Wednesday, May 29, 2013

122 Working toward the center

In this latest abstract, The Center Will Hold, 24" x 24", a large landscape was sitting behind my easel as I painted this new piece. I was shocked by the contrast between the two methods of painting. The abstract was fresh and bright. The landscape by comparison appeared gray, washed out, and the brushstrokes seemed uncertain. It was a sharp reminder that one of my major goals in landscape painting is to get the kind of freshness I'm currently getting in my abstract paintings. It also reinforced my conviction that taking time to develop the abstracts is an excellent method to reinvigorate my landscape paintings.

The abstract project is legitimate on its own terms. It will also prove to be an excellent way to explore more color and texture possibilities which I can later incorporate into my landscapes.

In a past post I called these abstract experiments my color lab. I think the description is apt.

Brad Teare May 2013


  1. The colors and brushstroke in this painting are vibrant and moving! Great painting, Brad!

    It will be interesting to see how you add this to your landscapes. Have you seen the works of Howard Behrens? I share this only because your abstract here reminds me of his landscapes and such in that the vibrancy and stroke you are doing here are very similar.

    I can't wait to see how you apply this approach to a landscape! Go, Brad, go! Can't wait to see your experimentation and accomplishments!

    BTW...have you found any RGH paints that you think are real winners or any that disappoint? I'm really enjoying his cadmiums and his cobalt blue.

    Good to see another post, Brad. Until later,

  2. Thanks, Robert! I hadn't seen the work of Behrens before. Looks like he uses highly saturated paint with a palette knife. Very interesting! I might get the guts to do a landscape with the the abstract bravura. We'll see soon I hope.

    I've really liked the RGH paint. No disappointments. The napthol red has more strength than the version I am currently using but that is good since the way I use red is entirely too retiring. I love the cadmium lemon. It's a true lemon and very cool. On this painting I wish I would have bought some cad orange. The lemon yellow went a bit green as I used it to overpaint. I don't think the cad orange would have done that. I'll probably make a new order soon. I actually love the color in a can. It comes out nicely with a flat paint scraper which I can scrape all the way to the edge (because of there being no lip on the plastic cans). Very nice.

    Incidentally I actually bought one of those light tents you recommended. Then realized it was a 6 foot version and that it would take up my whole studio! So I cancelled it and am reconsidering a different size. But it looks like a great way to get more diffused lighting, which is difficult especially on these highly textured abstracts.

    1. I didn't know of Behrens until my wife and I went to Monterey. He had a gallery there, which closed a few years ago.

      His paints are applied very thickly with a palette knife...VERY thickly. I thought you might get a kick out of him.

      He's one of my favorites because of his use of color and texture and the motifs he does. There's really something very colorist in his works, but at the same time, you recognize the sense of the places he paints.

      I'm really glad you seem to enjoy the reference. I only shared it because I figured it might help you in your search to marry thick paint with bold use of textured abstracts.

      I picked up his little table top book when I was out there. You can't really make out the textures from the book, but the representations are pretty well done.

      He also paints very large, too. Makes me wonder of the gallons of paint he must go through.

      Truth be told, I know my weakness now is not applying paint thick enough. I'm working on that, though not enough. I really need to mix up a ton of paint and slather it on. I'm not getting the strokes I'd like to make yet.

      Practice Practice!

  3. I just noticed you can get a pint jar of refined linseed oil at RGH paints for $11.50. That seems like a pretty good price.

    1. Yes, I purchased a pint. Well worth it and what a bargain!

      My next order, I'm going to grab a pint of Walnut Oil.

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    1. Thanks for this post. I always enjoy seeing what is going on in your studio.

      I very much like the work of Birger Sandzen (1871-1954). He was a great woodcut artist, too.


    2. I need to take a look at Sandzen's work again. It has been a while. I didn't know he did woodcuts! His style certainly is reminiscent of strokes of a woodcut knife now that you mention it. Thanks fot the heads up!

  5. Nice colors. Someone once said: "Daring! That's what makes the artist!" I too would like to see how you would apply this on one of your landscapes.

    1. Richard, I should get to the experiment of adding such robust color to a landscape soon. I'm looking forward to seeing the results too! Thanks for your comments.

    2. Brad, Have you ever heard of Merlin Enabnit? He was an artist who authored couple of Walter Foster instructional books. The reason I mention him is because he used arbitrary colors in his landscapes, mostly complimentary, and what he called "Razzle-Dazzle" colors. He worked with a palette knife and he achieved some very interesting color combinations.

    3. I checked out Merlin Enabnit. Nice stuff! Rich, multi-hued strokes. I often like the paintings of those who use the palette knife although for me personally I find it gives a rather generic stroke (at least when I use only the knife). I admire those who can use it well. Thanks for the heads up!


Thanks for your comments!


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