Thursday, September 24, 2015

New Work and Another Idea!

During The Storm
12" x 16" acrylic on wc paper
I worked on the above piece early last week. The image is derived from a set of paper sketches that I did last month. I got a little crossed on my color ideas. I had a plan in mind but I also had the image of the paper sketch that I had done. As so often happens, I get a little confused about my original goal. In this case I am fine with things because I used a color and some mixes that I don't normally use and so I feel like I learned a few things.

Currently I am working on another piece that is similar in concept to this one I did earlier this month. I worked out the design last weekend and earlier this week. Rather than doing a complete drawing I worked from some little sketches done while out and about last week. I also worked from my written impressions. I began things by selecting some colors and by placing the largest areas of color first. After that I went on to smaller shapes and then some final details. It was very much like putting a puzzle together and in fact I actually worked the thing like a traditional puzzle, walking by my easel and paper at times and adding and subtracting pieces, trying things out to see if they fit. Guess those puzzles I did when I was a kid paid off! I won't say what the piece is about just yet but for anyone of my age group, or anyone else who might want to know, here is a little video from our collective youth.

I also want to pass along something that has been helping me both personally and in my art life. If anyone reading is like me, getting stuck in a rut is sort of a fact of life. Routines can be very helpful and rules provide predictable outcomes, which can be comforting. (If you haven't guessed already I like structure!) There are times though when outside-the-box thinking is required. Lately I have been asking myself a two-pronged set of questions: What if...? and Then what...? Here is an example. I started with the fact that I worry about running out of mixtures once I start painting. I mix my colors from the 3 primaries, mixing what I think is enough to cover a sheet or two of paper. What if I run out? It's hard to remix that exact same color again. (My work is limited to a few shapes with their inherent values and chroma so stuff like this stands out.) This problem has stifled me many times, causing a little anxiety in getting going. Here is the set of questions I asked myself. What if I don't mix up enough paint of that hue and value? OK, what about it? Then in that case, what if I mixed additional paint in the same value but with a slight temperature shift? Can I accept this? The value is the same, the chroma is the same but I have shifted temperature. No big deal. I wouldn't have thought of this because my routine is to mix just that one color. I have been lucky so far and haven't run out. But what if I did? I have used this type of questioning in other areas including making judgments about people, doing unfamiliar things, and discovering different ways of looking at the world. Give it a try. I can guarantee that you will come to love it!

OK, no studio tour for me this weekend. I mentioned that in a mid month newsletter. I am continuing to work on the new piece that I mentioned above. Our weather has been glorious and I couldn't be happier. There is a lot less smoke in the air and I have been able to resume my walks. I even went for a small hike on Tuesday! Good stuff.

Hope everyone is having a good week. Thanks for reading and commenting.


  1. I like the piece very much. Subdued in comparison to the previous post, but a great way to see the range you have.
    Happy the air is clear and you have resumed your walking. It was an awful time for so many.
    I am a planner so all my life I have had to have a back-up plan for most things. I totally understand what you are saying. Or in Girl Scout prepared!
    Great you are passing the helpful hints on.

  2. That sounds like a workable solution to that scenario, Libby. I agree with Julie that the colors in this one are more subdued, and think that darker blue you used serves as an eye-catcher. I like the way you put a dulled shade of the tan in a slightly darker value at the bottom. To me, it provides a grounding of the piece but doesn't distract from the whole.

    1. Thanks Carol. The colors did turn out more neutralized than some other pieces I have done, which seems fine. It isn't a set of colors that I really enjoy working with but I am glad that I did. That purple for the mountains though was interesting. The chroma got out of control pretty easily and so it was a challenge to get it reigned in enough to get balanced with everything else (or visa versa). Always something to learn!

      Hope you are doing well. We have some slightly cooler weather coming up and then hot again!


  3. Dear Libby catching up on your posts. This piece really is wonderful in its design. I can sense the perspective by the use of warm tones in the forefront and the cooler tones in the background. I also like how you complimented the yellows with that wonderful strip of purple. Well done friend. Your video of that song electricity had me smiling. Liked your questions of what if or then what? Have taken your lead from a previous post about thinking before making that brushstroke. Now will be asking myself what if too. Thank you for your great post and thoughts friend. I will be emailing you soon. Hugs


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