rubber eraser) to see what is left to do.

Into the Light, Stage 3

Into the Light, Stage 3

The remains of the masking now become a sculpture (using the term creatively).

Masking Fluid "sculpture"

Masking Fluid “sculpture”

Finally, I intensify some colors, in some cases painting into the areas previously covered by the masking.  The process is very similar to what I used to do with watercolor.  In fact, I have thinned the acrylic to the point where it functions like watercolor (although it’s permanent once it dries).

Into the Light

Into the Light        12×16         Acrylic      $850

NOTE: This final image looks very much like the final painting.  The previous images are “browned” because I used my iPhone in the studio at the Art Students League.  In spite of this, I hope you can still get a good sense of how this painting evolved.

 

New Zealand forest reflected

As we drove around New Zealand, one of the things that amazed me was how much forest land there was, and how varied.  I saw it whiz by as I rode the bus, I saw it up close and personal as I walked through, and I saw the New Zealand forest reflected in the sometimes crystal clear lakes. Some were dense rainforests; others were “prehistoric” with huge ferns everywhere. There was one tree I’ve never seen anywhere else, but every time I asked what it was, I got a different answer.  There was a big bushy tree that bloomed big red flowers in the summer (December/January) that the locals called the Christmas tree.

Here’s another painting of the forest in motion, sunlight seen through the trees, reflected in my memory.

Reflections of NZ

          Reflections of NZ        12×9        Acrylic        $600

New Zealand is an inspiration

Finally finished organizing my many photos from our recent trip to New Zealand.  What a wonderful country!  New Zealand is an inspiration, in many ways.  Artistically: beautiful and sometimes improbable looking trees; so much green, yet also orange and brown and silver in the volcanic areas.  Ecologically: NZ is incredibly varied: rainforests, some of which look positively prehistoric; volcanic areas that look incredibly alien; glaciers advancing and retreating at amazing speeds; the Southern Alps (aptly named); some 2000 earthquakes each year…

And the people are fascinating. NZ is a frontier society and a mecca for people interested in extreme sports (bungee jumping is just the beginning). They are also incredibly caring about protecting their environment, recycling with a vengeance and making sure that their wild areas are preserved. And art is everywhere:  the myriad galleries in Hokitika, the public art everywhere in Christchurch helping to compensate for the pervasive damage done by the 2011 earthquake, the Maori portraits in the Auckland Art Gallery.  Truly impressive.

So as is my wont, I try to preserve my memories by painting.  The photos I take are great reminders, but it is the act of painting that really cements the memory.  In my first two paintings I am trying to capture the trees rushing by as we traveled from here to there, the feeling of motion while standing still.  Different times of day, different kinds of light shining through the trees or reflected in the water.

Memory of New Zealand

Memory of New Zealand    Acrylic    16×12    $850

 

Memory of NZ 2

Memory of NZ 2      Acrylic      16×12      $850

 

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All the Sky's a Stage

All the Sky’s a Stage, 16×12, $850

Skógafoss: an awesome waterfall

Almost two years ago on a trip to Iceland, I was greatly impressed with its many beautiful waterfalls. One of the most dramatic was the 62 meter high Skógafoss. We saw it first from the road a mile or so away, and then later up close and personal, getting wet from the mist at the base of the falls. Either way, it was awesome.

I’ve wanted to paint Skógafoss ever since, but didn’t know how. I poured over the pictures I and other people have taken, looked at the patterns in the flow of the water, and just couldn’t figure out how to do it justice.

Well, sometimes you just have to jump in.  So I started with a very plebeian, representational version (I didn’t plan on it being plebeian, it just ended up that way). Sometimes, on the path to the abstract painting I really want to do, I have to start with a representational one, just to get it out of my system.

Skógafoss

Skógafoss

And that initial representational painting often isn’t very impressive (as in this case), possibly because it’s not what I really wanted. But it did help me define the relative dimensions of the falls and start thinking about how to show the sheer power of the water…

So then I did an initial abstract watercolor sketch of the falls.  Not bad. With Skógafoss I, I really did manage to convey the massive height and force of the falls.

Skógafoss I

Skógafoss I

On the basis of that success, I decided to do a bigger version. Unfortunately, while I liked the colors, Skógafoss II had a number of problems, not the least of which was that the falls no longer looked so tall and massive.

Skógafoss II

Skógafoss II

So, a week or so later, along came Skógafoss III.

Skógafoss III

Skógafoss III

Well, the size of the falls relative to the size of the people is better, but this seems to be more about the rocks than the falls. I used a cheap 3″ bristle brush to do the white for the water which is a big improvement, but that one big dark blue rock on the right just jumps up and bites me.  And I can’t seem to wash it out any more.  Ah well, have to keep going…

So almost cutting to the chase, here is the “at one point I thought this was final” version:

Skógafoss V v1

Skógafoss V v1

I liked it a lot and even got so far as to scan it into the computer (which is the only reason you can see it now).  But when I looked at the image on my computer screen, it really looked washed out and dull.  Aargh!!!

I couldn’t bear starting all over on yet another version, so I jazzed up some of the colors in the sky and the rocks, added more white to the water and then added dabs of color on top of the white.

So here is the final, final version.

 

Skógafoss V

Skógafoss V

I like this one a lot.  Finally.

Which one do you like the most?