Today, I made myself a promise that I will complete at least four small paintings per week, and I'm 3/4 there now. I have three finished, drying 8 inch squares. I'll post them one at a time, probably starting tomorrow. It's already an exciting and interesting exercise. My old way of working was (is still) to generate a large composition from various references and take what usually was a few weeks to complete the painting, working in successive layers until I was satisfied with the result.
This method of working is exciting because it allows fast decisions, quicker turn around time and more risk taking. And, it lets me express ideas in almost a visual shorthand, which I love to do. I can play! And I know it's going to teach me a lot. I'm going for the gestural, rather than specifics. And I'm going to use as large a brush as I can to force me to deal with the most important elements and learn to get rid of distractions and unnecessary detail.
I'll write more about my thoughts on the process of each specific painting as they are posted, but already with only three under my belt, I found each successive one was more fun, and more freeing. For some reason, I started with doing little animal sketches, and so my first three are that.
As I was working, I began to notice that the biggest kick I was getting was in working with the mid-tones and the temperatures and values within them. So, I guess my focus so far visually is that, looking for shifts and unexpected color changes within a mid value area.
The joy of this is that one thought leads to another, and once I recognized this curiosity of mine, it led me to want to do very gestural landscape pieces, looking for nuanced mid-tones and playing with intensity and temperature in them in landscape work. And it is also making me want to play with my values, perhaps not having white as the lightest color, but a more subdued Naples yellow or cream as my lightest tone - tightening the value range and making distinctions simply with temperature.
I am pretty excited about this.