Friday, March 26, 2010

Sky study 11



Some notes on these sky studies of late:

1. I don't know why I started doing these, but I'll do them as long as I find them engaging, and then move on to something different. (And then if the urge returns, I'll do more skies.) I try to follow these desires. Whenever I go in the studio and try to force subject matter or medium, it always fails. (I'm slooowly getting better at realizing this. Why it seems necessary to relearn this lesson continually, I don't know. Stubborn brain?)

1a. The translation from: in person --> camera --> iPhoto --> Photoshop
-->blogger realllllly makes them lose something, these sky studies perhaps more than any other pastels I've put up. In person, they are soft, yet have a certain clarity that never comes across on screen. Endless frustration, endless hours wrestling with the technology (pixels, image size, sharpening, color adjustment, raw-format editing...ad nauseum). You'll just have to take my word on it. Or else send Casey's photographer wife.

2.. The few times I've tried using a photo reference, results are poor and I have to give up.

3. These skies don't come from my memory per se (you assign me too much credit, Loriann), but rather I just approach the paper with an "anything goes" attitude, no particular shapes in mind. I then tend to work in one of two ways:

a) grab whatever color is calling to me, and rub it on the paper. Then another color, and make some marks with it too. Then perhaps a third color, and at that point, stop, take a good look and start making some conscious decisions about form, value, composition, and color harmony. My paintings seem to go best when I am able to let go and let them begin to tell me what direction they want to take.

b) propose a challenge to myself before I start, e.g.: can I make an electric-orange sky? can I make a pink cloud in a turquoise sky? can I do a high-value-only sky? or a low-values-only sky? can I make green clouds? yellow clouds? gray yet colorful clouds?.......and have it all look somehow believable, or feasible.

4. I don't consider these realism, nor wholly abstract. One thing that's extremely interesting to me is that, without any visible terra firma reference at all (e.g., no painted or drawn tree tops, horizon line, mountain ridge, etc.), and in spite of them in tangible reality existing merely as smudges and marks of color, people see them as skies and clouds. Why? I'm fascinated by how our brain interprets things to fulfill its own agenda.



You can see from his facial bone structure that Rumi is becoming quite the handsome young man. (Yes, he still adores being in the dishwasher.)



In Munnar.



More art on my website: jalapfaff.com

9 comments:

Candace X. Moore said...

Hey, Jala, I don't comment often enough to let you know how much I enjoy your work and ruminations. Always something worthwhile to consider here. TY. Also wanted you know I finally saw a Quang Ho dvd. First heard about him here on your blog. A talented teacher and a deep thinker. Best regards.

Jala Pfaff said...

Thank you, Candace. I'm so glad you enjoy your visits here. Particularly gratifying since you are currently involved in such different artwork! Cheers.

rahina q.h. said...

your clouds are delightful Jala... wherever they come from and really give me dreams:)
now what make of dishwasher is that? that cat has come out immaculate:)

Kelly M. said...

Jala -- enjoying your sky studies -- reminds me of Turner's studies. You might try a slight bit of gaussian blur in Photoshop to "soften" -- just a thought!

carolking said...

I'm really enjoying your sky studies. I hope they continue. The cat in the dishwasher is hysterical.

bonnieluria said...

Even if subjects come from real life, they get interpreted by our heads.
So whether we use our imaginations or a " real " subject, it's the result that counts.
I love these studies- or prefer to call them inspirations.
Has Rumi been captured by your new G9?
That shot looks so sharp.
Love that kitty.

Jala Pfaff said...

Hi Rahina - Clouds that make you dream, I like that!
Only the best dishwashers can make a white cat that clean, you know.

Hi Kelly M - Thank you very much. Compared to Turner? OK, I can just stop now. ;)
It seems to me that getting the sharper areas sharp w/o coming out pixellated-looking, is the problem. Wouldn't a Blur make things even more blurry? Obviously I don't know. Some more technology to try to learn when I have the chance...

Hi Carol - Thank you. Rumi so adores hopping into the dishwasher and moving toward the back, and then peering out, as you can see here. He's very clean as a result of all that appliance habitation.

Hi Bonnie - So true. Cloud Inspirations, I like that. :) The camera is not new. What's new is trying to figure out how to finally use it. Getting it back to square one was the first major accomplishment. This particular pic of the several I took of him in there turned out so sharply focused on his face, I couldn't believe it.

loriann said...

Hi Jala, I feel you are working in a subliminal way using your memory. They are definitely real life cloud inspired. Beautiful...however you cut it!
PS Thanks for the mention!

Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

You are a wise woman and I would be really smart if I took your advice on following your instincts as to what and how you paint. You are absolutely right. Which is one reason painting for a commission is so tricky - while the customer loved, perhaps, what they saw in one painting.. their request to personalize it for THEM, can make it dead for us. For me, anyway. While I'd love to have a stack of commissions to do, and am thrilled when I get one, actually doing them takes all the joy out of painting - I'd much rather paint whatever and however I want... when I want to. I guess it's all about 'me'! But that's when it all comes together and the good stuff happens. Like these clouds. I love them. Follow your bliss, I guess, huh? And Rumi ... gettin' clean, I suppose! Too much :)