Sunday, September 14, 2008



All of a sudden I have so many things I want to paint ... and I think my ideas for paintings are more ambitious than before; there are things I want to try--larger, more planned paintings; new techniques--but I don't really have the wherewithal--the space, the lighting--so I'm feeling a bit frustrated and stagnant working in my usual mode. But now that I've identified the problem, or named the excuse, I can start rectifying it.

I'm thinking of getting an opaque projector--to project drawings/photographs and enlarge them to trace for painting; many watercolorists seem to use this. I don't envision myself using it for everything--I like to draw--but I can see its usefulness, especially for doing more than one version of complex subjects. Any thoughts?

These paintings are from photos from her recent trip to NH given to my by my friend Carol, who I met at a workshop in New Mexico; Carol really has an eye for composition and takes the most amazing photographs. I don't think these paintings are done, in the sense that I think I could work on each one a bit more ... but that's the trap, yes? So I'll move on.
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Mineke Reinders said...

These are lovely, and they look finished to me. I thought it was just me, feeling stagnant and frustrated, but perhaps it's in the air? In any case, these look very fresh, not stagnant at all.
I have stayed away from opaque projectors for various reasons. It's not so much that it's "cheating" or something like that - I believe artists can and should use any tools available to them for their purposes - but because I like to make little adjustments to the composition as I'm working, and it seems to me that tracing the composition this way ties you down. That's just my two cents however - if you get one, I'll be interested to hear what you think and if it works for you.

Cathy Gatland said...

I don't see what you could do to improve on these - they are wonderful - that water! What a turnaround from your last post - being so full of ideas again. As you say, you can work on physical problems if the ideas are there.
I've also been wondering about doing more structured, carefully planned paintings, having tried to be 'loose and free' for a while. I think a danger of mechanical aids is that one can quickly become dependent on them and lose confidence in your ability to draw freehand. But if you're conscious of that, and keep drawing on the side, I'd say go for it. It'd be interesting to see what happens!

shicat said...

Hi laura, I love these.The shadows on the buildings are beautiful. As for technical devises, my teacher and most of her students, would trace their paintings while I would resist.But if you are doing multiples it's so much easier. My friend in class said she didn't mind tracing, because she would be drawing it over again when she painted it,her paintings were great. Glad your out of the funk and back to painting,so that i may enjoy them:o)

Katherine Tyrrell said...

If you've got problems with space then I think you'll find that you'll also have problems using a projector. Speaking as somebody who has used one a lot for presentations you need a lot of wiggle room!

Projectors also don't aid composition - personally I'd always advocate investment in thumbnail sketches before a projector.

laura said...

Hi Mineke. I had a class where everyone was very dependent on the projector, and then, just as you describe, very wed to their drawing, which, I agree, is a problem. I don't know if being so methodical will work for me--I'm easily frustrated--but I would like to try it subjects, like light shining through a colander, where I think it might be a help, or at least might help me get over my hesitance to approach such subjects.

Hi Cathy. I'm nothing if not changeable! ;-) Actually, I guess, I had all the subjects but not the enthusiasm for them; I've been thinking a few subjects over and have found my desire to paint rekindled. I think you're right, and it's good to keep the word "aid" in mind!

I had the same experience, Cathy. I thought my classmates angsted over the drawing too much, to the detriment of the painting.

Good points, Katherine! I have a room for "art," but it's also turned into a catch-all room and I should rectify that before adding any new equipment. Thumbnail sketches are such a help and many painters who I admire use them, so I wonder why I don't do them more often! It's like some good habit you think you should have and then berate yourself for lacking!


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