Friday, February 24, 2017

WHAT'S IT ABOUT?

Knowing what I'm trying to accomplish in a painting is primary for guiding every other decision I'll have to make in creating a composition.  If I'm simply beguiled by an attractive "thing" (tree, barn, creek, whatever…), I'll wind up taking dictation from that thing without thinking through how I can compose it so that it will emphasize what I find beautiful about the scene.  That, for me, is the fun and satisfaction in painting.

Almost without exception, composing requires stopping to think about what I want to say and what I have to work with.  It's rare that I find something that's ready to paint just as it is.  For instance, I may try several ideas for cropping the scene and identifying the focal center.  I may then want to remove unrelated clutter, rearrange what's there for better size and balance relationships, or any number of other things that I feel will give my primary concept emphasis.  I find that my best paintings are about one thing, and one thing only.  That concept must be the star of the show. Everything else plays a supporting role, and a lot of what's there won't even make the cut, when I've answered the question, "What's it about?"

IN THE GROOVE
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
12x16 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX

Thursday, February 16, 2017

ICE CREAM, CANDY AND COLOR

No restraint  on color is like gorging on ice cream, candy and doughnuts.  I know this, but it's so hard to put the sweets away.  If you've looked at my past work, you know I enjoy pushing the color.  I've made some pretty sweet confections at times.  I'm learning to reign it in, and liking how it tastes.  This piece is by no means somber, but I really had to tone it down from where I began.  I fell in love with that riot of fall color on the river bank, and just went overboard on the doughnuts. Anyway, what I'm learning is, with just a bit of pure color in place, it's the grays that make it appetizing.

 INDIAN SUMMER
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
14X18 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings
MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX

Friday, February 10, 2017

FIRST IT'S A DESIGN

WHEN I WANT TO PAINT,  I HAVE TO CHANGE HOW I SEE.  It usually requires a conscious effort  to make the switch from what I call "thing-o-vision" to "art-o-vision".  Our normal mode of seeing, "thing-o-vision", habitually identifies the proliferation of things and details we see as our eyes bounce around from one "thing" to another.  Art-o-vision sees only shapes, values and color in a simple integrated pattern.  If I don't make the switch,  I can only take dictation from the myriad things and details before me, and the fun of painting turns to tedium and disappointment.  Art-o-vison allows me to see the simple beauty, and harmony in the scene.  Then, the fun is in trying to arrange those simple shapes, values and colors into a design that will focus upon and emphasize the beauty I've found.  Everything else plays a subordinate role to enhance my idea.  Now, I'm ready to paint!  But first, before anything else, it's a design.

SUN-STRUCK CYPRESS
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
12X16 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX

Saturday, February 4, 2017

REPORTAGE AND POETRY

REPORTAGE AND POETRY are literary terms that describe a difference of intent in writing.  But it can be very useful for painters to consider these terms in relation to our work.  We can say that reportage aims to present facts and details, while poetry gives special intensity to the expression of feelings and ideas by a distinctive style with attention to the elements and principles of visual language.

The "elements" are the marks we can make: line, shape, direction, size, value, color and texture.  The "principles" identify what we can do with the elements to create: dominance, contrast, repetition, gradation, harmony, unity and balance.  Some folks enjoy paintings with tremendous amounts of descriptive detail and literal rendering.  At the other end of the spectrum of visual language is pure abstraction, with little or no regard for identifiable subject matter.  

The usefulness of this distinction for the painter is in how expressively we are learning to communicate using visual language.  We can all make marks, but it's the application of design principles that raises the poetic quality of our paintings.  

MORNING HAZE
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
14X18 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX