Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Butter Sky

'Butter Sky' - oil - 10x12 - © Marc R. Hanson '09

I'm realizing that this exercise in using the imagination is not an easy one to undertake. I think that I've been away from being a child for way too long :-( and am realizing that I am trained, practiced and mentally organized into "needing" to have a reference in front of me of some sort to "think" with paint and brush. All the better reason then to continue with this idea.

When I teach I emphasize the need to have a thought, a 'CONCEPT' before starting any painting. IF YOU DON'T... understanding what it is you want to say, what your point of view is, what is it that was so interesting to you, what the mood is in the painting that you want to portray, what was it about the idea of painting the concept that was most interesting to you?????????? I feel that you need to know the answers to these questions or you will not get the most out of yourself or your work.

This is what I tell myself by the way. Others will disagree, there are plenty of other philosophies about painters and painting.

As far as I'm concerned, and as far as my work is concerned, I'm the only one who counts. :-)

Okay, on to this one. Last week we experienced a slight warming, up into the mid-twenties above zero. The warming caused a lot of moisture to be lifted into the atmosphere. The resulting weather effect was spectacular lighting with the sun being very diffused. On Thursday it was as beautiful a day in the winter as I've seen in a long time. I was on the road that day with a friend and our cameras. Everywhere we turned we were greeted with breathtaking "buttery" colors all very high key in relationship. For the first half of the day hoar frost covered everything. The second half of the day the frost had mostly burned off but the moisture from that caused the diffusion and atmospheric perspective to be a wonder to experience from a painters point of view.

This painting is an exploration of the color and mood of that day. That's all that I started with here, to try to recall that day and the color and mood that we experienced. As I painted the figure/land elements emerged more as a calligraphic balance to the rest of the image than anything about anything specific. I think that the single 'figure- like' element speaks to the feeling I had that day of the land being quite, very little activity. Enjoy.


Jacki Newell said...

I know the kind of atmosphere you speak of. We experience it here in Nebraska on occasion and it's so inspiring. Most people love crystal clear skies, but I prefer the heavy atmosphere that glows with the light

Marc R. Hanson said...

Jacki... I totally agree with that. Crystal clear is good for suntans and calendars. ;-) Thanks for the comments.

Theresa Rankin said...

Beautiful atmosphere and mood in this piece and the color and consistency of the paint is reminiscent of butter. The idea for this blog is terrific!! I completely understand the reference to being a child,where just sitting with no subject matter point and creating was such fun!

Donna T said...

I am so excited to see your new blog, Marc! I am struggling to let go of photo references and also to be less literal in my plein air work. Thanks for sharing your creative process. Butter Sky is the perfect title for that painting!

Ben Bauer said...

I see that figure as a Jack Nicholson in the Shining but not sooo creepy this is one the coolest paintings I have seen in some time....


Marc R. Hanson said...

There you go Theresa. That's it exactly, that place was probably as creative as we will ever be?

Marc R. Hanson said...

Donna, what I'm doing here is nothing new. But it is something to do that we don't regularly practice. Try it out, I can't tell you how liberating it is. It's not easy to do and I'm not sure where this will evolve. That however, is part of the attraction to this way of working.
It might be that I end up "recalibrating" my eye when on location to think a little more independently of the subject??? I don't know. If that is a result of the exercise it will be worth it.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Ben you're cracking me up. Maybe I'm revealing a side of me that should have stayed hidden!!! I love that movie. :-0

Thanks for the compliment, it means a lot. This is similar to what you did this past year. I don't know if you have Dan McCaws book but if so, read through that. He's really the inspiration to do this.
You might know that I had him as a painting instructor at school. His lessons are still with me, he was that influential, and good.

Ben Bauer said...

clean canvas or messy and a pile of paint that is premixed and harmonious (well hopefully) and an empty mind of a preconceived notion, can go along way, and the best part is you dont have to spend too much time thinking if something is right...... Most times it works out fine...... I really like the greys to do this with........ As your butter sky painting shows us. You are a master at it. I am a lover of tonalist paintings of the late, but ones that are more in tune with the way nature shows it... John Felsing and Russel Catham are ones to look at Cottons from time to time as well.. Rambling but hell its making me think....:>)


rob ijbema said...

oh yes!
turner comes to mind
floating landscapes

Gabriel Boray said...

Great work, I'm glad I found your blog. I paint mostly from memory, but also from life and always the concept comes first. Your paintings are beautiful. I'll subscribe and watch for more. I'm blogging at