Monday, August 29, 2011

Light in the Hall

This hallway meditation was inspired by an attempt to re-work an old unfinished painting of interior light. After working from memory, imagination and a few unsatisfying reference photos, it was a welcome relief to do a study from direct observation.

Light in the Hall, oil on canvas panel, 10x8 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Plastic People

Further encounters with the plastic family.

Head to Head, oil on canvas panel, 7x5 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant

My Turn, oil on canvas panel, 7x5 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant

Friday, August 5, 2011

Kid in a Cup

My new favorite colors to work with are the Radiant series from Gamblin, particularly for creating more colorful grays and whites. I've always liked Gamblin oils for their creamy consistency but I wasn't aware of the radiant colors until I watched a video about artist Karin Jurick's palette. She works with up to 50 different colors on a regular basis, and it's hard to resist buying a whole new set of paints after watching all of those colors get lined up around the edge of her pizza-tray palette. As she so reasonably points out, "There's a world of color out there, people—I think you should use it."

Kid in a Cup, oil on canvas panel, 5x7 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Shadow Side

This was my third entry for the Virtual Paintout last month (Jersey). More to come in this series. The location for August is Fairbanks, Alaska. In the meantime, I am continuing another series that I started a few months ago with Kid on a Cup. The kid also has a little sister and a mom and dad. Stay tuned for their debuts.

Shadow Side, oil on canvas panel, 10x8 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Window Scene

I seem to have a new series developing from these Jersey images, based on neighborhood snippets and window reflections. This is actually the fourth one I've done—I will post another one tomorrow but the first one is still under consideration. I do wish Google would oblige me by going back to Jersey on a sunny day to update some of the overcast snapshots... There are so many great images but I haven't quite mastered the ability to invent my own sunlight, replete with cast shadows and reflected light.

I did learn a helpful trick in Photoshop, for those of you who use that program as your photo editor. One of the things that cameras tend to do is underexpose shadows, especially in direct sunlight, so in order to bring more light and color into the shadows you can go to Image-->Adjustments-->Shadow/Highlight. Depending on the amount of contrast in the source photo, the default setting of 50% can usually be lowered to about 25% for best results.

Window Scene, oil on canvas panel, 10x8 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jersey Dormer

This month the Virtual Paintout is going to the island of Jersey in the English Channel. I found some good hedges again and I have a few thumbnail sketches worked out for those, but mainly what I've been drawn to is the neighborhood details. Spartan yard plots, building geometries, window reflections, etc. One crazy neighborhood I came across had duplexes that were painted a different color on each half (nothing unusual there), but there were also two different styles of roofing material woven together in a seam running down the middle of the roof. How does that work?!

Dormer, oil on canvas panel, 10x8 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hedge Walls

Here are my latest hedge paintings, derived from Google Street View images of New Zealand. I went a little minimalist on the second one below, Green Wall, and I kind of like the simple geometry of it. It may have been inspired by something I read recently about trying to train yourself to see your painting on its own terms (an arrangement of colors, shapes, and values), and not just as a representation of something (a picture). It was a quote by artist Catherine Kehoe:
Try to forget that you are looking at a leg, or a pumpkin, or whatever it is. Forget the name of it, forget what you think the color should be. Forget rendering smoothly or making something "realistic." Think shape, specific color, relative value. Those three things will give you plenty to work with. If you get those things right, you won't need anything else. If you get them wrong, no amount of detail will make the painting live.
I like the idea of bringing out the underlying abstractions of a painting while still having them contribute to a recognizable image.

Hedge Cube, oil on canvas panel, 8x10 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant

Green Wall, oil on canvas panel, 8x10 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant

Crosslight, oil on linen panel, 6x6 inches.
©2011 Amy Tennant