The following passage by E.H. Gombrich was a revelation to me, maybe an epiphany. I had been looking for a way to break out of my old habits when I found this. It became the central idea of a “Self-forgiveness Theory.” It says to keep trying, modifying, and correcting -- that the eraser is the tool of more expressive realism. In almost mystical terms: trying to create perfection is impossible, but forgiving yourself and your drawings for being imperfect and constantly refining your vision is possible.

“Seen in this light, that dry psychological formula of schema and correction can tell us a good deal, not only about the essential unity between medieval and post-medieval art, but also of their vital difference. To the Middle Ages, the schema is the image, to the post-medieval artist, it is the starting point for corrections, adjustments, adaptations, the means to probe reality and to wrestle with the particular. The hallmark of the medieval artist is the firm line that testifies to the mastery of his craft. That of the post-medieval artist is not facility, which he avoids, but constant alertness. Its symptom is the sketch, or rather the many sketches which precede the finished work and, for all the skill of hand and eye of the master, a constant readiness to learn, to make and match and remake till the portrayal ceases to be a second hand formula and reflects the unique and unrepeatable experience the artist wishes to seize and hold.”

Art & Illusion: A study in Psychology of Pictorial Representation, Page 173

-- E. H. Gombrich

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Another Barn -October 2014

I've been busy trying to finish several small paintings that accumulated over the last few years. Some needed a major make over and others just needed to be completed.  I  thought of taking photos after I was into the project. Today I started a new, small painting 

Again, I am using Terra Rosa, Ultramarine Blue and Titanium White. I block in with the Terra Rosa, a fairly non-overpowering shade, then work in the blue and end by cutting in the white. 

I've started with the background, glazed a dark, transparent, green glaze over the trees but still let some of the warmth of the underpainting to shine through. Into that thin, moist glaze I start working out the large shapes within the trees. I am using a much more opaque mixture of paint.

The red barn definitely gives the painting focus. I like the tree to the left, but feel that I've lost some of the freshness of the other trees. If I had gained that wonderful myriad of life and nature I wouldn't care, but now I need some work.

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