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Sunday, June 3, 2012

City Scenes - Our Town and Other Places

Those of us who have had children and now have grandchildren are quite familiar with the question, "Why?"
Most parents remember these seemingly never ending questions: Why is the sky blue? Why do elephants have trunks? Why is the snow white? Why does it thunder? Why is that policeman pulling us over, Daddy? Why can't we go to McDonald's? Why do I have to go to school? Why can't I stick my finger in the light socket? Why can't I wear my camouflage cloths to church? Why can't I go home now?" The questions just keep coming. Sometimes we'd like to say, "Go stick your finger in a light socket".
My latest painting, "Grandpa, Why...?", 14"x 24", Oil on canvas, is a gentle reminder of those times when every question began with, "Why?"...and hopefully we always had a wise and gentle reply. I know I didn't.
The narrative for this painting actually developed during the process of painting it. I think it expands the work and enables the viewer to relate to the piece on several levels.
Below is the process followed in order to bring the painting to completion.
Plein air study used as reference for the larger studio piece. Field studies are typically done on 100% rag paper and sealed with a ground of acrylic gesso. Paper size is 5.5"x 8.5" and the painting area is masked off according to the proportion needed. Each painting includes the following info: upper left tells me where I can locate the photographic reference. Info below the painting gives location, sometimes the direction I was facing, time, date, and abbreviations detailing the palette used. Each of the studies are placed in archival sleeves and filed in three-ring binders...100 per book. I am currently working on the tenth book. 

The palette.

Paint mixtures found in painting.

Canvas is toned with a mixture of ultramarine blue and burnt siena. Lightest areas are rubbed out with a  paper towel. Accurate drawing begins using a soft brush and various mixtures of the above two colors.

Drawing and redrawing continues. Decided to add to the story line through the addition of the  people.

Local color is applied in thin layers.

Getting there.

Grandpa, Why...?  -  14"x 24"  -  Oil on canvas

American Legacy Gallery in Kansas City, MO is hosting, "City Scenes - Our Town and Other Places", during the month of June. The show will highlight the work of several of the gallery artists. If you're in that area, I hope you'll make it a point to go by and see the show.

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Blogger Dot Courson said...

Love this! Your work brings to mind Norman Rockwell- not for the style -but for the inclusion of the American life narrative.

Wonderful work! Sorry that we can't make the show. Look forward to hosting you to teach here next spring!

June 3, 2012 at 7:37 PM  

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