Sunday, February 21, 2016

Back... and... Back-to-Back

I must apologize for the delay in following up on my earlier promise in the last post. It was intended to reveal the hidden source to commence the "Snowball Prohibition" project linked to Lois' poem. Life took me away to Toronto for a couple of days to be with my son Liam for a long overdue visit. But I am back... and with bells on my toes... eager to return to my painting schedule.

I have a conundrum to deal with this morning before commencing work though. I have TWO works ready top move forward. Both are at different degrees of readiness to proceed. This situation is totally uncharacteristic of my usual painting method. As I previously explained, I usually prefer to think about and complete a single "Idea" at a time... from start to finish. I have decided to push the envelope this time to actually work on two separate projects ... simultaneously. Fingers crossed... Let's see where it goes!

Here, directly below is the reference to reveal the subject "specter"... which I feel was contained in the random burnt sienna toning on the selected canvas. Alongside and below it slightly... you can now see how I have nudged that almost invisible figure composition closer towards reality using vine charcoal. The finished image, as it now appears was played with... and corrected somewhat to unify the elements to my satisfaction. I then set the drawing with retouch varnish to avoid smudging and loss of line. Ready to proceed. But am I?...

Look to the lower left side and upwards for your main clues. That's where my own eye initially took up the task and filled in the dots.

Here below... I combine what is actually there in terms of line and gesture within the random brushwork on the canvas... heightened by my own imagination and intuition.
Thinking in themes... Yet another "Snowman" episode. Maybe next year's Christmas card... HMMMM!

Here is the second subject that I really dove joyfully into. It derives from a digital reference of a small 5x7 inch panel that regretfully sold out through the door... before I was really finished with it. Many of these small oils are merely studies...explorations out loud in pigment... that often can be expanded upon and lead to larger works. I have always wanted to complete the initial conversation I had begun with this particular subject.

How strange... that it should run concurrently with the Prohibition "Idea". Sort of... "snowballed" on me! HA HA!

Here is the loose n' lively 5x7 inch panel "Waiting For Spring"

This is the very quick and loose one hour evening lay in on a 12x16 inch black toned canvas. Everything necessary for a go ahead is there... let it rest overnight.

Second session was to lift the lights and some detail to fix the middle and backgrounds in my mind. The foreground is intentionally untouched. That is my usual strategy either in the studio or en plein air.

The dilemma this morning is to make as choice and settle in to this morning's work schedule. Maybe this afternoon... I'll shift gears and step into the Prohibition piece for the afternoon. Life is about decisions based upon choice. My decision for this year... is to choose my own path... painting what strikes me as important to be said for me. I am (hopefully)... "practicing what I preach"!

Stay tuned!...

Good Painting!... to All!

Post Script:

"Waiting For Spring"... Completed !!

I was drawn to step into this light-filled and warm subject first because it hearkened in mood and spirit to the recent triptych project. I feel that the smaller 5 x 7 inch sketch preserved enough of the momentum I felt at the time that I first was drawn to this memory setting.

This "farm-scape" is a virtual "cut n' paste" of several idyllic scenes that I had encountered during many back n' forth road trips along the Saint John River Valley... coming and going en route to Nova Scotia years ago. The memories and joy that I always felt in making this journey remain with me even to this day. I feel that this particular smallish canvas accurately portrays my feelings... both then... and now.


  1. Good morning Bruce. Yes, that lighter area on the left seemed to be the place for a figure, although I didn't imagine there would be two! I wondered whether it was going to work, compositionally, with the figure being right up against the left side. However the balancing activity on the right, and the cropping of the whole composition has solved that problem.

    Both pieces are looking good so far.

    All the best,

  2. Good morning Keith!... Thanks for your "play-by-play" commentary... absolutely on the money. The other two pieces of information were not quite so obvious as the left side... but the imagination is a wonderfully active and playful fellow - in me any event! Ha Ha!

    I have already gotten to the lay in stage in the actual painting... and I do like where it is taking me. Just as playfully enjoyable... as rolling a big ball of snow around a yard used to be. Why did we ever stop?... HA HA!!

    Stay tuned!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,