Puddle rock 20130505

Here is my latest version of the demo I am trying to get right – maybe I will achieve this before I die.
20130505_173712This is on Arches Hot Pressed (love that hot pressed surface) 300gm and is 760 x 560 mm – a full sheet.

I was listening to the most beautiful arias as I painted – Carmen Habanera by Bizet is playing right now.

The big orange rock is kind of OK but does not have enough volume.  I will read Jeanne Dobie’s note on ‘push, pull and turn again.  As I looked at the photo again, I could see patterns in the colours in the rock that convey a lot of information about the shape, which I will use next time I do the painting.  As I am spared.

The puddle rock is still not right – I will practice just the rock a few times – it is quite a complicated shape.  The light on the rock does not accentuate the twists and turns in the rock so want to find a way to make it work.   And I want to be able to convey a sense of the shape with a minimum number of brush-strokes.  I am also panicking a bit as I want to be able to do this whole painting in one hour, as part of my “life in light and colour” presentation.  But my approach is to get the painting right.  At the same time I am working on the notes for the presentation.

I am confident with the spit of rocks going out into the middle distance.  The rocks to the right could be stronger though.  Actually, they should lead up the right of the painting to the headland in the middle distance and ultimately to the mountains.  Also: I am not too fussed about the mountains.  These mountains are not the best ever (in the history of mankind on planet earth) but I can deal with that.   Next time I will focus on them more.

I am still feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of information I have to put down to convey a sense of the foreground rocks.  I am happy that I have designed the shapes better but now I want to put down some rich dark colours to define the rocks and to lead the viewers eye from the bottom left up between the two main players and out into the sea.  One of the precepts I have adopted is that “every stroke should count”.  And yet I find myself splotching down insipid, formless shapes between the rocks both in the triangular area in the foreground and the middle-ground on the right.

I have the painting up in my studio as I work and am working out how my next one will be different.  All in all this is OK.  I realise as I reflect on this painting and the project as a whole, that I am getting psyched out by the scope of all I am trying to achieve in this painting.  This includes getting the painting to work, videoing my work, thinking about my presentation, justifying the time I am spending painting to myself as I work and thinking about my intent to find a model to stand on the rock, a whole bundle of issues.  mmm!  Take a DEEP BREATH and breathe out.  Rome wasn’t burnt in a day (my memory of a quote from “my family and other animals – what Gerald Durrell’s sister said to him).

I am happy with my approach to the sky although I will organise the shapes in the clouds a little differently.

I also did a video using my Galaxy S4 which has quite a nice camera.  It times out after a while (I will find out exactly what the cut is).   And one day I may edit and post it here.  Perhaps I will simply put all of these practice videos on a dvd and send them to anyone who wants.



4 thoughts on “Puddle rock 20130505

  1. So much is going into this, Stephen. I am enjoying watching your process and have liked what I’ve seen. I wonder if the huge rock would come into what you want more by concentrating, only on it for awhile. I think playing with hard and soft edges may help you with what you want. Think about making the hard edged areas the cross contours of the rock. That would define its surface and its curvature. I imagine the darks melting with softened edges leading the viewers eye back to the rock’s surroundings. Does that help? You have established that rock’s dominance, already.

    • Hi Leslie

      I am going to have a good look at these suggestions as I prepare to do this again. Certainly I agree that I should just practice the rock on its own, to get it right. I remember when I first tried to paint rocks I did a rock over and over again until one morning early it just worked though I could not say why.
      thank you for this considered input. There is a subtle thing going on in the nearest edge of the rock as well as on the slope above the puddle and I am going to work out a structure of hard and soft edges as you suggest. Yes this is valuable input.

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