Tag Archives: limited palette

Whiteness? Brightness!

I am continually puzzling to understand the color of the snow.  In good weather the sun shines on Olafsfjorður for a few hours each day, technically from 10:00 am to 4:00pm, perceptibly shorter every day.   But the light precedes sunrise and continues long after sun down.  The snowy mountains surrounding the town are like giant reflectors that bounce the light around, illuminating the opposing mountainsides with a mysterious glow.  The winter light up North here is weird and beautiful… and magical… and inspiring.

I have been feeling my way along, painting lots, but floundering around to make sense of all this atmosphere.   I am pretty excited about a couple of paintings in progress.  They might not survive tomorrow’s assault, but here they are in their current state:

Siglufjorður, 16 x 20IMG_7042

 

Across the lake, 16 x 20

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The eye of the blackbird

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

Today the true winter palette of Iceland was revealed.  The color and mood of this day are captured in Wallace Stevens’ poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.  Here is the link to the whole poem…I’ll wait while you go read it.

http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/stevens-13ways.html

Now you know what kind of a dream state I was in all day as I worked in the studio.  This is the mountain behind the farm, Laugarvatnsfjall, 16 x 20

IMG_3255And a view across the fields from the window of the library in town, about 8×11

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Giant steps

Coltrane in the studio today, seems appropriate, as I am starting on my 16 x 20 sheets now, another milestone.

I woke up this morning thinking that some monochromatic painting would be a good thing to do, since the black and white drawings have been so gratifying and fun.  With the fall colors fading to black and brown, the landscape is increasingly graphic and basically monochromatic on a gray overcast day.  I over-painted on two 13 x 16 paintings that were leaving me feeling …meh.  I kept more or less the same composition, same mountain sides, just re-focused.  Here is one:

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Sounding my barbaric… yip?

I am thinking about Walt Whitman, as you can probably guess by the title of this post.  (I posted about the ModPo MOOC recently.) My barbaric yip is taking the form of 6×8 inch mountain studies in acrylic on handmade paper. Small studies, so not quite a Yawp, but still, for me, barbaric.

I used a limited palette, just to keep things from getting completely out of control.  Working in sets of 2, the first painting is based loosely on a photograph or a sketch, and the second painting is based only on the first.  I will probably keep working on them, but for now this is how they look.  I have 2 other sets in progress.

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First one of the set

second one of the set

second one of the set

I had a lot of fun with these today, cozy and warm in the Gullkistan farmhouse while the gale was blowing outside, working at the living room table, reading poetry and painting, relaxed, slow, and steady.