The Red Barn: A Matter of Perspective

Of course, we all want our fans to tell us how talented we are and what perfect paintings we do!  Sadly, that is not reality.  In and of itself, The Red Barn is not a bad painting – I am rather pleased with it.  However, my husband is my nearest critic, and as he knows my issues of late with perspective, he pointed out, “The barn looks warped, like one side is buckling in.”

“Of course!” came my snarky reply.  “It’s old.  See?  There are holes in the barn.”  I pointed out the ones on the right, in shadow, under the eaves.

Well, I knew there was something wrong, but couldn’t pinpoint it.  This morning, I took it out for another look, and just with casual measurement between my fingertips, I found the problem.  The right front edge of the roof is shorter than the left edge.  The same applies to the right and left sides of the front of the barn.  Given the perspective of the painting, it is totally illogical!

This was truly a breakthrough moment.  I thought I had done the perspective correctly – in many ways I have, as with the road, and such, but the building itself was the problem.  I plan to re-do this painting today, working specifically on the barn roof and walls.  Hopefully success will follow!

Stay tooned (as my friend Fraggy likes to say!).

The Last Day of Winter

Or, maybe, The First Day of Spring?

I have been breaking out of my safety zone and moving on to using more expensive paper and larger sized sheets for painting.  Also, another is to use a somewhat limited palette, working to create colors by mixing in different strengths and blends.  Ultramarine and cobalt blues, burnt sienna and burnt umber, a dash of sap green.  Other colors include a mix of cadmium yellow and red, and some of Daniel Smith’s Primatek Sodalite (a black) for the road.

As always, there seems to be a lack of depth in my painting, despite my efforts . . . or maybe the road is not properly proportioned for its curve?

There is nothing like knowing Spring is nearly here, and see hints of emerging from the snow.

Disastrous Fun

I promised to paint more buildings.  So I did.  I painted a house in the middle of a cold, cold climate in the dead of winter.  I made better house drawings when I was 10.

I have really lost touch with real cold, real snow, and a real winter.  I do have memories, though, of the intense gloom of the woods in northern New York state.  There was something so magical about them – the silence of the woods, the snow falling, the sense of being alone in the world.  I liked the idea of capturing that with a building, on water, in the dead of winter.

Buildings mean people, even in the middle of nowhere, on a river.  People usually mean unnecessary noise, and in the woods or hiking, the last thing I want is noise.  Silence is something to be savored in our noisy age.

So, let’s get back to the “disastrous fun” of this posting.  “Disastrous” as this is such an amateurish painting, and “fun” because the more I got into, and the more I realized how awful it was, the more fun I had.  Making a “good” painting no longer had any meaning – it was the experience.  And the snow.

The final touch was the snowflakes.  White gouache to spatter.  I spattered on the painting.  It flew onto my glasses.  I spattered some more.  It flew onto my glasses.  I changed how I was spattering, and there were streaks.

Snowflakes don’t streak in the real world.  Spattering paint is an art form in and of itself.

North of Here

This morning we are experiencing rain – a rare event in Southern California.  Strange as it may sound, it made me think about painting something without lines, wetting the paper first, and working wet-in-wet, just to see what would happen.  As a kid, I lived in upstate New York, out where pine woods and lakes were more common than people.  I miss that solitude – walking in a snowy woods, flakes falling, listening to the silence, all alone in a cold, lonely, and intensely beautiful environment.

Dreaming of Tulips

It’s the dead of winter in sunny old California, but tulips are not to be found even here until the spring.  The beauty of tulips, especially the pale ones, is the vast and subtle array of colors found within a single blossom.  As a kid in Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, I loved the arrival of the tulips through the snow.