Tag: orchard

Late Summer in the Olive Grove

I started this painting a couple of months ago at least, but because of life and cataract surgery, I didn’t finish it until today. There have been several iterations of it. The subject itself was inspired by van Gogh, and I had thought to try to copy his style of painting, but found that it was far more difficult than I anticipated.

The painting itself is done on an 11×14 canvas panel by Arteza I gessoed over its primed surface, in part because I like the process of preparing a surface for a painting, in part because I never like something already prepared by someone else. From there, the surface was neutralized with a pale underpainting of yellow ochre and burnt sienna, very thinly applied.

One of my primary issues in painting of ay type is depth of field. Easy to do in photography, but not in painting! Thus, this was a goal in this painting. In general, I think I made it, but had to work and re-work the surface of the painting. This is the pleasure of acrylic – once dried, I can paint over what I don’t like.

I used a variety of techniques, one being glazing to dull own areas by using a cool glaze, and to bring others forward using a warm glaze. It worked, but I realized I needed to go further by using a dullish grey-green for the tree on the left, and a brighter, warmer green for the olive tree in the foreground.

This is the first painting – artwork of any kind – I have done since I had my cataract surgeries in July and August. With new lenses, in my eyes and in my glasses, my sight is much better. However, I may still need a newer prescription in a month or so as it was hard to see what I was painting with my new glasses. Time will tell with this.

Altogether, I am pleased with this attempt. First, I like the painting. I am going to let it stew a bit before I apply any varnishes. So, letting it sit is “second” – already I can see areas which are a bit illogical. Finally, the entire process was fun to do. Acrylic, as with all media, has its good and bad qualities or frustrations, or whatever, but the simple doing it is delight. Painting just removes the outside world and transports me into another dimension which is pure bliss.

The Orchard

This is by far the painting which took the most time to produce.  There was – gasp! – actual forethought and planning done.  Can you believe it?  Does that mean I’m progressing or something?!?

Anyway, what I did was consider what I wanted to see.  I also thought about some things I have observed other watercolorists do, namely underpainting.  I also have been reading and seeing many painters lay out light colors, in a general way, move into medium washes with perhaps more detail, darker areas, and finally the details.  This is what I did, but, before painting, I put down a lot of frisket in the shape of dots.  Then, the first pale layer of wash.  Between the third and fourth photos, I did more frisket.  Dots again, but I also used a toothbrush for splatter, and drew lines over the green washes, to retain colors.  Then the fourth layer.  At that point I stopped for the night.

This morning, I rather knew what I wanted to do.  I laid down a pale wash over the grassy areas of quinacridone gold and sap green.  It was necessary to pull the grasses together.  Finally, I removed the frisket and did a bunch of details complete the painting.  Total time – about 5 hours!  All of it was fun, and not a lot of frustration.  I think because I took time, and because I am less “serious” about my stuff (knowing it won’t be what I envision) really helps.

Below, a gallery of the steps I took in the painting, if you are interested in the process.

 

Olive Orchard

Living in a “Mediterranean” climate means living in a dry, temperate climate.  Locally, we have a number of olive orchards which produce local oils that are tasty and delicious.  Here is a tribute to them.

Besides commercial uses, olive trees are often used as decorative trees in one’s yard as they do require a lot of upkeep in terms of water – but the downside is a messy yard as the olives drop.  Most people never consider using the olive fruit for anything at all.

I tried to simplify everything in this painting – trunks, field, crown of trees.  At the same time, I tried to work on contrast and failed overall.  It’s really a talent to get something dark enough on the first take!  The trees on the left look like one in the foreground in overlapped by the leaves of the one further distant.  And so on.  However, getting out the paints every day is the goal, and practice, not making a “completed” painting is the whole point.