Tuesday, October 26, 2010

moving the grisaille to a new place

11x14 pastel on somerset
Rather than paint a traditional grisaille on the canvas I am working the values on paper and then transferring the concept of the value to color on my painting. This idea comes from my plein air nocturne done last night.When I was working with Kay this weekend she was so helpful in reinforcing that I already knew. In the workshop she had us do value studies (something I LOVE to do)- This is mine.
Rather than paint a grisaille on my canvas I will use my grisaille  as my reference- A REMOVED GRISAILLE.  She talked to me about painting with my oils exactly as I paint so naturally with my pastels. I mix colors of pastels on the paper- why not mix my paints on the canvas?  She showed a really interesting video about Wolf Kahn that videoed him doing exactly that. It was like a huge "ah ha" moment. Why am I constantly fighting who I am????? Remember I talked about giving permission? Well this is about giving permission to be authentic. There is not a meticulous bone in my body..I am exhaustingly energetic (as my husband and friends will confirm) I prefer large movements to small motions...Why on earth have I been holding back? Kay suggested to go much bigger canvases and bigger 1 , 2 and 3 inch brushes so that I can move.
So that is where I am now.
Toodles for now:-)


Anonymous said...

Loriann, finding our own path is such a journey and I think that is also why I too am struggling with oil and oil application at the moment. It (oil) won’t behave like my watercolours, and is too painty to act like my pastels.

With both watercolour and pastel I have instant colour, which I do not visually have in the way we have been working in oil with an underpainting and building up layers of glazes on top.

Working directly with colour was one of the things that drew me to soft pastels. The intensity immediately was there…. that and using hands, my fingers etc as tools for blending. And of course taking off as much pastel as you put down…. finding ways of making marks to create volume and texture. …. I get my oils out and I am mentally back being a child with paint by numbers set!!!!

What I have also been learning by doing these past couple of weeks reiterates what you are saying here:

*Don’t think of oils as ‘oils’…it is just pigment in a different format.

*There are no rules! Just because one person’s technique requires underpainting and glazing, does not mean that that is the right technique for you (me).

*Stop worrying about landscape objects such as trees…. create light against dark, dark against light and focus on value shapes.

*Use your fingers, knife, brushes, sticks, …anything to get the paint on the surface creating marks that are unique to you. Remember that it is as much about what you take off as what you put down…. use masking tape to lift paint to create texture, use tissues to spread and blend paint…don’t use a brush if you don’t want to…. use your fingers or any thing else to hand.

*Work from marker Notans, value sketches, tonal gouache/ watercolour sketches or pastel sketches…work in any medium which you find a joy to use to create your value sketches …either from reference photos or a plein air session…then use these as a starting point for an underpainting back in the studio. You’ve already got a value map….and own it (lol)….so it’s already your paintings even before you begin to paint.

Let the painting have a life of it’s own. If it wants to go in a certain direction…go with it. When you are at one with your painting and letting it guide you…that’s when wonderful things happen.

All the points above have been going over and over in my mind this past week…and then I read you blog post of today.

Sorry to waffle…just thought I would share what I have been thinking. One thing that was a true breakthrough for me was to take most of my brushes out of my oil painting equation…. I’m better at applying oil with rags, tissues, fingers, and anything other than a brush! I’ve also been experimenting with texture effects for skies reminiscent of my pastel seascape skies with opaque dry brush scumbles (dried) under transparent glazes rubbed on with a rag.…

oh…… and I have been using much less Liquin and a lot more pigment.

I know it will come for both of us, and I am so appreciative of your post today and to be able to share some of my feelings with you.
I love this pastel painting…but have you thought about how you are going to achieve the same effect with oil on canvas…..

Anonymous said...
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Karen said...

Searching for the permission to be ourselves, to paint like ourselves...why on earth is is so difficult?!?! Maybe it's just in the finding out who exactly 'ourselves' is... I struggle with this each day...but don't you just feel it deep down when you're not being authentic/yourself in your work?

Love the removed grisaille...interesting idea...

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

It sounds like you are in a very exciting place right now. This grisaille is stunning, I think my all time favourite. Isn't it funny how we manage to chain ourselves up into ways of working, then one chance comment can open up whole new ways of seeing.

I can't wait to see something really big, I feel like I can hear you buzzing by the prospect.

Brian McGurgan said...

Wow, sounds like you've had a couple of epiphanies there Loriann. This is very exciting! I can't wait to see how this evolves for you. This is a beautiful pastel grisaille.

