Posts Tagged ‘Natalie Goldbert’

Taking a Hiatus on the Saint Ignatius Watercolor

April 25, 2012

Saint Ignatius nearing finish

Good evening.  Last evening I completed the monumental sculpture and base, and worked a little further on the portals, steps and handrails.  Finally I splashed some wash on the lower left part of the foreground for balance.  Then I got hung up.

After consulting with a number of trusted artist friends, I’ve decided how to complete this.  I will deepen the shadows on the receding walls, enrich some of the fire escape shadows, but most important of all, re-draw the architectural details on the perimeter of the composition.  For that I need to go back and take another long look at Andrew Wyeth and his drybrush techniques.  What I have always wished to accomplish in a major watercolor is to render in as much detail as possible the focal points of the composition, and then as the eye moves toward the perimeter, dissolve the picture into wash, and finally pencil rendering.  I have always loved that dimension of  Wyeth’s work.

I’m going to spend a day or two “composting” this picture, the way our Venetian painter Titian did over 500 years ago, and Wyeth did in our last century.  I’m borrowing that metaphor from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones.  I am referring to a habit of Titian and Wyeth in their manner of gazing at their works for days near the end, determining what exactly had to be done to “finish” the piece.  Goldberg, in the task of writing, speaks of how important it is for a writer to grow still, and allow thoughts to make their way to the surface, much in the same way that energy builds over time in a compost heap.  All that is needed is time.  And so I will give this picture time.  I don’t want to lose it.  I’m very, very excited about bringing it to closure, and right now have this burning desire to pore over the Wyeth work and glean ideas from his exquisite pencil renderings over watercolor.

Thanks for reading.  I hope the next time I publish this painting, that I present it to you as a fait accompli.