Saturday, January 09, 2010

playing it safe

Traffic Cop, oil on canvas, 16" x 20"

My first foray into experimenting with oil paint is complete! I played it safe with this smallish painting, but I'm not beating myself up about it. There's plenty of room for self-flagellation with future paintings! I took the photo at my kids' school on a foggy day in November and didn't stray from the original subject matter or play with style as I wanted to concentrate more on technique. I painted the foreground much like it was an acrylic painting, with hard edges, minimal fussing and a little of the underpainting showing through. The background was more experimental as I played with brushstrokes and blending to create a softer effect (click to enlarge). Such fun and such a departure for me! And with virtually no colour in the composition even my kids weren't sure that I was the artist.

While painting I thought about the power of self confidence in any kind of creative endeavour. It's easy to identify work done by artists who paint with ego and conviction. It's really hard to define but there's an unmistakable dynamic quality. I want to paint in oil with the same kind of sure-footedness I bring to my acrylic paintings. One day maybe.


Blogger paula said...

alright andrea it is time to educate me on your process. and i hesitate to even ask lest i seem rude/crude/inane.
i am curious since i am not this kind of artist.....what is it that draws you when you see something you like and take a picture of it, to then want to paint what you saw? i hope that doesn't sound stupid...i'm interested in understanding/knowing more.
when i saw this i thought oh its that photo...then i realized you painted it! you did a MARVELOUS job with that fog and parking/loading signs. its awesome!

10/1/10 7:22 a.m.  
Blogger secret agent woman said...

I really like that - it has a wonderful almost spooky feel.

10/1/10 7:26 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Paula: Wow -- your comment was a reality check for me. I knew I'd played it safe but I hadn't realized that I'd played it so safe that at first glance it looked like the photo. Whoops. I didn't think I was that kind of painter! I needed that wake-up call. As for the question about inspiration -- I can't really answer that. Normally I don't paint exactly what I see in a photo but there's something about the combinbation of colours, composition and busy/restful areas that really works for me. When I do landscapes or cityscapes it's all about the visual. The symbolic paintings are more about an abstract idea and are a bringing together of that process. Clear as mud? Good question, though!

SAW: Thanks -- that's what attracted me about the subject matter.

10/1/10 8:18 a.m.  
Blogger paula said...

well at first glance from a distance, yeah it looks like the photo it wasn't til i got my big head so small and looked closely i realized of course its a painting. i'm a little relieved to hear you prefer to mix it up more and this was more a 'safe' painting.
as i look at your other work i like the creative aspect, well, prefer it more lets put it that way.
but hey we all do safe sometimes, its how we can have the balls to be wild!

10/1/10 11:10 a.m.  
Blogger Kelly said...

It doesn't look at all like a photo to me. I really like it and I like your oil style so far. Love the way you divided the negative space into interesting between the wires and branches.

10/1/10 1:48 p.m.  
Blogger Costescu said...

Love all the soft brushstrokes & texture in the trees. The eery fog is very cool too :) Looks like oil is agreeing with you ;)

10/1/10 6:54 p.m.  
Blogger Hayden said...

wow, very moody.

10/1/10 7:11 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Thanks all for the words of encouragement!

10/1/10 9:44 p.m.  
Blogger Ian Lidster said...

Love it.

11/1/10 9:34 a.m.  
Blogger Lisa Riehl said...

Your painting is great. And I don't really find it all that different from your acrylics. It still says "Andrea did it".

11/1/10 1:21 p.m.  
Blogger San said...

Really sweet technique, Andrea. And your found composition is delightful. You are SO talented.

11/1/10 2:36 p.m.  
Blogger Costescu said...

omg that is too funny, I was looking at it again and noticed that it says Bridlington Drive in your painting, and the crow to the left so for a second I thought it said Birdlington Drive so I had to go back to the original photo to check, of course I can't see it in the talk about drawing the viewer in, even the slower viewers like me ;)

11/1/10 10:41 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

You guys are great And Tracey -- you're not the only one to do a double take at the sign. Even I did and I've been looking at that sign for a dozen years now!

12/1/10 8:45 a.m.  
Blogger Donnw/2nz said...

I like it! The imagery is superb..all the signs put up by the "MAN"..don't do this and don't do that...dulls our day to day experience of living life to the fullest.

The real genius was having the Crow perched upon them..the universal harbinger of peril waiting to pick on the carcass of those of us who dare to cross without looking both ways.

The deft application of the eerie grey tones somehow simulatneously obfuscates and yet embellishes the blurry line between life and death at the crosswalk of life.

12/1/10 11:56 a.m.  
Blogger AcuityTodos said...

A great first foray into Oils. I love the atmospheric feeling. It is a safe exploration from the photo - but still a lovely piece!

13/1/10 6:54 a.m.  
Blogger chococatania said...

I, too, have to agree with above comments. I think that this painting is great. The feeling is pretty spooky. I know that the bird is a crow, but the painting keeps making me think of Edgar Allen Poe.

Oh - and I love the title of the painting.

Anyways, I'm excited to see more oil paintings. By the way, I love checking out your blog because you include us in on the process.

13/1/10 9:04 a.m.  
Blogger LDahl said...

What I really like is one sign is someone in a wheel chair and the one next to it is a person walking... like they got out of the wheel chair and are walking away.

14/1/10 11:25 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Donn: Ever thought of a new career as an art critic? You speeks de langwidge.

Vic: Phew. I needed to read that.

Choc & Lilah: I love these different ways of looking that had never occurred to me. This is why I blog about my art! :)

14/1/10 12:17 p.m.  
Blogger Percy Bisque Silley said...

Painting with "sure-footedness..."

Is this not rather messy and inconvenient? Do you keep special shoes?

15/1/10 6:20 a.m.  
Blogger tattytiara said...

That's your first ever oil painting? Wow, well done! I really like the composition, too.

18/1/10 5:28 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

PBS: Remember these guys?

Tatty: Not first ever, but first (two small experimental panels excluded) since I started painting in acrylics 9 years ago. The last time I did an oil painting previously was the 1980s -- and it wasn't very good. :)

18/1/10 5:41 p.m.  
Blogger sarala said...

I like both the painting and the original photo. I'll never be a painter myself--no ability that way--but I admire those who can.

22/1/10 9:21 a.m.  

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