Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Further on Down the Road II

This is a pastoral scene I trek through several times a month. During the summer there always seems to be a flotilla of clouds sailing slowly across the sky. When I think of the dog days of summer this image always comes to my mind.
I really wanted to capture that summer atmosphere and felt that a studio piece was the best way to do that. I created the painting from a pochade study, some watercolor sketches and my memories of this place. 

Further on Down the Road II, oil on panel 9 x 12 inches © Jim Serrett

Oil color alla-prima study 5 x 7 inches

One of the characteristics of oil painting I enjoy most is the ability to create transparent, semi-transparent and opaque layers of paint. Manipulating those qualities can give an image a lot of texture and depth. I like the variation of greens you get with glazes and scumbling effects. You start playing around with the color green differently when you work in thin layers and use it to unify passages. Building up paint in layers of glazes and scumbles provides a arsenal of effects that can create atmosphere in a landscape painting.

Sketchbook watercolor study.

Sketchbook thumbnails.

I truly enjoy working through an idea with the process of creating thumbnails and roughs. Relying on observations made over time and my memory of the place, it becomes layers of thought, that for me, reach a higher level of understanding and refinement.

Explore - Question - Learn - - Enjoy, Jim 

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Monday, July 4, 2016

The Fourth of July by Childe Hassam

The Fourth of July by Childe Hassam, 1916, oil on canvas, 36 x 26 inches

This patriotic flag painting was painted by the American Impressionist Childe Hassam (1859-1935).
I believe it to be a street in NY city, one of several pieces he produced in this genre. These are some of the most distinctive and famous works by the artist. There were around thirty painting in his "Flag series". (Notice the flag in the foreground and how it has only 48 stars as Alaska and Hawaii were not yet states in 1916.)  Always an inspiration and one of my favorite artists.

Happy 4th of July!

To learn more about Childe Hassam click this link.

Explore - Question - Learn - Enjoy, Jim 

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Punta Nizuc Reef - WIP

These are two studies based on my sketches from Mexico at our favorite snorkeling spot. They will be the source of a larger studio painting. I am working out the design idea based on my sketches and studies done on site, while relying on the memories of the place and the connection I have to it. It is this visual library of references that I will based the finished work on.

In the studio I ask myself a million questions – how to describe the shadow of these clouds, where is the horizon line seen and what colors are in the Caribbean Sea?, to name a few. Organizing all of the questions and answering them in a color study will aid me in the finished piece. I tried two versions based on my drawings with slightly different vantage points and lighting to establish the mood of the painting. With these I hope to create out of my mind's eye, my memories, and my feelings for the amazing place and experience.

Punta Nizuc Reef, Color Studies I and II, oil on panel,  9 x 12 in, © jserrett

Explore - Question - Learn - - Enjoy, Jim 

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Finished the challenge!

Here we are at the end of my 30 in 30-day painting challenge and I have got to say that it zoomed by, I must have had fun.                           

I enjoyed exploring composition and colors with these alla-prima paintings. From the beginning I intended to concentrate on design and composition but as I reflect over the collection I started to see an unexpected story being told. As I was looking at the big forms in nature, a theme quickly evolved that was about earth and sky and water. Lots of weather effects, dramatic skies, sunsets and clouds, the forces of nature.  So I was happy that they collectively communicated the spirit of the natural world.

My approach was to be as direct and complete with my brush as I could and record the motif in front of me. The goal was to make quick and spontaneous decisions, describing things simply and abstractly. Yet hang onto that illusion of real space and place and the experience of it. I find myself looking a lot at the Barbizon painters, Charles-Francois Daubigny and Jean Baptiste Camille Corot and the Russian School of the late nineteenth century Isaac Levitan and Ilya Repin.  These painters handle the sense of space so masterfully, so much abstraction in their work, brush handling, surfaces and texture. They could just drag the viewer into the atmosphere of the painting

Anyway this is where my head has been during this endeavor. Looking for insight from artist of the past and observing the world for inspiration. 

Explore - Question - Learn - - Enjoy, Jim 

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Friday, April 15, 2016

Thursday, April 14, 2016