This painting and the next were a bit of a struggle for me – both were based on source material which I felt were good, but the paintings were less than rewarding to me.
I was on my way to the office one morning and as I passed over the Horotui bridge near Hamilton I saw this beautiful warm streak of morning sun amidst the very blue clouds and reflection in the river. I stopped, walked back on the bridge, and took a photo. I painted #16 a day or so later:
I am not too happy with this, and I am sad to say the painting does not do the photo justice! Initially I thought that the cause was just too much blueness – I know paintings with lot of blue are notoriously difficult to pull off. But I know that is a cop-out: obviously something else is missing – maybe just my current lack of skill!
Below is the source photo I used. In my painting I removed the new bridge that sits in the centre of the photo, and I warmed up the sky as much as I could without it becoming too yellow. But that blue just sucked it all out.
This theme, of something missing when working from a photo, was also mentioned in this post by Aletha Kushan. My next painting (next post) – was based on a photo taken nearly 10 years back, and for me has that same lack of an emotional element (almost no blue this time!).
Somehow I feel the problem for me does not lie in the use of a photo (alone). I have made paintings that I like based on photos. There is something very subtle, maybe an attitude while working, I don’t know. I keep on chewing at this sense of what was missing when I made this painting: the sense of open space, transition in light, warm autumn colour that somehow speaks to me deeply. Perhaps these were just not there that day on my way to work.
On to number 17 and beyond. As the Kamikaze pilot wrote: “We continue flying in tight formation. Visibility is very poor”.