Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why Go Anywhere?

From The Parlor Window

It's been little more than a year since I and my beautiful partner Ellen moved into our little home here on the banks of the mighty Eastern River.  (Okay, maybe "mighty" is a little strong a word.  Not only could George Washington toss a dollar under-hand across it, he could easily wade across without getting his wig wet).  In the ensuing year I have made three paintings of the river; spring, summer and winter.  I have painted the tree in my backyard, the master bedroom mirrors, and now I just finished painting the porch.  Of course I find these scenes quite pretty to portray, but it also plays into my general propensity to just stay at home.

I will admit that my initial thought in doing this project was to paint this from life.  The problem was that I had a beastly time getting the design down.  I started this scene three times, and each attempt ended with frustration.  I was trying to get the whole window in the view, but I finally figured (on my fourth attempt) to show the porch from the lower window.  Meanwhile, the snow melted and the sun kept getting higher and higher in the sky, altering the shadow angles and color. 

Above is how the porch looked in mid-February.  It wasn't until last week that I got this drawing completed:

I used a thin wash of Naples Yellow over the drawing.  To me, this simple wash is a vitally important step.  I've been known to take a full day deciding what color to use.  The wash sets the mood, or emotion of the piece, and it ties the elements together.  If I choose wrong, I will almost always struggle with the painting.  Choosing right makes the picture almost paint itself.  So anyway, after wasting so much time, sitting down to paint from life was out.  Oh, sure- maybe John Singer Sargent could paint a picture one ten minute stretch at a time over the course of several months like he did with Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, but I'm not that patient.  I have been studying the colors of the porch since we moved in, and every (rare) sunny afternoon we've had this winter, so I could get the colors right.  I think it shows.

The fun thing about portraying my parlor window was trying to show it's antique wavy glass.  My worry was that viewers might think I couldn't draw straight.  So, I hope that showing the window sill will help, or maybe the crack in the glass.  Oh, and that crack?  You might say it's my little homage to my hero, Norman Rockwell.  Or you can say that I stole it from Shuffleton's Barbershop.  Either way you're right.  So check out the lower right hand corner: 

I wonder what corner of my property I'll paint next?  Maybe the bathroom needs painting...


1 comment:

Susan Roux said...

You just want to ooze Norman Rockwell, don't you? Great colors in this painting, Kevin. I like how you changed the approach. The widened view is very attractive and grabbing.

Yellow underpainting? Who would have thought? lol