Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Quiet Evening - Kinkaid Lake







This is one of those paintings that has been percolating for a while, I have done a couple oil studies and sketches at this location. And even though I have some good references I think the source of this painting or concept has been painted in my head several times. I think anyone that visits this spot and stands where I worked, would recognize the place from the painting. However, this piece is more of a memory painting of several experiences of this scene during the fall. I wanted to paint that crisp air of early fall, the mood of the transitional season and hopefully the essence of the land.


 Quiet Evening, oil on panel, 9 x 12 inches, © jim_serrett 


There are a lot of videos online about Kinkaid Lake, it's a big sport fishing destination. I found this interesting drone footage video filmed at Kinkaid Lake Paul Ice boat ramps from Eric Ripley. His drone hovers right over my painting spot and gives a great birds eye view of why this lake is so popular.






Eric Ripley - YouTube Channel



Explore - Question - Learn - - Enjoy, Jim 




Website - jimserrett.com 
Studio Blog - jimserrettstudio.com 
Landscape Blog - Pochade Box Paintings





Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Artist and His Muse - Dutch Ridge, Cedar Lake





I paint what I see as I find it in nature, mostly. I never paint it exactly, I pick and choose elements I like, move a tree here or there, add more interest to the clouds. Do some rearranging and compose some harmony out of all the chaos to make visual sense to me.

What I always strive to do is stay true to the original idea, in it is the source of inspiration.

Without inspiration you are just making marks. No matter what embellishments I may add or take away in a painting, they must support the original concept. What is the painting about, is it the sky? If that is the inspiration, then everything supports that idea. When you know what to emphasize in a scene you understand what elements to manipulate to better communicate the feelings you have about a particular place or time. When its about the mood or feeling of a place then your choices should speak to that connection. That relation is certainly the hardest concept to focus on and express in a painting.




Dutch Ridge, oil on panel, 9 x 12 inches, ©Jim Serrett

This becomes the artist-muse relationship, that goal to capture something illusive, intuitive, private, visceral or complex. It becomes a creative force of its own having the power of moving the intellect or emotions.

I am not certain how many sketches and paintings from Cedar Lake I have done; I just know I am not finished.

“I'm not in control of my muse. My muse does all the work.” Ray Bradbury








Muse; noun: Muse; plural noun: Muses; noun: muse; plural noun: muses
1. (in Greek and Roman mythology) each of nine goddesses, the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who preside over the arts and sciences.
2. a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist.

synonyms:
inspiration, creative influence, stimulusformal afflatus "the poet's muse"





Explore - Question - Learn - - Enjoy, Jim 




Website - jimserrett.com 
Studio Blog - jimserrettstudio.com 
Landscape Blog - Pochade Box Paintings






Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Even in Front of Nature One Must Compose.






Nearly all of my work begins with some type of preliminary sketch, either a thumbnail drawing in a sketchbook or oil study in my Pochade Box. Lately I have been spending a great deal of time sketching, gathering information outdoors and drawing from my imagination. Creating small rough abstract sketches to work out composition and design elements. 






Mainly I am using pen and ink with watercolor. I like the ink because you don’t fiddle with it as much as say a pencil sketch, you just have to lay it down with some speed and confidence. It is very permanent mark making and you simply/humbly live with what you put down and move along. Over that I wash in some color, do some crosshatching and try to capture the value and mass pattern. I call them my scribbles; and that is what they are, quick notations of design ideas based on nature.


They are exercises in capturing what I see in front of me from direct observation (the Art of Seeing) but also it is about the simple pleasure of drawing.







I look for a strong arrangement of dark and light patterns, the Japanese use the word Notan which means the "dark-light" harmony.  But a notan is also as much about shape/form, positive/negative, figure/ground relationships. It is why it is such a strong abstract design tool. I like to think of it as being the ying-yang of composition. Ever walk into a gallery full of art and be instantly attracted to a particular piece, drawn to it from across the room? Our eyes are drawn to the strong arrangements of shapes and patterns. As you learn to use this design tool you will recognize it in paintings and drawings of master artists.







Slow down mentally and take a long look at your subject, carefully choose the center of interest or theme of the piece, what it is about, what has drawn you to this motif and design outwards from that point. Simplify and edit down the elements by making them subordinate to that central idea. That is the key to good composition.







It is fun working out compositions and concepts, playing with the elements and ideas based on the anatomy of the landscape. Let them evolve and "brainstorm" many studies, before you know it you will have sketchbooks full of Composition Thumbnails which are a library of knowledge and imagination to work from.

“Even in front of nature one must compose.” ~ Edgar Degas



Color Studies:
Last Light, oil on panel, 8 x 10 in, Jim Serrett

Over the Horizon, oil on panel, 8 x 10 in, Jim Serrett




Explore - Question - Learn - - Enjoy, Jim 



Website - jimserrett.com 
Studio Blog - jimserrettstudio.com 
Landscape Blog - Pochade Box Paintings



Links:

Notan is a Japanese design concept involving the play and placement of light and dark as they are placed next to the other in art and imagery.