Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Swaying grass in the Loire

I'm wishing you all a wonderful Christmas with this post. As from today, I'll be spending some time with my family and I'll see you back after Christmas.
A while back I took some photo's and earlier last week I played around with it in front of the fireplace. First started off with watercolours and then an oil. It is some swaying grass in the water, in case you don't recognize it!

I painted study 1 from a few photos and wasn't happy, so I did study 2 , using only the first watercolour as reference. And then I did quite a few trying over and over to get to something that made that "click". The first two were the best efforts. I completed the oil painting using all of the first. I would love to redo this again some time.
What was I trying to achieve? I don't really know. Sometimes I start working without knowing exactly what I'm after, but I can recognize it immediately when I see it. When I saw the grass in the water, I was struck by the colours and the gentle swaying as well as the graceful up en down waving, like a dolphin. I felt like touching it.

I find I always tighten up when I use a photograph as reference. It is something I'll need to work on, especially doing waterscenes, since it isn't always possible to be out. Or maybe I shouldn't be choose the cosyness of the fireplace to do waterscenes.

I would love to know what your opinion is on doing waterscenes from photos?

...swaying grass, watercolour study 1...
...swaying grass, watercolour study 2...

...swaying grass, oil on linen, 40X40cm(15.7x15.7")...


Jeanette said...

Ronell, each of these pieces has its own appeal. For me, the last painting in oil captures the transparency, movement and colour of the sea grasses best. It has wonderful qualities and I feel as if I could touch it and feel my fingers get wet in the water.

Life is best to paint or draw from, but its not always possible, especially in winter or if you're not close to water. Also photos act as well as notes that you make in a sketchbook. They are simply aids to memory. I don't have strong feelings against using photo references, but they should be your own photos. I know photos don't give the same range of colours or provide the challenge of changing light that reality does, but they are a useful backup.

You also have the ability to create something entirely different from the original photo or combine multiple images to create your painting.

Lindsay said...

I like all of these very much. AS for working from photos, I frequently work from sketches and photos and have good luck if it's a place I visit often. I was just walking along the Des Plaines yesterday and even thought I did not have a camera, I came home and sketched from memory. I think what happens in the heart and the memory is just as important as what you might get working on site.

I agree with Jeanette about the value of your use of the WC for the oil painting.Something totally new

vivien said...

I think you do catch that feel of undulating grasses successfully - a few years ago I sat sketching by the Dordogne trying to get that over/underwater, reflections vs things seen throught the water feel - it's tough! but fascinating.

I tighten up if I'm not careful when using photos - I find like Lindsay, it's better when I have sketched there as well and know it, as I have that additional information stored in sketchbooks and memory.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

I've been mesmirised by this sort of scene before - but have never even thought to try and have a go at painting it - so WELL DONE for not only having a go but also getting a real sense of that lazy undulation that goes on.

I find I can't use photos unless I've drawn there as well. If you've absorbed the scene through sketching and then taken some photos as well, when I look at them together then I get a very vivid picture in my head of what it was like when I was there.

Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said...

Thanks everybody! I appreciate the inpout and you're echoing my thoughts about using photos. A personal experience with the location does bring forth something in a painting/sketch that you wouldn't get otherwise.
And I agree competely Jeanette...using one's own photographs is a must, conscience-wise as well as personal-wise.
Enjoy the holidays!

Laureline said...

It's interesting to see another artist tackle watery subjects---it's such an elusive thing, water, so hard to render it without resorting to banal, cliched pictorial techniques. You're in no danger of the latter, I think! I love the expressive colors you've used in the first two. Photographs are so limited and limiting as springboards for paintings, but, as you say, they can be somewhat profitably used as mnemonic devices. Have a wonderful Christmas, Ronell!

Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said...

Thanks Laura..and yes, isn't it exactly all those difficult qualities of water that draw us to it? You too, have a wonderful christmas and...dream of Cornwall!

Gesa said...

These are so intriguing, Ronell - partly precisely because of the difficulty involved.

Yes, I completely concur with the ambiguity of photographs: how it freezes movement, but at the same time also allows to capture some of the repetitive patterns.

I read some artist's description of how he tried to capture the key scene from repeated observation - I need to try that out once at water next. I either tend to be very analytical, or not at all (as in the two seascapes in pastel I did recently).

Have a great holiday! And everyone else too, I'll be travelling as of tomorrow for a couple of days and the it'll be the middle of nowhere fields for me (but thankfully with fast inet:)) All the best!