Michele Clamp Art

French Village Experiment - Recap and Regroup

Michele ClampComment

Here are the last nine days paintings in order.   I started badly and ended badly but there was some good stuff in the middle.

The hardest thing for me right now is answering the question 'Why did this painting go wrong?'  Without knowing that I'm floundering around trying this and that and somehow hoping something will happen.  This blog post is an attempt to answer that question with something that I can act upon and improve.

Let's start with the good :

1.   I've learned to create greens that don't scream at you.   Instead of quin gold and ultramarine I'm now using a much greyer mix of mostly mayan blue and burnt sienna.   

2.  Simpler paintings often come out better.    Day 5 (the middle one in the collage) was a really unprepossessing photo but I managed to get some wonderful light onto the walls and some lovely warm shadows.  

3. There's some good texture in some of the paintings.  Especially the almost monochrome one.

4. There must be something else.  The drawing is mostly good.   I could still stand to take a little more care over it though.  The jury is still out as to whether the value studies are helping.

5.  I'm managing to suggest detail better than I used to.    If you ignore the screaming greens numbers 3,4, and 6 have good suggestion of lots going on without actually painting every little bit.

6.  Color in general improved as I went on.   Dialing back the greens and limiting the palette helps here.

7. As a group they don't look too bad.

So now the bad :

This was meant to be an exercise to improve how I use values in paintings.   Not much success there.   

1.  I have trouble knowing when to push a contrast and when to decrease it.   For instance wall shadows often look really good when the contrast is dialed back a little.   The effect of the sunlight is accentuated if you make the shadows lighter than they appear.   I'm still having a *lot* of trouble with this.   

2. Another problem is knowing when to use your darkest darks.  I tend to overuse them in places where they shouldn't be (under roof eaves for instance) and then under use them in other places.  Actually I can't see anywhere where they're underused - maybe I should learn to keep my powder dry here.

3.  Screaming greens!!   But definite progress there.

4.  Sloppy drawing.  Clamp - you can do better than this!

5.  Oh, so many more things.   

So what is the plan of attack?   I need a few wins under my belt.   Here are my thoughts :

1.  I'm going to paint smaller (1/8 sheet) to force me to keep things simple.

2.  Keep those uber darks in the back pocket until really needed.

3.   Simplify to the big shapes for as long as possible.

4.  Keep on the buildings theme for now.

5.  Keep having faith things will work out.