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.”
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.
It seems that when I look upon a building, landscape, or any other thing I see and want record with a drawing or painting, I am feeling some relation to the order and balance of it. It comes to life in the process of reordering the elements on paper and trying regain the memory of the thing, even as it’s right in front of me. The process and the memory of that moment when all that was in front of me was in perfect order, combine and have personal meaning. The crucial part in drawing and painting seems to be in the beginning. If the objects are out of alignment from the start, the rest of the work can feel like a chase for something just out of reach. Some works become truly special and others are abandoned. I like the process of keeping this blog as a journal of each day’s small success or failure. I don’t hold back works and some are better than others but it feels good to see them all together.
On my ventures out to sketch, I’ve probably walked by this van a hundred times and never without briefly looking over to admire it. The lines of the body, the windows, and the utility of its design capture my imagination for a moment and become one more piece of my life in San Francisco, where Volkswagen vans still abound. My walks around the city, not only looking for subjects to sketch or paint, are spent forming a relationship with life right here and now. I’m recording the small things that are special and meaningful. I feel a great devotion to things, whether it’s a van or a shadow cast over the rooftop of a house that I otherwise have no connection to. The places and things that I pass by on my way through life leave fingerprints on my mind and memories. Maybe that’s why drawing and painting have become so important to me. Each drawing represents a tiny fraction of how I look at the world.
While on a walk, I noticed an old car that looked right at home in front of a yellow house that might be around the same age. I believe it was a Volvo and I was walking through the Richmond district of San Francisco where the houses are a bit newer than the Victorian style homes scattered around the city. It’s still intriguing to me how a slight change in lighting can dramatically change the appearance of a house or, really, anything.
It was my goal to make a blog post with a new watercolor painting every weekday for the rest of April. I’d have to look back to find the exact day that I started, but I made it and now I’m diving into May. I’m going to keep up with the postings and paintings for another month. It’s been very rewarding and I truly appreciate all of the likes and comments from readers.
A quick reminder, all of the paintings from this blog are for sale in my Etsy store, ArtFromBrian. If you have any questions about buying a painting, feel free to contact me here or through Etsy. Thanks again!