Thursday, April 16, 2009

Painting on One Weekend

The work shown here, and in the next post, was completed in a tiny island of art in a sea of other more abstract mental creativity for my day job. I loved the entire thing, the island and the sea. The larger work was intense and overwhelmingly complex. I had built my skills for decades to be able to do this, and here it was. It was like being a greyhound, let off the leash and told to run as hard as I could, barely able to make it in time, but knowing from the first leap that I would make it. It was hard. It was joy.

But during my one deliberate break in the five week rush, I completed the Conducting painting, above. It's all watercolor. All but the audience in the bottom were completed months ago, but I suddenly knew how I wanted to finish it, and I did. Had to have fish, too...

Then there was the nude from the sketch I did in a life drawing session. I'm not totally happy with the results of this - but I can't get further without the model to get more detail. So I learned a lot, enjoyed this struggle, and I've moved on, stretching a new piece of paper in its place - maybe for one of those seven painting ideas that came on my epiphany walk.

I also kept working on the tall trees painting, all watercolor. I was able to strengthen the structure without losing the power and spontaneity I liked in the original rapid sketch. But I have to do something to balance the lower left. I haven't figured that out yet. I keep putting the painting at the end of the hall, where I can see it from here a good twenty feet away, and I think about possible changes to that section. It will come eventually - I'll wait for it.

Next post: another self portrait...

18 comments:

Michelle said...

The conductor is AWESOME!

Genie Sea said...

You are lucky to have experienced the sea and the island of creativity! I know it must have been extremely challenging but look at the outstanding results!

There is an intimate and magical light in the conductor painting. It draws the eye in.

I really love the nude. The colors are crisp yet gentle (paradox). the figures are so defined yet soft (marshmallow!) I love the flow of lines...

And the trees! Ah the trees! They are stately. I see what you mean by wanting to put something in the left corner. My first thought was a red ball, but of course that's outrageous! :)

Summer Kinard said...

I love the Tosca painting. I think of it late at night when I study my opera scores. I think singing is exactly those colors.

Odd Chick said...

I love the conductor, it's my very favorite and I can't wait to see what you do witht the others.

June Saville said...

After all of that effort, your creativity is exploding Steve. I particularly like the work with the audience and the fish!

It's amazing how we must stretch ourselves to reach our real potential.

gianlucio said...

Hello Steve, belli gli ultimi lavori...espressione pittorica di ottimo livello!!!
Ciao, Gianlucio

Steve Emery said...

Michelle - Thanks!

Genie Sea - Thank you! A red ball, eh? I'm not sure what will end up there. I feel I need some line to properly balance and redirect the eye, but I think that's too direct, and that's why I can't find the right place or direction for it.

Steve Emery said...

Summer - I'm not surprised you sing in color.

Odd Chick - Thank you! Dearest also likes the Conductor. She's the one who realized what he was doing after I painted him. I had no idea.

June - I think you are quite right. A stretch in one place often opens vistas in other parts of our lives, as well.

Gianlucio - Thank you! I posted over at your blog, as well. Love the "under the bridge" part of the painting, in particular.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Amazing color and work! Super ending!

I loved your piece in Artful blogging.

Leah said...

beauuuutiful!!

Lisa said...

MathMan HAS to see the conductor. His late father was a music director/conductor.

I love the life painting, the dreamy blues and lavenders and the way the women seem to flow together in that middle patch of light.

And Tall Trees makes me feel so happy. Just this morning I told MathMan that if this place weren't already named Golden Manor, I'd call it Tall Pines. We have a stand of really tall pines behind us and the underbrush has been allowed to remain. I love looking out our bedroom windows into the treetops (our house is a raised split level). And the birds sit in the tall pines and call and sing at dusk. It's magical.

P.S. Glee came up on your flickr slideshow as I was reading this post and I just wanted to tell you again how much I love that painting.

Steve Emery said...

Mary - Thanks! And I need to go see that piece.

Leah - Thank you!

Lisa - That's quite a long comment - I know how busy you all are. I was happy to get it and to read those details about your and MathMan's life (past and present). I wonder if the birds singing there at dusk are wood thrushes. They're my favorite singers - a changing series of notes, up and down. They're our version of nightingales, I always say. I heard the first one of this year just this evening.

susan said...

The Conductor painting is especially wonderful for me to see. The shapes and colors are masterfully handled as are the muted tones of the audience in the foreground.

It's easy to see you're growing by leaps and bounds in your artistic milieu. To see outside yourself is to truly see yourself.

linda said...

love these and don't think I saw my name in the comments...anyway, love the conductor and then again, I'm not sure I do...what I know for sure is I wouldn't enjoy being in the audience, if that makes any sense at all...he feels threatening to me, angry...

the nude I love, she is perfectly done, imho ;)

the tall trees is coming along beautifully and I can see why you love them so much in this, the way the light is playing in the color is gorgeous, I am loving the purple/melony/limey thing you have going on, if that made any sense at all! I think I would call it done!!!

sorry to be so non-helpful ;)

linda said...

i looked at the nudes again....and don't think they are done but rather they form the beginning of something that comes next..a perfect base for another layer on top, they are too muted maybe for me...who knows but thought I would share while I have time to....

they will ALL return soon and already I am so exhausted I am about to do some wonderfully dramatic exit and take to my bed for a day or three! i need a day of quiet painting without three little helpers who need stuff continually... ;) but they are sweet little guys!

who knows when i shall return...

Steve Emery said...

Susan, Thanks very much. I do feel closed up and blind when I am not painting...

Linda - I agree with so much of what you said, and, as usual, your comments are particularly helpful. I can see what you mean about the Conductor - his wrist and fist are so dramatically turned I can see how you might read anger there - but I just feel he is into some massive piece of music. Tall Trees is very nearly finished - I just have to resolve the lower left. And I TOTALLY agree that the nudes are like underpainting. I thought of doing more on top (acrylics), but lost interest knowing I had no model to work with and being unwilling to lose what I had done so far to something else. Not afraid to lose it - just uninterested without something to follow. So I chalked it up - I needed the board for another sheet if I wanted to be ready when the next inspiration struck. It hasn't yet, but whatever.

I really hope you can make it through the entire precious visit with your little ones, and that you get a little rest in the middle.

linda said...

steve, as always, i breathe a sigh when i have commented on something you've done and come back and you agreed with what i said! sigh... ;)

since i have issues with men and anger, deep dark black rage issues, that is probably why my instinct was to turn away...your little explanation helped me see him a little differently but he's still not my favorite by any means, it's still about angry intensity to me and it's not the painting, it's me - i still have issues, as if i didn't have the slightest idea i did....geez, you'd think...well, never mind...i'm so tired, i can't think clearly to say anything intelligent!!!!! i am laying in the bedroom too tired to go out and be civil...haha, i guess it's been a long, sweet, but long week!

Berlinbound said...

The Conductor is wonderful.