China Cove, 9 x12 inches, oil on linen
Greetings art lovers! I emerge (finally) from the throes of filing my taxes. I can't say unscathed, (for the government took an arm and a leg) but I'm still standing, which is good. Anyway, the stress of it is behind me and I'm looking forward to getting back into the groove o' things.
I worked on some cityscapes last night, but didn't make too much progress. The allergy meds were making my head all cloudy and try as I might, I could not focus. It's like painting under the influence of alcohol. If my brain isn't functioning on all cylinders, it really shows on my painting and I end up scraping it the next day.
I wondered, too, whether the relief of finishing tax returns added to the less-than-optimal acuity of mind. When I was a rookie on the plein air painting competition circuit, I always got sick on the last day of the event. All the nervousness and concentration during the three or five days of painting accumulated with in me as stress, and on the last day–after the hard part was all done– the release of tension would come suddenly and I'd feel like throwing up or get a migraine. It was like that every time I did one of these events until I got better at it. Now I don't stress about it so much, and I have an easier time.
Finishing the taxes might have had a similar effect on me last night. I say this not to make excuses, but because I want to understand how environments and situations affect my ability to paint. I have an analytical mind and I can't help but look for logic and reason in everything. If I have a clear reason why something didn't work, I know what to do to solve that problem, see? If I can't figure it out, I flounder.
The painting above is a demo I did for my Landscape II class. It's a 9 x 12 sketch, painted from a reference photo I took some years ago in Point Lobos / Big Sur area. The main point of this demo was this; These rocks have a pretty big local value range, but the separation of values between light and shadow takes priority. In other words, don't let the variegated surface confuse the structure of the rocks. In accomplishing this, I made the local values less contrasty and simplified the shadow patterns. Warm light / cool shadow relationship, while subtle, helps to delineate the lit areas from the shadow areas, despite the sometimes confusing local values.
If you compared the foreground rocks with the background, you can see the systematically diminishing value range (shadows become lighter as we go back in space) , as well decreasing amount of detail. (variegated surface hardly registers on the farthest rocks). The simplicity of the distant rocks tell us that it's the light and shadow pattern that's important, more so than the light and dark surface coloring of the rocks.
'Hope your tax day wasn't too paintful.