During the past 18 months, July 2007 to December 2008, I worked in three genres: still life, floral, and landscape;— using relatively small supports: 4×5 to 11×14 inches. Small formats made it possible to develop many rough drafts rather than possibly stall in pursuit of larger sustained paintings. It also facilitated painting every day for a period of six months between March and August of 2008.
I primarily worked from life in natural light in single sessions. Black and white ink or pencil drawings were done as both preliminary studies and as daily drawings. The benefits of doing multiple images of similar subjects in different media were: to increase my ability to handle complexity within time limited sessions; reveal qualitative differences between wet and dry media; and to improve my touch with each. Throughout 2008, I also made gouache copies of master paintings by working from computer prints with pencil grids for closer accuracy of copying by eye. There was a richly interactive learning process between working from life and copying masterpieces.
Supports used for oil painting were rectangular and square gessoed masonite panels, commercially prepared portrait linen adhered panels, stretched linen, and Arches 300 lb cold press watercolor paper coated with acrylic matte medium and gesso. Most of the grounds were white; occasionally saturated or mid-tone grounds were used. Recently, an 11×14-inch ratio was maintained across multiple media, pencil, ink, gouache, and oil, to reinforce familiarity with the spatial opportunities of a specific set of dimensions.
In 2009 I will continue to focus on the basics: color and light, composition, open form, point of view, and the calligraphic and material qualities of hand rendered media. I want to match in oil the contrast and energy that my drawings have to achieve a consistent appearance in my work. I expect to continue to work in small sizes while adding somewhat larger sizes, up to 24×24 inches. I will continue to develop images from direct observation on a personal scale.
ABOVE: Studio wall — oils, 4 x 8 feet (1.22 x 2.5 mm), 1/23/09