Wednesday, February 19, 2014

SIMPLIFICATION OFTEN FOLLOWS DESPAIR

If painting were easy, everyone would paint well.  But painting frequently leads to a crisis of despair.  How we get past those crises, determines our growth.  I've tried painting this scene twice before.  I first set up to paint here several years ago.  I was captivated by the possibilities, and felt sure I was about to have a lot of fun making a nice painting.  From the beginning everything began to go down hill, and my frustration was mounting. Everything looked so promising, so what was the problem?!

I tried again a couple of years later, feeling a good bit of foreboding about my prospects since I had failed so miserably in my first attempt.  Again, everything looked beautiful and I was excited about painting it.  Again, the result was a wipe.  Damn!

It's been over a year since then, and I haven't thought about this place.  When it came up, again, as something I was attracted to, my mind was divided by attraction to the scene, and aversion to a repeat of previous failure.  Because I've continued to paint and learn by experience, certain things had fallen into place that enabled me to realize something that encouraged me to try again.  The need for simplification!  I had come to realize that no matter how beautiful and appealing a subject may be, or how well I may be able to draw, it's asking for trouble to try to capture everything about it.  That may seem obvious, but I can tell you many painters suffer with this malady well past their first realization of the warning.

Our job involves distilling an essence of the subject as we hope to portray it.  It requires a conscious editing, and arrangement of all that is before us. One thing must dominate, while everything else must play a supporting roll.  You can't do everything that appears beautiful, …the roots, the rocks, the reflections, the foliage, etc.  Having identified the one thing, we're then in a position to design a painting according to purpose, and this is totally different than the laborious effort to transcribe what you see.  The fun comes from your own invention as you respond to how you can radically simplify everything in order to bring harmony to emphasizing the thing that has moved you to paint.    

ROSEBUD COVE
©Jimmy Longacre 2014
11X14 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
River's Edge Gallery Kerrville TX
Austin Street Gallery Rockport TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX

Thursday, February 13, 2014

PAINTING STRUCTURE

This was my first in the series of paintings I'm doing of downtown Austin.  Trouble with doing scenes like this is the overwhelming amount of detail you can get trapped into trying to paint.

In order to get better control of things, I simplify my idea into 3 value groups.  Like in the black and white version below.

It's usually a good idea to decide whether your story is in the light or shade.  When it's in the shade, like this one, I use a dark middle value to group with the dark shapes.  The light will  have fewer values (2 is plenty) and much less detail. The mid-value dark and dark shapes will now have most of the detail and value steps.
CAPITAL MORNING
©Jimmy Longacre 2014
14x18 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
River's Edge Gallery Kerrville TX
Austin Street Gallery Rockport TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

PRE-MIXED PALETTE


A break from my urbanization to my old country ways.  :)
This is "stick season" out there, so I like to push things a bit. I needed a change from my urban series, so I headed down one of the roads out here in the Texas hill country.  I have to be careful because if I go out without my painter-vision working I don't see anything worth painting!  Everything seems to be a couple of shades of wheat, olive and gray.  Once I pick up on a subtle clue from the landscape color, I like to select a premixed color plan and see how I can enhance the effect using a very limited palette.  This one was done with Yellow Ochre, Quinacradone Magenta, Manganese Violet, Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue, Black and White.


WINTER CREEK
©Jimmy Longacre 2014
8x10 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective impressionist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
River's Edge Gallery Kerrville TX
Austin Street Gallery Rockport TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

PAINTING CITYSCAPES

Here's another in my series on subjects from downtown Austin.  One thing I'm especially enjoying about doing these is the unexpected things that go on.  Trying to simplify a downtown street scene can be overwhelming.  It's necessary to edit and look for the important shapes and values.  As I get into them I discover unusual lighting effects that take place inside the canyons of buildings that make the painting much more fun.  Light gets reflected and bounced around in surprising ways.  I also like choosing a few selected humans to be placed for scale, interest and directing the eye.

CONGRESS AND NINTH
©Jimmy Longacre 2014
12x16 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective impressionist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
River's Edge Gallery Kerrville TX
Austin Street Gallery Rockport TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX