Sunday, June 22, 2014

Figures in an imagined landscape

Oil on linen canvas 16" x 16"

This is a rework of the one a couple of posts ago which was feeling far too tight for me. I decided to go for a much more "broken" and "blue" Cezanne/Derain type approach.  This means I have spent hours and hours on this painting so far, scrubbing it, sanding it, smudging it, dulling it and brightening it.

David Leffel says the intelligent artist "...sees the canvas as the reality, not the model. He does not paint what he sees, he paints the way he wants the canvas to look".  This is an extremely profound and thought provoking notion for any painter. It means the artist has to have some idea about how he wants the thing to look both before and during the process of painting. I know that when I don't do that, I spend ages wallowing in what feels like mud and despair. Leffel's "concept" approach (see the book "Oil painting secrets from a master" put together by Linda Cateura) does not make the job easy but it provides us with a kind of "style" map although I am not suggesting we should stick to the same style for every piece we create, neither does it negate Chuck Close's statement that "All the best ideas come out of the work itself". You can have a map but what you get out of the journey is what you put into it.


Roxanne Steed said...

Wow, yeah, I'm really liking your thoughts behind this and the visuals you're presenting here. I do like the broken edges, and "dreamlike" quality to this!! Beautiful!!

Sheila Vaughan said...

Hi Roxanne, thanks for your generous words. I agree it does seem a bit more dreamlike than stage set now. It's amazing what paintings can suggest to us isn't it.

Agnes said...

For me, nudes painted outdoors in nordic settings are usually not well integrated with the landscape. It's so often a case of a pale body washed by a cold and unforgiving light, more about exposure than freedom. Your warm colours make the figures one with the environment. They look relaxed, peaceful, and open to nature's inspiration. It's become a beautiful painting.

Sheila Vaughan said...

Thank you Agnes, yes there is that challenge! Maybe I had warmer climes in mind when I did this.

Barbara Muir said...

So fascinating how you work. I loved it before and now. Love the bits of blue and the red under the woman's hand.

The search for the work is what you're talking about I think. Most of the time when I am terrified about a painting going "wrong" it's because I'm adhering to some idea of reality or perfect depiction and not the concept. Super thoughts.
And I agree with Chuck Close too.


Sheila Vaughan said...

Thank you Barbara. I think you are right that it is keeping the "concept" uppermost but at the same time almost allowing the painting to paint itself is vital. It's a strange business!