Monday, August 8th, 2011

Keeping it loose vs. tightening up

Many artists struggle with the temptation to tighten up their paintings…I among them. Before starting a painting,  I do charcoal drawings, done very quickly. The loose quality of these drawings define what’s important in the composition, and my goal when bringing these drawings to the easel is to keep that loose quality. There are few artists I know who don’t struggle with the desire to keep their work loose, more painterly. There are those whose paintings are tight, photorealistic, and at times don’t even look like paintings. Others paint with an enviable looseness that borders on abstraction. The battle between loose and tight often seems to come out of not knowing WHY you are painting what you’re painting.

This drawing, of a Berkshire barn is next up as a larger oil. It’s a predominantly white structure…pale bluish white tin roof, whitewashed clapboards, abstract shadows. When I came across it while exploring a remote back road near Lenox, MA, it was the stark brightness of it that caught my attention. The goal with this painting is to loosely capture that first impression…not to capture every aspect of the place.

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