Donna T said...

You energetic? I'm so glad you had the ah ha moment, Loriann! The thought of all of your boundless energy being used to mix paint directly on large canvasses is intriguing. Maybe you've been feeling that by the time you apply the paint some of that initial energy is gone? This grisaille is gorgeous as is but I know you will express yourself fully with color.

Brian McGurgan said...

I also meant to say that Maggie's thoughts on this post are really helpful, too. Some really great discussion here.

I've been moving away from small thumbnail sketches in favor of larger (sometimes full-scale) value studies in dark pastel or Conté - rarely charcoal these days. I start light and erase a lot until I arrive at something that feels right, then use that as a starting point for more finished pastels or oil paintings. This hasn't been quite the revelation it seems you've experienced Loriann but I'm gradually seeing that my concepts feel more developed and mature when they are worked initially at a larger size. Having a repeatable process that feels successful is reassuring to me, but I also try not to lock myself in too tightly to it - which is my natural tendency.

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

You're off to the art store to buy some bigger brushes? Hooray!!

Great post and great thoughts. Kind of weird that we need permission to be ourselves, but it's so true. Until someone points it out, it's like an insurmountable barrier. Then, someone opens the gate we say, "Ah ha!" (Or, sometimes I say, "Duh!")

loriann signori said...

Hi Maggie...
Ah, so much dances in our heads...eh?
Finding one's continually moving path is like the quest for the holy grail... something I try not to dwell on, thinking. Instead spend more time following my intuition...something i unfortunately turned off for awhile now. (oh dear)I am finding that thinking really gets in the way!
The things that Kay and I spoke about were dancing in my head all the time, but it was really good to bounce off another friend.
The real enlightenment was to use my oils like my pastels. My way, where i feel and no longer think.
Rules simply don't apply, it's more like what happens if I do this? It's been so easy to do that with pastels. They (the pastels) lead the way. I am eager to allow the oils to do the same.
As for working with notans, that is a permanent fixture in my work method. Value is most important. On the other hand I do like this idea of the "removed grisaille." Removed means the information is there: remember value is the secret, color gets the glory. The grisaille removed will be like a border collie, gently nudging me to make the painting read... but not demanding like it does on the canvas. Small difference but a difference none the same.
Your point about not worrying about objects is always a good one... If one paints the abstract of the spaces between it all jumps out like a surprise party.
Thanks for taking the time to write an in depth comment. These are things that we as artists have inside us all the time.
I also feel it's important to add that having "it" "the way"can only get in your way. I do hope "it" keeps shifting so that my life as an artist is a constant course of wonder and discovery...sort of like a 4 year old.

Cheers Maggie!!!!! Loriann

PS Liguin has it's uses and its curses...heehee. I do like its speed.
PPS Keep the dialogue going.

loriann signori said...

Hi Karen, yes, why is it so darn hard to do the obvious? Did time away at your residency help these questions/ hours?

loriann signori said...

Hi Lisa and Brian...yes i agree with you this is a very exciting time! Thanks about the pastel- removed grisaille.

Caroline Simmill said...

I believe that others will inspire us and their knowledge will guide us, however listen to your own inner voice, be still and find your own way, it may surprise you it did in the novel Jane Eyre written all those many years ago in another time, yet the inner voice still speaks as true today as then. You do not need the permission of another to release your creativity. Lovely painting.

loriann signori said...

Hi Donna,
Mixing on the canvas is a release! Wow watch them appear!!!!! Just like pastels!

loriann signori said...

Hi Brian, This pastel was done in a similar way to your description. It's large 11x14 and I too used an eraser and paper towels to sculpt it away. Sounds like we are thinking alike!

loriann signori said...

Kvan, Yes they are more like duh moments...I SHOULD have known that! I had lots of 1 inch brushes at home...now for the bigger boys!

Benoit Philippe said...

Really nice and powerful effect. Benoit

loriann signori said...

Hi Caroline...you put it soooo well!

Hi Benoit,
Thanks for dropping by and thank for your kind words!

Gregory Becker said...

I love it. You have done something really nice with the way the sky interlocks with the ground and trees in the lower right hand corner. It creates enormous stability.

loriann signori said...

Thanks Gregory! I really appreciate your compliment!!! Great observation too!

Double "D" said...

This is a beautiful piece all by itself.
Love it.

loriann signori said...

Thanks PB!!!!! Great to hear from you again!