Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Observation # 10 Barn #1 2014

more Observations    January 16 2014
  -a new year- some old year's past  resolutions renewed-one being to do some 'on the spot'painting  stuff    -'Pleine Aire' to the more sophisticated, on the spot to me but... it is ' tres hiver' -too cold to even draw a bit outside... unless through the car window .
The astute reader might notice I have decided against worrying about my writing- formal writing (sentence structure, syntax  grammar paragraph formation etc etc)
 so, if this works as communication that's cool, the reader might consider a 'take me as you find me'attitude
I don't talk so good either....
But that is not what you came here for(what did you come here for?)-
whatever it was  you'll find this old geezer putting some oil paint on panels and canvas and observing what happens. 
              The first image is the typical monochrome(one colour) sort of--it's a grey on the burnt sienna/raw                       umber base dashed in using a #2 'bright brush (about 1/4 in wide) -a fairly good one. 

   This fall while working hard at procrastinating I prepared over 50 masonite panels and gessoed a few dozen canvases.-even stretched a few myself- this is one of them. 
I've been spending the mornings on my Uncle Mike story-which after 5 or 6 hours is really draining (but it's going well)- that's where I have been trying for some more erudite writing (ahem)That is the mornings after I spend 2-3 hours shoveling- and Blowing snow!
 so now since I have been taking pictures of barns from inside and outside for about 45 years, I have a heck of a lot of them- a lot taken since I got the digital camera-that was about 2003
                  So, why barns?  lots of reasons, I suppose' but it seems to me they are probably quite mundane to city folk  or easily accused of being Cliches or being stereo types, stereotypical hackneyed romantic symbols or something an intellectual would say....about a fading way of life -of the good old days of the family farm. I sure wouldn't fault anyone else for  saying those things but  lately I have been repulsed by artists who take themselves  really seriously and expect others to do the same...so I don't have any 'Deep' personal reasons for doing barns...  personal  sure but not deep...let me just say  some of my first memories are of barns-some of my worthwhile experiences were in barns, some probably sort of profound in the scheme of things and some just plain fun.
                                 I don't feel like the sort of 'Romantic' who sees barns as some really big deal-they are architecturally pretty small potatoes  when you stack them up against the great Cathedrals  of the world. I think I like them for the same reasons that I like bridges  -this shows the looseness of the application of paint thinned a very little bit with Turpentine

                                 I like bridges... as a kid I used to fish off bridges -good memories-walking over the Brooklyn bridge was almost as good as seeing it from a distance...but there is a little (by comparison )'trestle bridge just west of Ripley(believe it or not), that is my all time favourite bridge...but I digress, as of yet I don't have a favourite barn...too many good ones...
                    But I do like the way barns stand out against the sky,or nestle in a valley or lean out over a hill or are surrounded by trees-  the way they look silhouetted against a sunrise-the way they disappear in the fog  and if you happen to have been in a rural Ontario barn in the evening during a cold winter evening while your cousins were 'doing the Chores',  with the 60 watt bulbs  burning and the radio, on CKNX  turned down low...I remember that  looking like a Rembrandt scene-that mellow warm light-with deep shadows.
And barns are a lot bigger than they look from the road.
   Yeah I was a country kid. My Parents left farming before I was born.  Although I always lived in the country as a kid I only experienced other people's barns. For part of an unusual summer I milked 21 or so Holstein cows for a local farmer who tried to make a man out of me...and I do appreciate the time I spent with that man of the soil. There were two local farmers actually with whom I had good barn  learning experiences. I think I was 13 or 14 when I learned just how beautiful a summer sunrise is when you walk through the grass to 'get the cows'. This stage shows the addition of some cerulean blue tinted with white.

