Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Casual Conversation

Acrylic on board, 6 3/8" x 9 3/8"
$240 plus $10 shipping in U.S.

It is remarkable how freeing time, distance and a feeble memory can be.

The reference for this painting was a photo I took maybe 30 years ago. I couldn't even remember where the place was. This I found curiously liberating. There was no compunction to be "true" to the scene, since the scene didn't really exist for me, except for a little faded photograph and the vaguest recollection of taking it. So I drew freely, altered proportions here and there, imagined color and did a lot of editing of elements in the interest of trying to create a good, self-contained painting.

I tried to recall why I was compelled to take the photo in the first place. Most likely it was because of that steep pointed roof and its echoing shadow, which still excites me 30 years later.
Perhaps too because of that certain kind of light you get in this country on a sunny day in earliest spring, just before the greening comes.


Pierre Raby said...

Seems larger than it's actual size.
Stunningly beautiful- a zen scene.

Dogs by Bri said...

Halfway through the description I was thinking you were going to remember where it was once you finished painting. Love the shadows.

Anonymous said...

Excellent work, Don. And you are especially eloquent today.

Don Gray said...

You're very kind, Pierre--thank you.

Don Gray said...

Heck, Bri, halfway through the description I couldn't even remember what I was writing about!
Thanks for the note.

Don Gray said...

Silvina, you are a talented and generous soul--thank you.

Art By Erika said...

Ok I got lost in your lost thoughts too that was fun and funny! But for some reason I appreciate the painting even more after reading lol I like how casual, in a very sophisticated way, this painting turned out. Yes that distinctive warmth of the sun I think it can fall in the category of halcyon days. :)

Lynne said...

Hey Don,
This has so many wonderful abstract shapes and the composition. Well done. It also has a sort of mysterious air -which may relate to what you said about not recalling where you took the photo, etc.! said...

You sure did justice to that photo. What a fine barn. I can smell the hay.

Sheila Vaughan said...

Yes, that is liberating Don, the fact that the photo was old and maybe faded. And yet the colours you have used from your imagination are so wonderfully harmonious. And those simple shapes give it such a strong framework. It's a wonderful little painting.

Don Gray said...

"Halcyon days"--I like that, Erika. Maybe I'll steal that for another title. Thanks for the encouraging words.

Don Gray said...

Hi Lynne,
Maybe "clueless" is a better word than "mysterious," but thank you very much. I too loved the abstract qualities in this design, something that is always important to me.

Don Gray said...

Hi Onpainting--thanks for the kind words.

Don Gray said...

Sheila, those are generous words--much appreciated. Your recent post on the use of photography in art was interesting and very perceptive.

Gregory Becker said...

May I ask you a question about color. I am looking a rule of thumb. I know that light is made up of 3 main properties.
When I look at the barn it is very believable that the color in shadow and the color in full light is the same color.
Are they equally distanced in value from the local color?
It seems to me that if that is true then it is possible to create the exact painting in a higher key of light or a lower key of light and the tonal realationships would not change.
Thanks for any help.
I am just a beginer.

Don Gray said...

Gregory, I'm not going to be much help from the technical side regarding color or light theory. I'm more a color intuitive than a color theorist. I rely more on observation--training the eye to see these color and value relationships, not codifying them in analytical terms.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean when you say "Are they equally
distanced in value from the local color?" Value is a light-dark term, and local color is a kind of indistinct term that refers to a kind of color "averaging." In representational work, usually value relationships are more important than color ones. If you build a solid light-dark structure in a painting, you can hang a lot of variety in color on it and it will still look believable.

In general, sunlight tends to have a bleaching effect on color, while in shadows the color is often deeper and more saturated. I try to study shadows in terms of warmth or coolness, as well as value. This is always done by comparison, adjusting one value against another, one color against another. Shadows that contain both warm and cool tones modulated together can create a sense of air and reflected light. That barn roof has some of that warm/cool thing going on in the shadow.

You're correct about all the relationships remaining the same relative to one another, in higher or lower keys.

Do some web searches with terms like "art color theory" and I'm sure you'll come up with lots of better analytical material than I can offer.

Gregory Becker said...

Thank you Don.You have answered my question perfectly and it means a lot to me.
(Are they equally distanced in value from the local color?)
Here's what I meant by that.
If your barn scene was in a grayscale b/w, and the value of the barn in full light and the value of the barn in shadow started walking toward one another on a value scale, would the place that they meet be at the value of the local color of the barn?
If that is true then maybe all objects have a local color that responds to the intensity of the light with equality.

What I mean is...if an enormous cloud passed over the scene then it would look like the scene was on a dimmer switch.
Lights and darks, warmth or coolness no matter what the object would respond with equality to the presense or absense of light.
(I know that I didn't take into consideration angles of planes in relationship to the light and that effect, which is very important.)

I know I am being redundant but, I am just trying to understand the relationship between color and value a little better in it's principality and it seems to me that you have a really good grasp of the effect of light on color.
Direct obsevation is definitely the best teacher.
I understand what you mean about hanging a lot of color on the same values to make something look believable.
You've been a big help to me.
I'll try to repay you by being a better artist.

Theresa Rankin said...

This just stunning....great sense of place!!

Don Gray said...

You're very kind, Theresa--thank you!