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.

Varenna Sparkle

I'm calling this one complete. Maybe a tweak or two to come, but I feel like I have been looking at this painting so intently that I need to take step back from it for a while and start something new.

Varenna Sparkle" Oil on Linen, 20x24"  ©Jennifer E Young

Varenna Sparkle" Oil on Linen, 20x24" ©Jennifer E Young

This is a painting of the harbor of Varenna in beautiful Lake Como. It's a theme I have explored a few times now in different compositions. The complement of warm and cool colors really attract me. This one took me a while, but it got me through a number of cold, wintry days filled with bitter wind and ice. Maybe it was a complicated piece, or maybe I just enjoyed all that sparkle and warmth and wanted to linger a bit ;-).

A new year, a new painting

Welcome to 2015! I will spare you the laundry list of lofty goals or resolutions, mainly because I don't have one! Seriously though, my one overarching goal for this year is to paint more often and more consistently. That shouldn't be too hard to obtain, right? I've had some obstacles lately but they are not insurmountable, and to prove it, here is a new studio piece I've been blocking in:

Lake Como Italy landscape painting in progress by Jennfier E Young
Lake Como Italy landscape painting in progress by Jennfier E Young

This composition might look familiar to you. And there's a reason for that! It's based on a little gouache study I did not too long ago, only scaled up considerably (from 4x5" to 20x24") and in oils. Much more to go on this, but it's a decent start, and the year is young.  ;-)

Varenna mini gouache study

Thought I'd do a little experimenting with this fun little 5x6" study in gouache.

"Colors of Varenna (study) Gouache on Cottonwood Arts Coldpress paper, 5x6" © Jennifer Young

"Colors of Varenna (study) Gouache on Cottonwood Arts Coldpress paper, 5x6" ©Jennifer Young

Here I'm just trying to get an idea about my lights and shadows and the basic shapes, so I've not much detail. For this composition I experimented with using a compositional grid that we studied during Kevin Macpherson's workshop (you can probably make out some of it in pencil beneath the gouache. I mentioned it briefly in my last post, but basically this is a method to achieve an informal subdivision of space, as discussed in Andrew Loomis' book called Creative Illustration:

loomisgoldensection
loomisgoldensection

After I learned more about this "grid thing", I realized that I had often been using this kind of subdivision intuitively. But it is good to have a tool handy to be more deliberate about it when one wants to, or if you are dealing with a complicated subject and are trying to decide what to leave in, what to edit out, and how to arrange a painting for the most pleasing effects.

It's been a while since I have worked with gouache and had forgotten that the colors shift a bit when they dry. Nevertheless I had a good time and really look forward to working with them again.