Suburban Edge, 2007, Oil on Panel, 18x24
I have been working very slowly on the four underpaintings of houses that I did about two weeks ago. Whenever I look at them, I feel enthusiastic but when I actually get in front of them with a brush in my hand and the paint all ready, I freeze up. Where to start?
Usually, in the barns and landscapes, I find that the busier the image is, the less it works for me, so I simplify. The house images have so many more elements than the barns or the landscapes and so I struggle a bit with what to do and where to go. I am not used to thinking about color so much! Usually I just pick a color and the rest flows from there.
And coordinating the colors has been the biggest challenge. In this piece I had initially painted the house on the left a beautiful purple and the house on the far right was the same red that it is now. But the middle one wouldn't cooperate with what I wanted it to be. I probably painted it five different colors, white, blue, green, yellow, pink. Nothing worked to bridge the red an purple. Finally I wiped all the paint off of that house and left it until the next day.
When I looked at it the next day, the the answer seemed obvious to me. Even though I LOVED the purple house, that color was the real problem. I painted over the purple and changed it to the yellowish orange you see now, which allowed the initial color that I had envisioned for the middle house to work. So I ended up painting it almost exactly the very first color that I had tried the previous day-white (actually Naples yellow) with blue shadow.
It still needs just a bit of refinement, but it is basically finished and I am quite pleased with it. And it was good to be reminded of how important surrendering a part is to make the whole piece, well, whole.
Now I am off to try again with getting a purple house into this series.