Spring is excellent for working outdoors. The sun speeds up the drying, and makes for perfect work light. I have been working on a few commissions for ICART lately, including a series of paintings for the Artic class 6 cruise ship Viking Octantis. At the moment I’m doing two new paintings for a new ship. I will come back to this in a future post.
As for now, less works are getting into my galleries, as they are mostly reserved. The outdoor option will hopefully speed things up and get more new canvases going.
Here are som pictures from the batch I’m currently working on. None of these are finished.
Sometimes I get into situations when a certain area seems impossible to resolve, even after several attempts. This problem might derive from a too limited scope of input. A restricted set of solutions are reserved for each individual type of area. Some very few examples being the sky and clouds, the bare fields of dry beige gras, the rocky patches, snow patches, and as in this instance: Ice drifting on water. For each type, there seem to be a protocol. A go to solution. Sometimes that falls short.
It works 95% of the time, so why not here? Is there another magic tool in toolbox?
Help might come from rather unexpected sources.
I’m currently making a 130 x180 cm piece for a client. Now, the photo was taken by the commissioner himself, and it seemed a great starting point, however I did not take into consideration the vast area of water in the foreground. This turned out to be my achilleas this time. I planned to construct a pattern of ice to replace the non-event of the dark water of the original picture.
I applied a series of layers, and this usually does the job. After a few rounds, I was at an impasse. I was surely going in circles. One layer after the other. More structures and even more icebergs on top. Too much space and no real dynamic.
As a last resort, I took the painting outside and gave it a heavy rub with sandpaper. This sort of «restart» sometimes gives me a better chance at starting fresh. The sanding created a lot of white and blue grains in the water, a somewhat milky touch. It was starting to look a bit more interesting, but “no sigar”.
Then I heard a faint thunder, shifting winds and at last heavy rains followed suit. In a split second I stopped myself from rescuing the painting into the studio. I simply let the rain hammer the surface for a short moment. Shortly, an amazing structure appeared in the milky white and blue. It was like I was saying: «Well, nature, I can’t resolve this, now you have a go». The randomness of nature can be great if harnessed and captured.
For the next two exhibitions I have been on an unusually tight schedule, thus having to make the production process as efficient as possible. Alas, no time for a range of new motifs and prototypes. There will hopefully be time for that later on this year.
Outside my studio.
Nevertheless, experiments can also be focused on ground already covered. By taking up some of my most valued references, I was able to work towards an array of my best compositions so far, and bring them a notch furter.
Thea giving the canvas a decent scrubbing. It’s hard work!
So, did this loop approach make any difference as to saving valuable time? I would say it probably did, although I find myself in a notorious habit of getting involved in some strange detail, effect or other aspect, only to see it it swiftly gone in a whim of sandpaper madness.
Like the nature I try to convey, it’s never predictable.
I simply love the way this one turned out. A slightly rougher approach. Perhaps this will be my M.O. for the next series.