Monday, May 29, 2017

From Abstract to Representational

Recently I participated in a challenge on an artist forum.  We were given several photos to choose from to use as references, the catch was the photos were all very blurry and just contained abstract shapes.  From these reference we were to come up with all the details.  This is the photo I chose to base my painting on;

art reference black white blurry challenge

Of course I picked this one because it immediately suggested a landscape to me.   I could see a tree and bushes bordering the right side and pine trees in the distance, but what else?  I started the painting by blocking in using a brush and only the abstract photo for a reference.  Doing that was kind of an exercise that jump started my creativity and the rest of the image came into focus in my mind.  This is the result;

art painting palette knife lake mountain wilderness nature
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"Mountain Lake"

 8" X 10", Acrylic on 1/8" panel

As you can see I modified the composition a bit and switch to palette knives.  I moved the background tree shapes a but more to the left and extended them to the left edge.  I also added the distant mountain shapes and altered the foreground shapes a bit.  So, from a blurry photo of nothing emerges a mountain landscape with a lake and evergreen trees, who'da thunk it?  That's the advantage of having spent a lot of time painting and sketching from life, I've got thousands of images embedded in my brain for helping me come up with something to fill a space when the photo reference is lacking, and in this case the reference was lacking just about everything.

Here are a couple of detail close ups;

art painting closeup texture palette knife acrylic
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art painting palette knife detail texture closeup
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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Green and Out

Continuing my palette knife series, this time an abandoned 1957 Chevy heavy truck left to rot in a grassy field viewed from the front.

art painting truck palette knife Chevy vintage abandoned
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"Green and Out"

12" X 12", Acrylic on 2" deep cradled panel

I again I pushed the abstraction on this one, almost as much as I did in "Red Abstract Tractor"  In some ways that's a bigger challenge on a truck, there are more details that need to remain recognizable, I still want someone to be able to recognize the make and year of the truck, using a palette knife to paint sure makes that a challenge.

I painted this one in a square format, not only is the square perfect for these head on vehicle views but I just happened to have a deep cradled panel on hand that was 12x12 and wanted to use it, I painted the sides black.  What I like about deep cradled panels is not only can they be hung without a frame but since the sides are perfectly flat unlike gallery wrapped canvases they can just be set down on a shelf or any other flat, horizontal surface.

Here are a couple close up of areas of the painting so you can see the texture and knife strokes.

art painting palette knife green Chevy truck abstract
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art painting abstract detail palette knife stroke

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Thicker and More Abstract

Using a palette knife instead of a brush for painting presents the opportunity for thicker paint application and a more abstract painting style.  I decided to try pushing both of those qualities when painting this small landscape.

art painting palette knife abstract landscape rural country land
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"Open Spaces"

12" X 9", Acrylic on 1/8" panel

As you can see the wide open spaces of the countryside is my inspiration for this painting, it often is.  I kept the palette knife loaded heavily and the strokes free and overlapping to help push the abstraction while keeping the subject recognizable. There's a great deal of freedom in painting this way.

Here are a couple of zoomed in details of small areas of the painting.  Here you can really see how thick the paint is and how random the strokes appear to be but when you zoom out and see the whole image it becomes something familiar.

art abstract painting landscape detail zooomed in
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art abstract painting landscape detail zooomed in
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