              But now I'd like to just do some landscapes with barns in them, or barns with landscapes around them. As always I'm not sure where this will take me....part of the fun is exploring what a painting directs me to do and  if I can make something that is aesthetically pleasing - make a pleasant  interesting image  then I'll be satisfied.
                          Don't think that any big psychologically or socially significant observations will come of this....Mostly I'll be commenting on the procedure.... but just now as I look out my window to the west the winter sky has a warm glow   and I suddenly recall the 3 or 4  barn fires I saw as a kid-----huge powerful events- unforgettable at any age.....and tragic.....
           Here one can see the addition of a patch of manganese blue sky and some Turners yellow that I                     knew at the time was too yellow but thought I should give it a chance. I don't really know what I'm                          doing at this stage -A LA PRIMA (at the first go ) painting ain't my forte

     So that's  a couple of pics of my set up and a laying in  of a barn on the edge of a long low valley with a crooked rail fence. My oil paint consists of 'some tubes that are 40 years old  most of it  over 15  years old and  here is something to remember : Scarlet Lake(that is a  kind of a plum red) cannot be reconstituted
---I think I'll cut the tube in half for fun to show how hard a 30 year old tube of paint can get---thinking about it maybe I could scrape the paint out of the tube and grind it with linseed oil-maybe later...
Most of  what I have is in pretty good shape. I keep the lids on things. At over $ 100.00 for a 150 ml of some colours (that's  like a normal tube of toothpaste ) who could afford to leave the top off ?
  I'm using quick dry medium made by Demco and by the smell in this room will have to get some odorless turpentine (and keep the doors to the  rest of the house closed)
 -one more thing-   I'm saying now that I  intend to do these without doing any preliminary drawing  and without  a lot of delineation (detail) (line work)- keep them about the shapes and space-but I wouldn't believe me if I were you... I'd like to go for atmosphere and a mood--I'm not thinking about what dangers lie ahead for the serious artist (and I am a serious artist (sure you are).
              It does not matter to me that next to bad paintings of Birch trees, bad paintings of barns are right up there with the worst of the worst.  At this point I think I'll just put the stages in without much comment -You can see for yourself what was done--you may not think whatever it was, was the right thing to do... I wonder about that myself but what the heck I never let 'doubt' stand in the way-be paralyzed if I did...
   When I was at OCA and later at the University of Guelph ..someone accused me of being a member of the                                   Dead Barn School...never phased me a bit...good to be self referential.
                      If, and it's a big IF, I can remember to take pictures as I go along , this might be something I'll learn something from..... if anyone else does that's good, but it's not my goal  -  too much like teaching. I'd have to do it right!  
                   Here's a close-up that shows a change in that too yellow band of colour just above the barn-above the right side of the barn roof  you can see that the colour has gone from that yellow to a more orange red colour.  I used cadmium red and white with some of the intensity diminished by adding a little sap green-                  at this point I also notice that the top contour of the barn shape is awfully wiggly  -
           Some one asked me a while ago if I miss teaching.....yes and no is the best answer I can think of , but it just hit me that maybe I am attracted to doing this because it feels a bit like the fun I used to have showing                   kids how to do things..then watching their  'doings'....  by "this", I mean this Blog.
   The other thing noticed were those rather un natural horizontal bands of colour -the way the bottom band                                           of blue was so uniform in width seems poor...so...
     Trouble is, here in this blog thing I feel like I'm talking to myself and finding that I'm not a great listener....so if anyone ever reads this,    how about a comment... or a joke or a suggested  blog for me.
                             Time to add the vine  or is it ivy that had climbed up the side of the barn-there have been other changes too as you've no doubt noticed  the barn boards have been altered  some darker some lighter -and now to see if that red is too full of itself books on colour like to point out something about red not                                                         having a lot of energy , but I wonder....
here's a close up pretty red eh ?...well that's easy to fix
this may not be the final 'fix', but it is the final image in this section

I know this is way to long , but....
Now it's time to step back and see what I think of the 'Whole'
-been looking at the 'Parts' too long
Right now I can see that that dark triangle of the small building on the left is 
demanding my attention too much-but there is hope .
Is it appropriate in a Blog to say :"until next time"
-etiquette  and 'proper form' is so important !
 Here's a look at the palette just before I wipe it clean 
it's always fun to fool around with colour