20 October 2011

morning light

Today is overcast. Our promised rain is still to come I hope. At 3am we had some soft rain, and outside the terrace and ground is wet, but there hasn't been enough rain to soak in to our parched land. Under the trees, even the olives with their tiny leaves, it is dusty and dry. The citrus still cry out with furled leaves, hiding them from the sun.

Today, at least, there shouldn't be any evaporation of the little rain we had this morning. We haven't had any real rain since May. The occasional short sharp thunderstorm didn't ever penetrate the trees or soak the ground. My "monitor rock" that I have left uncovered, the piece of mountainside in my cantina, is so dry that there are spiders enjoying the corner. That is a first!

And in the studio the light is dull and my eyes are bleary (3am bedtimes are not good!) But the critical eye says that it is almost time to work on the sky. I set it strong in the early stages because I wanted this to be a strong painting. Now it is time to develop the cloud forms and integrate that section of the painting into the whole. Then it will be time to adjust a few things in the middle section, turn some rocks towards the valley, and check that it all works together. But going out yesterday did turn my miseries into a real cold I think. Achoo!! Running eyes. Let's hope it's a good painting day despite this.

The good thing this morning is that I am still as happy with the section of trees I painted yesterday as I was last night. You can almost pick them off the canvas. They might look a little stylised and too round to a purist, but I like them anyway! When I first came here I found olive trees difficult to paint. Now they seem to be finding their way off my brush in different forms depending on the painting with relative ease. I guess that's what knowing your subject really well does for the painter.

Back later... :-)
This is a pre-work of the clouds, just checking the tonal values and the lines to see that they sit well with the overall painting. The most important thing to remember is not what the photos of sunsets might look like, but that to be convincing in the painting rules must be followed! The top of the painting is almost the reverse of the bottom, with the foremost clouds being bigger and stronger in colour, with more contrast. Often painters get carried away with unusual and dramatic sunsets, then wonder why the paintings don't quite work. Nature breaks its own rules occasionally, and artists should break them only when they understand them well.

Thanks for the vegemite, my Kiwi/Aussie friend, I enjoyed my breakfast! Fresh Roccasecca bread, a light smear of butter, and lashings of the black gooey stuff :-)

Today I am grateful for tubes of vegemite from Australia.

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