Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Suburban Edge

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.


Angela Rockett said...

Where to start with the color is often my biggest sticking point as well. Drives me crazy! It's only when the colors ring true that I can truly enter the piece.

Tracy said...

Angela, it is hard to get into it when the colors aren't right.

When I first started painting again, I usually just assumed that the first color I put down would always end up being wiped off. Guess I may have to go back to that mentality for awhile:)

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