Last week I wrote about my bugaboo: getting a wide range of values in my drawings and paintings. I’m always concerned that my darks are too dark. I worry that my lights are too light. I make many value scales for practice, and I read all I can about the importance of contrasts in art. I understand the principles involved.
Yet still, when it comes to implementing what I’ve practiced and learned, I struggle. It’s no different with my current bugaboo painting. That’s what I’m calling this, although I have given it a different title. There’s even a bit of a narrative thought behind this painting. Hopefully it will all come out as planned.
Here, side by side, are the original value underpainting I previously posted along with the current progress I’ve made. I’m working very slowly on this one, taking time to look at it, to step away and look at it again, to understand — intuitively, perhaps — what it wants and needs.
It’s very helpful for me to view these side by side. I’m currently not happy with the shape of the cloud mass. It’s beginning to morph into some huge Ghostbuster-type ectoplasm with arms reaching out. At my next painting session, as I continue working on this huge cloud, I will make a few corrections to the shape.
I’ve worked on the skies with cobalt blue and cerulean. The clouds — at this point — are done with titanium white and a smidgeon of rose, primarily toward the center. Note: I’m having problems getting the colors to come out right in this photo of the canvas. The pink looks a bit yellowish here.
It’s primarily the skies that I’m focusing on now. I’ve truly never seen a sky the color of this one, and my logical brain is arguing with my artist brain. It’s too dark. Never mind the gorgeous colors. Never mind that glorious contrast between the light and the dark. The sky is all wrong, says my logic.
“But, that’s the whole point,” retorts the creative side. Yes, it’s supposed to be dramatic. It’s supposed to catch the viewer’s eye. But, isn’t it still supposed to be at least a somewhat accurate representation of nature? If I’m making a statement through my art, shouldn’t it be truthful?
I intend to work slowly on this painting, taking it one step at a time, putting my thoughts, my ideas, and my emotions onto the canvas. I do need help, though, as I face this old bugaboo of mine.
Is my sky too dark? Too unrealistic? I don’t know, and each side of my brain is giving me a different answer. So, what do YOU say? I will really appreciate all comments on this!