Sunday, February 10, 2008

Painting the opposite of what one went looking for

Lomita Boulder
Pastel on Canson paper
7 1/2 x 12 5/8"

Pastel on Canson paper
10 x 14"

In both of these cases, I was driving around trying to find a long, atmospheric view, and out of desperation, decided to paint
what happened to be nearby that caught my eye. In the case of the boulder painting, I had just been informed I could not paint on some vineyard land, and had driven down the hill, and out of the gate. Once off the property, I pulled over, and hiked up a hill to see what I could salvage from the lower vantage point. The boulder and cast shadows caught my eye, and I went right to work.

The embankment painting was a similar story of driving around the East Bay hills, and not finding anything inspiring me.
Once again, I had pulled over, and was surveying a blown out view to the East, when I noticed the shrubbery and moss next to my car had the complexity of a persian rug. The tree made an interesting interruption of the pattern.

Paintings of this nature remind me to be open about what is worth painting, and not be too stuck on a specific plan of what to expect when one goes outside.


Marco Bucci said...

Thanks so much for posting this stuff, Bill. Plein air just has something about it. And I enjoyed reading the post below this, about Carlson and edges. That book is certainly worth its weight in gold.

Bill Cone said...

Marco said:
...about Carlson and edges. That book is certainly worth its weight in gold.
I had been painting outside for a couple of years when I saw Carlson's book recommended on an artist's website. Reading parts of it was like hearing some familiar art teacher's voice echoing down the hall in this rather stilted language. Yet, in going over his observations and insights, I was impressed
at how articulate he was about painting and the nature of light and color. He was able to describe effects that I had observed with my own eyes, yet never quite condensed into something I could put to use. His writing is truly based on the experience of painting outdoors, from the practical to the poetic. Timeless wisdom from a veteran.

'Hawthorne on Painting' is one that was also recommended by a 'disciple' of one of his students. Since it seems to be composed of notes compiled by students, I found it very repititive, hammering home the message: "just put the right color in the right spot, dammit!' Which is a correct
observation, but not very informative. Carlson spends time discussing the conditions of light that prevail in different weather, and has some very good descriptions of atmospheric light and color.
He more or less explains dynamic relations of color and value relative to light, which is a useful tool when analyzing a scene one is about to paint.
His 'edge' observations can be extremely subtle, but more and more, I see examples of it in nature.

And his periodic comments about the nature of students are really funny.

Robin Purcell said...

Glad I stumbled across your blog. Lovely luminosity on these. I will visit frequently Robin Purcell

Unknown said...

Absolutely gorgeous pastels! There is an amazing sense of light in all your pieces; I especially like the tree in the second image. I need to check out that book as well.