Monday, July 10, 2006

Monochromatic Work

Gabled Barn, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x12

So nice to hear from so many of you in response to Friday's post about why we are doing blogs. Sounds like we all have a similar need to write about our art as well as connect with other artists. I love the internet! Now if I only could understand html and all of the other silly little code things.....

Stacers asked me a question about the monochromatic paintings, so I thought I'd talk a bit about them today, because, well, I am sure that everyone is just dying to know all about them. heh. Basically the monochromatic pieces, like the one above, are my under paintings, which I consider the "drawing" for a painting. It's hard to describe how much I love doing the under paintings. I love the process of it, of forming the image and pulling out the lights to create form as well as mood all with just a few marks or sometimes more. I just love doing them. Along the way, there are often under paintings that I like so much that it is literally painful to paint over them with color, but I do, because even though I feel so strongly about them, I also have this urge to create a better overall painting. Although I may love a part of it, in this case the under painting, I believe that giving up one thing that works will eventually help "the whole" and will result in a stronger painting. Despite the fact that I think the under paintings that I paint with the intention of applying color glazes, are really good, I have to consider them as just one part of the whole painting and treat them as such, meaning I paint over them. Alone, the under painting is strong yet is just a part of a whole, therefore unfinished. They are the structure, still needing a cover.

That said, about a year ago, I decided to develop the under paintings so that I could consider them as finished pieces. I felt they should be a different color, and after experimenting, I settled on a dark brown which, by the way, is exceedingly difficult to photograph accurately, so I rarely include these pieces in my info, preferring to show them in person, whenever possible. Then, after much trial and error, I finally realized that the images for this work needed to be dramatic, with a strong light source and dark shadows. The first group that I was pleased with, were five very small barns and I included them in a solo show last June, entitled Barns! Barns! Barns! Hhhmmmm, wonder what the theme there was?! Anyway, all of them sold, so I took that as a good sign.

I still make them, usually in groups or series, with a theme. Often I include a few of them in a show as a counterpart to the color pieces. I don't sell as many of them as the color works but they always receive very positive feedback. Neither matters, I will keep doing them because I love to. I wish I could do more, but by throwing myself into the process (twice actually, as I essentially go through the same process for my color work as well), it can be very draining. I feel that I really have to moderate myself a bit in order to effectively handle the rest of my life and so I don't get, you know, a little cuckoo in the head.


Ed Maskevich said...

I love to use sanguine colored pencils when I draw the figure. I do occasional monochromatic pieces but very seldom as an underpainting. I just love to recklessly dive into color. Sometimes it works, a lot of the time it doesn't.

S.L. Peterson said...

Thanks for the more in-depth post on these!! I really like them - very moody. I've always loved Richard Schmid's monochrome portraits, done in a similar color with oil paint. There's something about taking out the color and making it a bare bones value study that seems to make a big impact. It's neat to see you do it successfully with the landscape/architecture.

The Epiphany Artist said...

I like artists that have put a mood into their paintings! You have done this!

Tracy said...

Hi Ed, I love sanguine, didn't use it much in college, but now I love to draw the figure with them. And ya gotta be reckless with color if you ask me!

Stacers, Thanks for saying I do them successfully, though you ought to see the ones in my sand down pile:-) I'll have to look up the monochrome portraits by Richard Schmid, I have probably seen them, as he is very popular out west (we lived in Utah), but offhand I don't recall what they look like. I am sure they are well done.

Terri, Thanks, I like to go for mood but sometimes I am just too happy. Sad, depressing music can really help me along though!

Lisa Call said...

I really am drawn to these monochromatic pieces.

Spare can often be more as I think it strips things down to their essence.

Tracy said...

Spare can often be more as I think it strips things down to their essence.

Great line-you ought to save that for an artist statement, Lisa!

Thanks for the compliment.

Kris Shanks said...

I also really like your monochromatic paintings. When I first saw them, they reminded me of monoprints where the image is created by wiping away pigment. Thanks for sharing a bit more info about your process.