Experiments in Painting

Some experiments—that weren’t the best

After the success of a early morning mist painting of a Polish church steeple, I tried a painting of a foggy morning over the river that runs through Krakow. When finished, it looked more like a grey scale flat image. I need some other techniques before this can look the way I want.

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The next image shows an attempt to capture the energy and movement of the Sky Train in Bangkok. I loved the lines and the geometry of the site and wondered if I could capture the feel of the place with acrylics. I didn’t. I like the idea of laying out everything carefully, but when it came down to the image it felt static and grey. I did however love the results of the buildings in the background. I like how faint they appear, a suggestion that they are there. Still, I need some other approach, which I might figure out someway.

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This last painting is of a cool doorway in Bangkok’s Chinatown. This whole area of the city evokes an old feel, exotic, with narrow alleyways hiding tiny shops. I tried it with a pallet knife and loved the texture it created, carrying through the rough character of the buildings and the age of the place. The perspective got off though as the building looks like it is growing wider at the top. Still, I love the colors and the texture, so I’ll come back to the method again for this kind of painting.

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Tackling Water

My brother is an amazing photographer and fortunately for us, he posts frequently on Facebook. One of his photographs of the Ohio River really struck me: there was great depth in the image of the far bank with such great blues rippling in the brightness of the Sun which reflected directly off the water. He had a foreground area of rocks and trees. I wanted to compliment him by painting his photograph, but I had never painted water.

So I headed over to YouTube to find a lesson on painting waves. I found what I was looking for in MuralJoe, who offers a starting video of painting waves in acrylic. He was really helpful.

I had to alter the approach because my water was river water and the light shown directly onto it. My goal also was to capture the movement of the river in a static format. Could I give a sense of the clean brightness of the river rippling along and lapping the shoreline?

Here are the results:

5I was delighted at my first attempt at water, even though I clearly have a ways to go. In the photo the right foreground was almost entirely black, so I needed some shapes to add texture and establish the near area to the viewer, so I added more forms to the rocks and color to the trees, which were just silhouettes. I struggled with the white paint and making it reflect the light as I wanted, but for a first attempt, I have to be satisfied. He has the painting now, hanging near the Ohio River.