Saturday, July 11, 2015

A very British morning

I'm writing this from the front seat of the car. Downpour and winds make painting at the river in Keosauqua impossible. I am noticing something: When the rain picks up REALLY hard, the colors - greens especially - shift from blue, grey-greens to a yellower, more olive range. Some things slide almost 45 degrees on the color wheel.  Before, I've only noticed how the values become closer and the detail decreases. Today the rain periodically explodes so maybe I'm seeing it because the transition is quick - not spread out over several minutes? Or maybe I'm usually dashing for cover and not paying attention. And it just stopped...and then restarted...whoosh! Back and forth, yellow hues to bluer hues...very cool.

So, I found a spot under a picnic shelter with a so-so view of the Keosauqua bridge. I slapped the paint on an 8x10 panel hoping to get this effect. If you can manage to get some paint on the panel just about everywhere, it's possible to keep painting in drizzling or blowing rain. The paint displaces the water and sticks to itself, not unlike the way a stone lithograph gets inked before printing. UK painters do this all the time. THE RESULT IS NO PRIZE but at least I'll have a reminder of the yellow shift when I want to do a heavy shower image. Toning a panel yellow ochre might be a good way to feature the effect. There was a sign on the shelter indicating the high water mark from 1993. It was about chin level. Today the runoff was at ankle level. This summer is reminding me of 1993...yuck!

 Speaking of UK painters, my teacher in college, Geoffrey Baker, used to chant "everything in relation, nothing in isolation" as he went about the room critiquing. He stressed what I talked about last post: comparing colors, etc. not staring them down one at a time. That's him above. He looked sort of like the British actor Donald Pleasance - famous for playing  retiring roles - but his personality was more like Peter O'Toole in "What's New Pussycat". Really miss the guy.


  1. I admire your fortitude. I made my one attempt to paint in the rain & it didn't go as well as your day.
    Do you think the shift from blue to yellow might have something to do with a break in the rain clouds and the sun peaking through? The rain did stop and start so much today it's hard to tell what was really going on.
    Donald Pleasance is one of the best! That would have been cool if your teacher did a Blofeld impression. Mike Myers did and made a lot of money off of it.

  2. Not sure what caused the color shift, other than there was a lot of water in the air and a lot of bounced, rather than direct, light. The quick onset and stopping of the rain was different, too. The sky would go almost white and the water beige. Geoffrey was more Bond than Bond villain - just didn't look like 007.

  3. Great post! Now I will have to brave the weather and paint in the rain again. You made painting in the rain sound so interesting. Carroll and I went painting in the rain in the Farmington shelter house once with mixed results. I believe that was the one she turned in for the annual member show a few years ago.