A new look and a new painting!

There were times this week when I really doubted that this announcement would come, but I finally have my new website up. Hurray! There were a few glitches along the way (and there still may be some kinks to work out yet) but overall I am pretty happy with the fresh new look.

Speaking of fresh and new, I'll also share a newly finished painting.

"Daytrippers, Lake Como, Cobra Oils on linen,  20x24" ©Jennifer E Young

"Daytrippers, Lake Como, Cobra Oils on linen,  20x24" ©Jennifer E Young

I actually blogged about the start of this piece a while ago but I got to a point where I just had to take it off of the easel for a while and let it marinate. Sometimes the best way to approach a problem is to do something completely different for a while , so that's exactly what I did. When I was ready to return I could look at it with new eyes (albeit bloodshot ones from staying up late trying to get my website up and running) and bring it to a satisfactory conclusion.

A new thing-a-majig and a new painting

In the wake of the plein air weekend I wrote of in my last post, last week was mostly a recovery week for me. I did manage to get a new studio painting started, however. This is the initial tonal sketch on a 20x24" linen canvas.

Tonal sketch

Tonal sketch

This painting  may prove to be a challenge for me because much of this scene is in shadow. But there are a few pops of light that I am arranging in strategic places that I hope will carry the painting. Hey, you never know unless you try, right?

As with the other recent studio oils, I'm working with water miscible paints. One thing I'm noticing with these paints is that the paint blobs on my palette tend to gum up a little quicker once they are laid out, especially when I can't get back to the studio within a day. The manufacturer, Royal Talens recommends in their product info to mist the unused paints with a little water and cover  with foil to keep them moist and reduce the exposure to air. I have never liked putting plastic or foil directly on my paints though, because I feel that it wastes too much in the removal (yes I realize there is a bit of faulty logic in there but we all have our pet peeves).  So I'm experimenting with this:

cakepan_lid.jpg

What you are seeing is a basic 9x13" cake pan covered with a silicone doo-jobby that I found on Amazon. It is supposed to create an airtight seal, and the cake pan is deep enough that this cover-thing doesn't actually touch the paint. Whether it will be sufficient to keep the paint from oxidizing remains to be seen. I haven't been back at the easel since Saturday so I guess I will find out this morning when I go to work. I will report back with my findings, as well as an update on my progress with the painting, in an upcoming post.

Bellagio From Above--Redux

The painting below was completed a while ago and has been sitting in my office since the move to our new home. So  I have had a lot of  opportunity to look at it lately with new eyes:

Version 1

Version 1

 While I liked the painting before, I felt it could be improved and opened up a bit more to give this view a little more breathing room. So I looked back through my image archives from my trip to the Italian lakes and found several different views from this approximate vantage point. I then followed my own guidance and decided to play around with the composition in Photoshop to see "what would happen if..." I really wanted to capture more of the beauty of the lush blues in the lake and the mountains beyond:

"Bellagio From Above" Oil on linen, 20x16" ©Jennifer E Young

"Bellagio From Above" Oil on linen, 20x16" ©Jennifer E Young

Of course, one change lead to another and my minor edits became quite a re-working. I oiled out the areas I wanted to repaint, and then set to task. This doesn't always work for me, as sometimes the paint layers have too much " skin' or texture, but this time around I guess the paint was more evenly applied.  I really like the way this turned out! It is much more aligned with the concept I had from the start- only now a little better executed.

Bellagio Promenade

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been working on a large(ish) painting of the Bellagio promenade that leads to the Villa Melzi. It took me a little longer to bring this painting to a conclusion and, because I painted at night, my progress shots were too bad to post. So what I am sharing today is the final piece:

"Bellagio Promenade" Oil on Linen, 24x30"  Jennifer E Young

"Bellagio Promenade" Oil on Linen, 24x30" Jennifer E Young

 Because I had to work on this over a succession of days, I worked pretty lean until the last couple of sessions. In the end though, this bad boy has a lot of paint! Of all of the places I have visited so far in Italy, Lake Como in general, and Bellagio in particular, hovers near the top of my list for achieving that dazzling combination of natural and man-made beauty. The trifecta of pre-Alpine mountains, deep blue waters and classic Italian architecture dripping with flowers is pretty hard to beat.

New Lake Como painting in progress

School's out this week due to snow, so my painting time is catch as catch can. Nevertheless, we have been conspiring with other desperate parents to arrange play dates here and there, which allows a little painting and blogging time. So I thought I'd share the Bellagio painting I have my easel this week. This is a promenade on the outskirts of bella Bellagio, leading to the stunning grounds of the Villa Melzi.  This view however, looks back towards the town. Apologies in advance for the poor quality photos and the cast shadow of part of my easel on the painting. I don't have a lot of time to photo edit anything but the final these days, so I hope you will bear with me. I start in the usual fashion, with a loose sketch of my composition in Burnt Sienna:

Lake Como painting demo by Jennifer Young
Lake Como painting demo by Jennifer Young

Next I lay in the shadow family and darkest notes.

Lake Como painting demo by Jennifer Young
Lake Como painting demo by Jennifer Young

At this point I'm laying in some general blocks of color. Still no highlights yet...

Lake Como painting demo by Jennifer Young
Lake Como painting demo by Jennifer Young

And here's my starting point this morning:

Lake Como painting demo by Jennifer Young
Lake Como painting demo by Jennifer Young

Next I will continue blocking in, including the water and distant village. I'm still working up the nerve to paint outside while there's snow on the ground, but we will see. Not much of a fan of the cold, but that snow sure is pretty.