Posts tagged ‘volcano’
Back in November, I thought I’d finally finished a fiery painting prompted by the California wildfires and a recent visit to Sicily: Afterglow. There were hours and hours of painting reds, and blues, and Payne’s Gray. And then I finally added many more layers of gray and white to make the mist. I liked it. I thought it worked. It hadn’t turned out as I originally intended, but that’s often the case. I thought it was done. Shows you what I know!
Here’s the original painting.
I took a picture of it and posted it on my website. But every time I looked at it, something was bothering me. I couldn’t figure out what it was. Plus I was really tired of working on it. So I shrugged and put it away. And started working on the next painting: Misty Morning.
Whenever I come back from a vacation trip I always return with hundreds (thousands?) of photographs and lots of ideas for new paintings. My recent trip to Sicily was no exception and the slopes of Mt. Etna were inspirational. Misty Morning was started. I liked the colors in an earlier Mt. Etna painting (Before the Rain) so I decided to repeat them (sorta). The slopes of Mt. Etna were a purplish black with patches of drying yellow oxide grasses showing through. In Misty Morning, the black and yellow oxide were more evenly balanced and hard edged. And therein lay the problem: it didn’t look like something in nature; it looked like a graphic poster, too stylized. I tried softening some of the edges, but I couldn’t seem to make a dent in the overall effect. (Have I mentioned recently that watered down acrylic on raw canvas is very unforgiving?)
The only solution I could think of was to intensify the mist to soften most of the edges. (BTW, I’ve spent many hours studying the mist that often partly obscures the Palisades Cliffs outside my window in the morning.) And, many many layers of watered down titanium white later, it worked.
Now that’s what one of Etna’s slopes looked like on a misty morning. Success!
But that success made me go back and rethink my previous painting, Afterglow. And I suddenly knew what I had to do: make the smoke more prominent, more like the mist in Misty Morning.
Easier said than done, of course. But many layers of thinned titanium white later, the smoke in Afterglow pulls it all together. Whew.
And I had thought it looked finished before. … Actually, I’m not sure it’s finished now. Shows you what I know.
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 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 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.