Friday, May 25, 2012

Dragonfly Heaven, 9x12"

Dragonfly Heaven by Adriana Meiss

    I am so happy to have finished this painting that for months sat on a shelf in the studio. A dead tree in the middle of the pond had kept me from working on this one. I debated whether  to move it to the right or to the left, making it the focal area or to not include it at all.  As I remembered the day I was at this location and how at peace I felt listening to the insects and the wind I realized that the dead tree wasn't important; all it needed was a mood that invited the viewer to be there. I hope it will strike such feeling in people.
    This is on Rondaxe Road, Old Forge, NY. The road divides the pond in two, so there are nice views on both sides.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The View from the Green Bridge, Old Forge, 10x8"

View from the Green Bridge, pastel by Adriana Meiss

I was in Old Forge this past weekend to see the opening reception of the pastel exhibit at View Arts Center, and to take a portrait workshop with Alain Picard.

While there, some friends wanted to see how I painted on location and for that purpose we went to the Green Bridge, which offers nice views in both directions. The "demo" was very short, perhaps half an hour, and I pointed out the most important aspects of painting outdoors: 1. select the subject,  2. Make small sketches first to determine the right composition and what the focal area is going to be,   3. pay attention to color temperature and values,  4. block in the main masses, and finally 5. provide some detail. I like to work as fast as I can so that the changing light conditions do not tempt me to make too many adjustments to my painting. This is the original piece:

en plein air, View from the Green Bridge

In the studio I continued working on it and did some minimal changes to the composition.  What took me the longest was giving the idea of a swift current. I realize that the freshness the original had is gone, but I needed to bring it to a level  I felt comfortable with.
About the workshop, all I can say is that it was very informative to see the 2-hour demo Picard did the day before the workshop. I tried to approach the portrait as if it were a landscape, but one thing  is sure, you won't be seeing portraits in this blog anytime soon.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Last Year's Grasses-Green Lakes, 18x24"

This painting will be at the St David's Celebration of the Arts which runs this week only.

I had started it last year but had to put it away when it was 80% done because I had to prepare for an art fair;  I knew that if I tried to finish it in a hurry I was going to mess it up.  Anyway, I finished it last week, in time for the upcoming show.  It's a nice feeling when you finish a piece without looking at the reference material and you know (o think that you know) exactly what needs to be done.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Starry Night in the Adirondacks, 7x5"

Starry Night in the Adirondacks by, Adriana Meiss

This recently finished painting was done on an impulse from a photo reference taken during daytime.

I have never painted outdoors at night, but I do go out then very often just to see the colors and to take mental notes. It only takes a few minutes for the eye to get used to the darkness. Then I ask myself  how many colors can be easily identified.  It always helps me to imagine myself painting and looking for a particular color in my pastel box. The house that was red during daylight, is it now blue or purple? What color does white take in darkness? Whatever the answer is, in my experience some of the colors need to be exaggerated just a little bit, and you do not necessarily have to rely on black. The darkest areas in the painting above were done with dark blues and dark olive greens.

The trick about night scenes is to make them believable enough. Just look at Rene Magritte's painting The Empire of Lights: cover the bottom part and you have a daytime sky, cover the area of the sky and you see a night scene, yet the whole scene seems to be so real...