Wednesday, January 18, 2006

It's been a productive day in the studio. A new painting was started and is well on it's way, and several works in progress have, well, made progress. The finishing touches went on a couple of things. One painting I thought was finished, and it already had a coat of matte varnish, and was ready to scan. Sometimes it isn't until it's up on my computer screen at 300 dpi, that I realize that something just isn't right. So it was back to the easel with that one, just for a minor touchup, and now it will have to dry and be varnished all over again. The work isn't really over when the painting is finished. There is the drying time, during which it can look patchy and ugly until the final varnish is applied. Then after the varnish is dry, the painting must be documented, which used to mean waiting until several works were finished, then loading a slide film into the camera and setting up the tripod and the lights, and doing a full photo shoot. Nowadays, everything just gets scanned, at full resolution, then a duplicate is saved at a lower resolution for the website. The next step is framing, if the piece requires it, or sending the work off to have professional prints made. It can be months after the painting is finished that it can actually hang on the wall of a gallery.
Speaking of finishing things, I'll post the finished version of the Coach and Four watercolor. I kept this one light and loose.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The driveway is icy, the paddock is filled with snow on top of mud. Yet, I like this time in January, when there aren't a whole lot of things going on. I can finally settle down and focus on some work. Painting is progressing much more slowly this winter than usual. I think my new camera is stealing a lot of my time. I take a few pictures, I download them, I fiddle with them. All this time could be spent at the easel...but there will be time for that too.
I have a show to get ready for in March. Still far enough away to feel that I could perhaps have a new painting or two to exhibit. Yet I don't want to leave too much for the last minute. I'm trying to think about driving, carriage driving in particular. The show in question is the Driving Forum, a conference for carriage driving enthusiasts. I haven't been to a driving event in quite a while, so I'm going back through old packets of photos taken at the World Pair Driving Championships, Coaching Weekends in Newport, or other carriage shows. I've found a few promising reference shots, but it's hard to get excited when they aren't fresh and new. The challenge lies in going through the photos with new eyes, looking for something I didn't see in them before. The four-in-hand coaches in Newport provide plenty of painting fodder, Now to just sit down and draw all that harness and carriage paraphernalia. It's not just four horses--it's sixteen legs, four wheels, traces, buckles, collars, reins, and seven or eight people with top hats and lap robes! The image attached is of a work in progress, no background yet--it's a small watercolor, about 8 inches long. This size really helps cut down on the amount of detail I need to portray. The horses need to be darkened up a bit, still, and the background is just going to be a suggestion of the grand old trees on the Newport estate.