Spring

Oil Painting by Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey, The Way, Oil on Canvas, 7″ x 7″, © 2016

It feels like Spring has fully arrived in San Francisco. I am very much enjoying the 60 to 70 degree temperatures with clear skies and have been trying to get outside whenever possible.  I painted this small canvas after a walk to the Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park.  I’ve been very interested in square format compositions and the effect of light and shadow on different colors. It reminds me of my limited training in darkroom photography where one of the challenges was to capture highlights and shadows without losing all of the information behind them. Similarly, I’ve been trying to neutralize colors by mixing compliments to create shadows that are delicate and still show the colors underneath.

Oil Painting by Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey, High Tide and the Fog, Oil on Masonite, 14″ x 11″, © 2016

I’ve also been experimenting with brushwork.  Specifically, I’ve been working towards letting go and finding a way between tight and loose.  Brushwork, it seems to me, is like the rhythm of a song.  It can vary greatly and change the feeling of a painting from controlled and orderly to chaotic to lyrical and rhythmic.  In the painting above, I experimented with using different sized brushes to capture some of the movement of the waves near Land’s End by the entrance to the bay.  A light fog was coming in and obscuring the hills in the distance and, in the end, I found this to be the most interesting part of the painting.  I’m definitely going to explore the idea of using fog or haze in future paintings.

Again, thank you for reading and your comments are always appreciated!

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Cold

Watercolor Painting, Overcast

Brian Bailey, Overcast, Watercolor, 8″ x 10″, © 2015

I started another painting outside today and finished it this evening.  It was a colder day and I used a lot of ultramarine blue and burnt umber to reflect the “greyness.”

Knowing When to Stop

Watercolor Painting, A Minute Outside

Brian Bailey, A Minute Outside, Watercolor, 4″ x 4″, © 2015

When pulling together the shapes and lines that make up a composition it can be challenging to determine how much information is enough.  Some of my favorite drawings and paintings exhibit a very economical approach to line, saying just enough to let the viewer see what the artist sees.  In recent weeks, I’ve been doing many gesture drawings, as I’ve mentioned before, and I’m trying to let my paintings be, somewhat, more gestural.  I started my painting today outside with lots of light and finished it at home by bumping up the shadows and contrast.  I’m really trying to stop myself from overworking each painting and I’m pretty happy with how this one looks.  If you have the time, let me know what you think.