Monday, December 5, 2011

Fun With Props

I like to think that on the whole, usually I am a very decisive person.  You know--most of the time I make up my mind relatively quickly, generally speaking.  When I make up my mind, I will almost always go with it, seven, maybe eight out of ten times- 'cause that's how I roll.

The painting at the top of the page is an example of that.

I have always liked wood piles.  Here in Maine, we burn wood for fuel, not fun.  I've split and stacked countless cords of wood.  Seeing a long pile of wood stacked beside someone's barn or garage always makes me think of the smell of a wood stove, the smoke gently wafting out of a brick chimney.  The bracing cold air of Winter.  Ice.  Snowdrifts.  Having my mailbox repeatedly crushed by some half-asleep plow driver hyped up on his 85th cup of coffee. 

But I digress...

What I like about woodpiles is the way the new split wood reflects sunlight.  New wood has a kind of golden glow about it.  I've long wanted to do a painting of a wood pile, but I never had just the right amount of inspiration.  To those of us who paint, wanting to is a long way from needing to paint a scene.  So anyway, last week I was out in my garage when I noticed what I thought was a neat sight with the way the sunlight coming through the window lit up the woodpile with a warm glow.  I also liked the way the cool light from the North window off-set the warm light.  That's it! I thought, I have to paint it.  You know, because I'm decisive like that.

I sketched the scene, really just thinking about the play of color temperatures, and light against dark, and then I set my drawing aside for a few days to finish up another project.  In the ensuing days, I thought about my sketch.  "What if I had a person doing something, instead of just showing sunlight on a woodpile?"...  "And what if he was, like, an old guy?"... "Yeah, with one of those old-man plaid shirt coat things and rubber boots?"  I was digging it.  Except I didn't have an old man on hand, nor an old man plaid shirt-jacket.  Thank goodness, I did have rubber boots.  I called my beautiful partner Ellen when she was out shopping for my Christmas gift at the recycling center, and asked her if she would stop at a yard sale or something and see if she could get an old plaid shirt.  As usual, she got just what I needed.

The next day, there I was, posing out in my garage.

Now, that was all well and good to get the drawing done,

But, I really wanted to capture that light.  I had to wait a few days until we got a sunny day, but when we did I hauled my gear back into the garage and set up.

By the way, for those who claim I have a stick up my ass-- here's your proof.

I din't have an old man to paint, but I did have me.  I kind of modeled the guy on an elderly gentleman who lives near me.  I kinda wish I went and asked him to pose, but he's ninety years old and I didn't think he would be up to it.  So, I whitened my hair, and made my ears big, and voila!  and old duff.  The rest of the way was just trying to get the colors right.  I even set up my old-man props in my studio for the final touches. 

I do enjoy doing stuff like this, it makes for a fun day at the office.  The best part about this painting is now I have an old man plaid jacket-shirt thing to go with my rubber boots!

I'll fit the part soon enough...



Susan Roux said...

Hey I know that stiff, he's lawnmower dude!

Sometimes we just need to go the extra mile to get that painting we want. For me it's a beach photo shoot with a crowd of "h--" guys watching. For you it's a prop set up in your garage. Whatever it takes. Do you think it's just another Mainer thing?

Wonderful painting Kevin. Blue's and gold's interacting. Are my eyes bleeding or is that a lot of red I see in your woodpile?

Patty Meglio said...

Nice painting. I like the way that you planned it out.

SamArtDog said...

Determined. I guess! Definitely worth every splinter, though. Fair trade for a great painting and a wicked cool shirt.