In last Friday’s painting class I worked some more on my mostly-knife painting of the Mississippi River near Carleton Place. As you can see (if you compare it to the first picture of it in a previous entry), most of what I did was in the trees at the back. Slowly but surely, it’s moving along in a direction I like. I’m having a little trouble with the values — there is so much dark in those trees. It’s a challenge to keep them under control, and keep the colours from sinking into a mass of dark brown/green.
I also worked a bit on the tree standing at the left of the canvas; I think having it there gives a bit of depth to the rest of the picture.
It’s always difficult to talk about my painting; as Hans Hofmann said, “Painters must speak through paint, not through words”. However, someone did ask why I chose this particular subject (she knows who she is), and it made me think about that. I’m working from a photograph that was taken on an overcast autumn day when Frank and I were scouting for photographic subjects at a particular spot on this river (I asked Frank to take this photo for me; it wasn’t a scene that he would have chosen himself). I liked the reflections in the water and the general composition (although I’ve simplified that quite a lot from the photo). I wasn’t so crazy about the colours, all greyed-out and pale. So, I decided to make my painting a sunny day (which you can tell by the blue of the water and sky; there will also be more light and shadow stuff happening to the logs and bush in the front of the painting when I get to that bit). What I’m aiming for in the end is a quiet afternoon mood. We’ll see how that goes….