Thursday, February 28, 2013


This painting of my neighbor's place as viewed from my river has nothing to do with the following post, other than I'm a wee bit tired of seeing this sight.  Not that I'm tired of seeing my neighbors, but I'd rather it looked like this:

It's March!  You know what that means in Maine?  Mud Season.  I can't wait to see that dirty, gray snow melt into that dirty brown ground.  Mud will get tramped on the floor, the walls and ceiling. Then, before you know it comes my favorite time of year:

Black Fly Season!

Bring it on...

In the meantime, I've been holed up here in the studio (It looks like this):

I'm showing you this because I got a new (to me) easel recently!  Thanks Mr. Cornell.

Anyway, I've spent the better part of two weeks so far working on a winter piece.  Here is a little step by step progression bringing us up to where I stand at the close of today.

On Valentine's Day this year I took a trip to Pemaquid Point Lighthouse.  It was a gorgeous winter day, and I wanted to get some inspiration for an ocean scene.  Pemaquid Light is a twin to the more famous Portland Head Light, but it's a lot less crowded with tourists even in the midst of summer.  And especially so in the middle of February.  I cruised all over the property by myself as the sun was setting, and while I was on the porch of the Light Keepers House, I was struck by this scene:

I'm a sucker for porches.  So, I did this sketch to think out the picture on paper:

I printed this sketch and used it as a template for a very rough color sketch:

Then came the under-drawing on a 24X20 masonite panel:

Touch of glare on that picture, sorry.  Now, for those who say "Wait a minute, Kev-- aren't you just copying a photograph?"  I say, "You're point?"  Actually, if you look closer you'll notice I took out the far railing, the picket fence and added snow on the porch.  I also turned the brick building a bit while I pushed it back

Apology accepted.

Alright, next came the grisaille--or monochrome under painting.  I used Silver White and Mars Black to do this:

I did all of this because I need to keep my values in check, or they'll go wandering all over.  And I hate wandering values.  Give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile. They need to be controlled, reigned in and mastered.  But I digress...  I used the original photo, but switched it over to black and white as an aide.

Finally-- Color! 

This is a color lay-in.  I use very thin washes of color which allow the under-painting to show through.  For intance, the rocks on the right were given a wash of orange over the grey under-painting.    Subsequent sessions of glazing will deepen the colors.  I seal off each coat so that the colors rest on top of each other as opposed to mixing and blending.  The idea is that light will shine through each layer and blend the colors as it goes.  I will eventually go over some areas and add some impasto details here and there, (like on the rock pillers) but I've plenty more steps to go until I get to that point. 

Well, that's what I've been up to while I wait for the mud to make its springtime appearance.  Then the floor will show my every step-by-step.

If you know what I mean...



SamArtDog said...

I must say, wonderful photo to begin with.
And a painting coming along quite nicely!

You're obviously one of those painters who love spending time inside your paintings. Looks like they like having you there, too.

Kevin Mizner said...

Sam, thank you. I do treat each project as a child to be nurtured and doted over. Then they grow up to be mouthy, unruly thugs and delinquents, and I'm left to wonder where I went wrong...

Susan Roux said...

I know you've explained what you do before, but it always surprises me to see such a detailed drawing, with shadows and all on canvas. Somehow you make it work magic.

Mud season? I have a 250' untarred driveway. Don't talk to me about that!

Virginia Floyd said...

So lovely, Kevin. I enjoyed reading your step by step comments. I've never tried the glazing and layering technique.

I don't think I could live through a mud season! Even Black Fly season sounds better than that. But at least you have glorious springs. We only have two seasons...not-too-cold and HOT!