Friday, October 9, 2009

Water and Rocks

Most of my recent works have been relatively small pieces. My mindset lately has kept me away from the easel and I’ve really been dragging my feet getting a new painting started. I’ve been filling page after page of my sketchbooks with pencil drawings, but have had no desire to paint. Wednesday, I made myself put some paint down. Now that I’ve got the ball rolling, I’m completely energized. This is a fairly large painting and will take a considerable amount of time to finish. I don’t think I’ll post “daily” progress on this one, but will attempt to do so periodically. The photo I’ve posted here is a small portion of the larger work.

To this point, I’ve washed the base colors on the primed board, roughed in the layout with a white charcoal pencil, and began the detail work over the base colors. This painting will be quite complicated and there are several challenges I’ve not tackled in the past, so it will be an adventure. My reference material is good, to that will be a big help.

Working in relatively small squares allows me to concentrate on each small detail without being distracted by the entirety of the painting. Hopefully, I’ve worked out all the compositional elements and how they relate to each other in my preliminary sketches. Of course, paintings sometimes take on a life of their own and don’t go according to plan. Those are the times when I feel my artistic metal is really being tested. Stay tuned…


Peter Brown said...

Jim, I'm intrigued by your "bite-sized chunks" method! I've not seen anyone else using this approach, but it's obviously working well for you.

I'm trying lately to have a more disciplined approach to painting - blocking-in, then refining and adding detail. If I have a problem, it's that the painting looks a complete mess after the blocking-in stage and I often become discouraged as a result. Is this why you complete small areas at a time, or is there another advantage?

Jim Bortz said...

Peter, Yes, I've found that if I block in an entire large painting, I end up focusing on how lousy it looks instead of the next layer of detail. I enjoy the (almost) instant gratification of working on smaller blocks of the painting. This keeps me excited about larger works and moving them forward at a brisk pace.

I know of a couple of other artists that work in similar fashion, though not many. It suits me well as it is a very straight forward (almost mechanical) approach to painting realism. Perhaps I will discuss this more as this piece nears completion.

Peter Brown said...

Thanks Jim, I look forward to future posts on this subject. I think that as a realist painter - and something of a perfectionist - I have to accept that the traditional blocking in approach doesn't sit well with me, even though I know the mess will be cleaned up as the work progresses. I'm all for instant gratification - perhaps it's time I gave "The Jim Bortz Method" a trial run!

Jeff said...

"bite-sized chunks" or big mouth chunks whatever method you use it works. As a follower from day one your tecnique and methods have panned out for sure and have produced some outstanding pieces. As a collector, follower and friend I'm happy to know you and your work.

Hope to see you soon.