Behind the lines

My painting Between the lines has taken me on quite a journey over the last couple of weeks. Some time ago (at the end of posting Paradise), I asked: How CAN you tell when something is finished? Fellow blogger/artist Gabriel Garbow commented: ‘…at some point you have to say, “I’ve taken this as far as I can. I’ve learned all this painting has to teach me.” That’s when you sign it and *move on*.’

I’ve taken Gabriel’s words to heart. Asking if a painting has anything more to teach you really is a useful way of telling when something is finished (with the definition of ‘finished’ being ‘it’s okay to stop now’). I’m happy to declare that Between the lines is finished. And it has taught me a lot…

Work in progress #1 – underpainting – figuring out the composition, the lights and the darks
Work in progress #1 – underpainting – figuring out the composition, the lights and the darks

WIP #1  I used an earthy orange colour (a mixture of yellow ochre and naphthol red) for the underpainting because I wanted the sky to be dramatic and the sunset to glow. I added ultramarine blue (almost everywhere except the sky) and titanium white.

Work in progress #2 – building up colour with glazes
Work in progress #2 – building up colour with glazes

WIP #2  I was tempted to stop at this point because I really liked the simplicity of it and the colours looked stunning. But I felt there was more to learn, so I kept going…

Work in progress #3 – continuing to build up colour, adding details and texture
Work in progress #3 – continuing to build up colour, adding details and texture

WIP #3  I added more layers ― experimenting with transparency/opacity ― and ended up adding so much white that I lost a large chunk of the sunset. I kept going…

Work in progress #4 – adding more layers
Work in progress #4 – adding more layers

WIP #4  I began putting lights over darks and darks over lights ― which, rather predictably, kept turning the sky green and so it needed to be repainted ― and slowly, something magical began to happen. Encouraged, I went on to paint the power lines (thank you rigger brush #2), made a few adjustments to the trees and the cityscape… and signed it.

Between the lines – acrylic on canvas, 305 x 405 mm, 2013.

This is only the second time I’ve used an underpainting (the first was The colour of snow) and I love the results. The way the colours glow is not just a trick of the light coming from the computer screen. Underpainting really does add depth and luminosity.

Shoot it, Sketch it: Between the lines

Between the lines – acrylic on canvas, 305 x 405 mm, 2013.
Between the lines – acrylic on canvas, 305 x 405 mm, 2013.
Telephone lines – Tauranga, 2013.
Telephone lines – Tauranga, 2013.

I have a thing for telephone poles ― I know I’m not the only one.

Painting this was a bit of a mission and took, on and off, nearly two weeks! I’ll post my work-in-progress photos later in the week to give you some idea of the to-ing and fro-ing this painting had to endure.

Shoot it, Sketch it: Sunlight is green

Sunlight is green – acrylic on watercolour paper, 205 x 295 mm, 2013.
Sunlight is green – acrylic on watercolour paper, 205 x 295 mm, 2013.

Here, as promised, is my painting of the sunset in Hagley Park (taken from the same photo I sketched last week). If you’re wondering about the title, it was inspired by something I read in The Acrylic Artist’s Guide to Exceptional Colour by Lexi Sundell. Apparently there is research to suggest that sunlight is not yellow but pale green. Think about that for a minute. Green is a cool colour but sunlight is warm. Other research suggests it may be pale blue. Whatever it is, it seems sunlight is not a warm colour. I don’t know about you but that thought really messes with my head.

Sunlight is green – acrylic on watercolour paper, detail.
Sunlight is green – acrylic on watercolour paper, detail.

Shoot it, Sketch it: Last minute

Hagley Park sunset sketch – ink and watercolour, 205 x 290 mm, 2013.
Hagley Park sunset sketch – ink and watercolour, 205 x 290 mm, 2013.
Hagley Park sunset – Christchurch, 2010.

A last-minute sketch of the last minutes of a sunset in Hagley Park (because the acrylic painting I had planned to post today isn’t quite finished yet). I hope you’ll forgive the slightly blurry photo (my fault for not taking a tripod). Sunsets in the park can be spectacular at this time of year ― yes, we’re well and truly into autumn now in Christchurch.