Some notes on the stages so far for Beth's Painting.
The first four images show the completion of Stage 2. Beth took photographs of Stage 1, so I need to get those and upload them to her page. This stage shows the next level of underpainting with the first addition of thin washes of color and marking more of the essence of the tree with ebony pencil, and then "washing" it in with turpenoid (with a shout out, as always, to Marsha Skinner). At this point I let this dry thoroughly over a couple of weeks while spending a lot of time living with the tree and its markings and listening to the colors and lines. Once I reached a place of semi-satisfaction (I'm rarely if ever satisfied) I moved onto Stage 3, which are the next four images.
Stage 3 is what I call the cleansing of the palette, so to speak. Another layer more than a Stage, and adds both texture, subtley so as not to get any impasto technique, and a desire for a numinous, almost unseen layer that plays with the light and acts like a membrane to the underpainting/underdrawing. Here I used a combination of some pigment (small amounts of Titanium White and Titanium Buff - oils of course) mixed with encaustice, liquin and res n gel. I brushed this on in very thin layers and this Stage is a veil between the inner essence of the tree and what will be the outer essence of the tree when I begin Stage 4 this week, which is adding the color palette, which I am still rolling around with trying to wrestle the right colors to the ground. This stage needed a few weeks to set and dry because of the mixtures of medium and pigment and is ready for the true oil painting to occur.
Some thoughts on composition. First, I'm pleased, and satisfied. I like the twist and turn of the tree and the tension caused by the undulation. The tree seems grounded, but a bit off balance. The branches, which I do not like calling them, are bent downward and lurching upward and then lundging down with a hope of generating a dynamic upward reach, but held down with the weight of the lower portion of the image. This is a classic in my trees and is a symbol of my wife Claudia and me. Our relationship is so balanced and we live off of and with each other, each of us in a dynamic dance - my reaching and stretching for the skies and her groundedness and holding on to me so that I don't fly apart and fly to the sun and melt my wings. The composition should continue to be strengthened by the palatte.
The last four images are shots taken of my notes and the binder, Beth's Painting, which captures these thoughts and much more and will be given to Beth when I complete the painting and deliver the tree to its home overlooking Lake Michigan!
Signing off for now on 30 October 2010, 2:23pm CST.