Sunday, June 17, 2012

Plein Air in the Studio

Nous cherchons toujours Johanssen

Yesterday saw the initial lay-in, below, of this 24x30" canvas. When I stopped, I was hoping for a sighting of Mr. Johanssen, who might explain the unexplained objects in the landscape.

Thus far, no one's seen him.

Today, even without the input from Monsieur J, I've gone ahead and begun to strengthen the drawing my adding transparent color. At this stage, I only want transparency, and so I only use color that is either transparent or which acts transparently in thin applications.

In this particular case, the colors employed were Rembrandt Brownish-Madder, Winsor & Newton Prussian Green, Rembrandt Burnt Umber, Old Holland Ultramarine Blue, and Rembrandt Sap Green.

By using many transparent veils, I can begin to build up masses that are made of many nuanced passages. I find this to be a way of both drawing, and massing, simultaneously. Although the color choices which I make have some relationship to the ultimate color of the various areas, I'm really more interested, at this stage, in refining the values that determine the composition.

At the moment it seems like a very moist, early morning in summer. Tomorrow some real color will come and, one hopes, Johanssen will come, too-----to explain what those shapes in the center of the painting are. They're certainly too big to be hay bales. 

Can't wait to find out.


  1. Clearly M. Johansen has left a hay wagon loaded with bales at the side of the field. Unfortunately the foliage in the foreground is just obscuring the wheels. Johansen must have left with the tractor.

    Nice to see a bit more of your method and paint usage in the earlier stages. I think I am one of the many that want to see a finished painting too early in the game, and hence never get there.

  2. Yes, I think a hay wagon. Or a very very small derailed rail car....

    This is so interesting to see. It is very much the way I work- transparent underpainitng, followed by numerous glazes, then translucent and opaque passages, more glazing, etc.