Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Changing Up A Bit - A Look Again At The "Process"


"Past Thanksgiving - November Barn"  - oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison

A few friends have noticed I haven't been "yarn spinning" for a while. Getting caught up in other things always gets the better of me...I'm easily distracted... SQUIRREL!!!
Where was I? Oh ya; I think I'm changing my old format up a bit and will eliminate the "Archival Works Friday" theme; but still occasionally give some insight to what steers me and my work derived from it. I'll try and bring these up from time to time. I have to admit I never liked schedules because too many things pop into my head and I just give in to whatever shouts the loudest.
Some weeks back I posted an image of our old stucco barn here on the was a still late fall evening under a crescent moon. It was taken on the evening of November 26th and posted the next morning. I will post that November 26th Photograph in my first comment you can make a comparison from the original photograph below...

Original photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
I've always been partial to crescent moons. And I've always been partial to the stucco barn here; I believe it to be the only such barn in our county. I could be mistaken but have looked for 20 years and not found another. The barn was retrofitted with concrete stucco sometime shortly after WW2...concrete block reinforcement of the north and west sheds was done first, and concrete buttresses added to the north shed to support or reinforce the addition are fairly unique for an "old" barn as well. 
I've done paintings of our stucco barn a couple times in the past...still regret selling one of them. And Georgie - bless her (!) has also painted the stucco barn a few times - literally! She has been up there with the barn swallows many times in the past 20 years with her bucket of paint and brush!
After I first brought the November 26th barn image file up on the computer screen, I liked what I was seeing...the photograph was nice yet there were elements in the picture's foreground that did not lend nor add to the support of the image. But I was struck by what I saw in my mind - could I do it justice? Well, that's always the question when I pick up a paint brush.
I set out to simplify and celebrate the light and the delicate crescent hanging in that last glow of the remnant day. That silhouette of our barn was almost iconic and somber in color and tonality. Did I mention loving that crescent phase? I embellished it ever so slightly, by increasing its size by about 50%...not too much to make it seem too unreasonably exaggerated. 
There was much too much "busyness" in the foreground...all the bushes and shrubs add nothing to the design and composition - they will not be included. That lone crab apple intersecting one of the barn windows was actually two trees, one had been damaged by strong winds many years ago and I couldn't bring myself to cut it was still gifting us with a flush of deep prairie rose colored blossoms on its lop-sided trunk each spring. Another opposing color crab was planted next to it a few years ago and they seem quite happily married now. It will be painted as one, as that's how it appears.
The complete idea of the very closest foreground leaves and gravel drive will give the image a resting place, a foundation to support the image. I appreciate those leaves; fall is nearing its end...their least bit of color notes are peaceful on the eyes.
But - as you'll notice, I gave the scene my own color interpretation...I am NOT trying to lavishly copy a photograph but give my own sense of the "emotion" the original scene evoked for me.
These are my thoughts and goals as I worked on this painting. These are the ideas that formed this attempt to remember this moment in oils. It left a lasting impression on me and this small token of an idea, albeit small, is part of this memory.
"After Thanksgiving - November Barn" - oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison