Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Unfinished Symphony

For information about the Plein-air Workshop in Holland, please visit  www.donaldjurneyworkshop.blogspot.com   

The Ultimate Dead Painting

Yesterday Brian MacNeil, Brian Martin, Tony Bevilacqua, Paul Batch, Eden Compton, Kelly Carmody, Leo Mancini-Hresko and I converged at the Blackstone River and Canal Heritage Park, in Uxbridge, Massachusetts for some plein air painting.

It was a first meeting for many of the artists and, I think, the beginning of many new friendships. Of course there was shop talk, good humor, and a general sense of camaraderie.

I believe everyone came home with at least one painting to show for the day.

But not me.

I was painting the river, a view where the opposite banks begin to converge as the river moves away. I made a reasonable start, but soon I had too much paint on the panel. This led to a series of bad decisions and, ultimately, to my wiping out the whole thing. You could still see some pentimento.

This morning, when I got to the studio, I brought the panel in from the car. The color, a sort of velvety warm gray with some darker, tarnished pewter bits, invited me to make something of it.

I started in, imagining a sea painting where the water would be hemmed in between opposing land masses. This is what I got.

This will give you an idea of the initial mark making. I was just playing, as I'm wont to do, waiting for something to catch my imagination.

 Here, as you can see, I added some height on the left, and really beefed up the foreground. I erased the horizon line and made some ripples in the lower right. At this stage the panel had the feeling of a very still moment, just before dawn.

But I didn't like the far peninsula, and the suggestion of a mystery vertical in the distance. I modeled the left-hand cliffs a bit, and generally just made things more solid. 

I liked the sense of cul-de-sac created by the opposing cliffs, but I found myself thinking more about towering sea cliffs than about this protected anchorage.

So I made some changes.

Because I had an afternoon appointment, I had to stop at this point. I rather like moonlit coolness of this stage. 

Here's a detail for those of you who can't live without them. 

The initial grisaille was done with a mixture of burnt umber and ultramarine, as is my custom. The far cliffs are mostly ultramarine. The sky is a mixture of Cassel Earth and white, the moon being just a small flick of pure titanium/zinc white.

Tomorrow I'll stare at it for a while, and make a final commitment to a subject. Another hour should find it done.


Just five weeks 'til Holland! Please note, in the section on classes, that there's a class sponsored by the Ogunquit Summer School of Art on 14-15 August. Sign up and paint the sea with us!

The Ogunquit Summer School of Art Ogunquit, Maine
 14-15 August 2014
27-28 September 2014
Contact them at 603-819-9100

4-12 September, Alkmaar, NL Contact me about this dbjurney@verizon.net TWO PLACES REMAINING

Toronto 6-10 October 2014
Contact me about this. dbjurney@verizon.net THIS CLASS IS FULL

Norway August 2015
Contact me to receive information as it becomes  available. dbjurney@verizon.net

Wales A possible 2015 workshop for the Welsh Academy of Art.


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