Tuesday, December 12, 2006

More Structures

I'm still working each day in order to finish up the paintings for the show coming up in January. You can see info about the show here. Scroll down to the bottom.

I am trying to do a variety of landscapes, and landscapes that include structures, such as barns. However, lately I am really feeling uninspired about the regular landscapes. I have to really work to get a landscape out of me these days, and the failure rate is rising on those. I am finding myself much more intrigued with painting the barns, and I am also interested in adding houses. When we took our recent trip to NH, I took numerous photographs of the big, square boxy houses near downtown Portsmouth. Yesterday, I did several underpaintings which superimposed those buildings into a rather stark background. It's kind of risky to be experimenting with imagery so close to a deadline for a show, but the structures aren't so far off from the barns that I have been doing for the last year or so. In fact, they are quite similar.

This feels like a natural, yet still exciting direction for me to take. Probably the timing isn't so good. However, if they fail miserably, I have enough work completed, or nearly completed for the show. The challenge for me with painting houses (well, anything for that matter) is to not get too busy with all of the details. While that is my tendency, the more simple imagery and treatment is generally more successful. Actually, I think it's the struggle to balance the two that is successful.

I am putting up the new underpaintings. The houses are the single image on the easel, and the bottom piece in the stacked pieces in the other photo, which also includes a landscape and a barn. At this point the houses and the barns are almost interchangeable, but I will try to take them in somewhat different directions at the color stage.

Well, that's the goal, anyway. There is an equally good chance that I'll end up adding a few more panels to the sand down pile.


Anonymous said...

Although I'm a big fan of all your work, I particularly like the structure paintings. Most memorably, the vacation cabin painting from several months ago.

I think that if you don't follow your heart in what you're painting, it will show in the final results.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Thanks Jan, for the words of encouragement. I am pleased that you remember a piece that I did several months ago!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracy---Although I hardly feel qualified to comment, may I say that I think your instinct about not getting too detailed with the structures is dead on---what I personally am attracted to in your paintings are the planes of color and their interaction.

Don't forget to give yourself some breaks along the way!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracy, I like the structures and I like the landscapes too. I like how your landscapes are a bit more semi-abstract, more so than your structure painting. Here's an idea for whatever it's worth. What about going inside the barns? The interiors could be quite interesting, hay lofts, standing on the inside looking out. Could be some interesting imagery.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Hi Ann, I am glad to hear your feedback! And it's good to know that the color fields are appealing. Don't worry, I am taking a big long lazy break as soon as I finish up this work.

Jim, I like the more abstract ones too, but I need a break from them. I am sure I will go back to them, but I have to find some new inspiration. Your idea is good, I like the idea of being in and looking out (usually my whole life is the other way around). However, getting reference would involve some trespassing, so I may have to think a bit about how to pursue that!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracy

- here is my four pennyworth (for what its worth). I don't think you should worry too much about changing your subject matter so close to a show.

People like your landscapes, people like your barns .... people will llke your houses just as long as you paint them in your own inimitable style.

If you need to do this then don't hesitate, 'cos if you are feeling stale and in need of a bit of a change it will affect your paintings anyway. They may lose some of their magic.

You should follow your heart .... go for it.