Caren Hyde News The latest news from Caren Hyde. en-us Sun, 15 Jul 2018 16:16:26 CDT Sun, 15 Jul 2018 16:16:26 CDT Painting Process, Part II <div>Over the past year my painting process has evolved. This was a deliberate move on my part - unsatisfied with some aspects of my process and the results I was achieving. I had noticed that I was enjoying painting the backgrounds and indeterminate elements of my landscapes more than the foreground and details. In addition to enjoyment, I also noticed I was more "in the moment" when employing certain techniques over others. So I decided to try some new things, changing materials used and the way that I use them. The first idea I had was to abandon reliance on brushes. Granted, we use brushes for their versatility, efficacy and accuracy, but there is the danger of drawing and describing with the brush rather than painting with it. And I will admit having the tendency to fall into that trap. However,&nbsp;one of the great aspects of acrylic paint, it's versatility in terms of application (there are multiple "how to" books on the subject). So in a little experiment, I set about avoiding the brush and gathering materials that could get the paint on and off of the surface - cotton buds, wire, rags, clay tools, flexible and non-flexible plastic, paper towels, sticks, sponges, rollers etc. I made a point to avoid ghastly palette knives, but let the very useful fingers and thumbs come into play.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Here's the first image that was made:</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center; "><img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/4045/rsz_works_on_paper_008.jpg" width="400" height="303" alt="" />&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center; "><em style="font-weight: bold;">Landscape 1</em>, 8"x 10". Acrylic on paper.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>As you might see, I had to use a small brush to paint the trees, but I was surprised and intrigued by the results. &nbsp;It has a bit of an etching feel to it and looks rather antique. I played around with monochrome for a while, experimenting with non-traditional implements, discovering what worked, what didn't and was able to eliminate some of the tools due to their total lack of flexibility. Here's one of the more successful pieces, using burnt umber on a aureolin yellow ground:</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center; ">&nbsp;<img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/4045/rsz_works_on_paper_014.jpg" width="400" height="296" alt="" /></div><div style="text-align: center; "><em style="font-weight: bold;">Landscape 14</em>, 11"x 14". Acrylic on paper.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div> </div><div>&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>I had started to introduce color, but it remained a problem to be solved and took about 8 months to figure out. Working with a limited palette of pigment layers became the solution I opted for, but I needed to gain some knowledge of acrylic pigments and the order in which to apply each successive layer. Here's one of the first efforts where I used 4 colors:</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center; "><img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/4045/rsz_work_on_paper_006.jpg" width="400" height="298" alt="" />&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<em><strong>Night Lights - A study</strong></em> 12"x 16". Acrylic on paper</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The above paintings were made on paper and I felt it was time to take the leap and commit to wood panel. Due to the limitations of glazing - you can only add so many layers before the whole thing turns black - I had to plan out the image more than I had in the past. The materials I chose and process employed, involve a lot of chance, which I like, but one walks a razors edge that can tip into chaos if the image doesn't have a plan and is made mindfully. Photographs take a seat in the back of the bus now, used only as a compositional starting point and occasionally for detail reference at the end. Here's the first acrylic on panel painting which I agonized over for at least 2 months (and by Jove, it's still not finished . . .):</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center; "><img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/4045/rsz_010.jpg" width="440" height="550" alt="" />&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center; "><em style="font-weight: bold;">Dancing with the Moonlit Night</em>, 20"x 16". Acrylic on panel&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I'd like to write a bit more about chance and how it figures in my painting. I attended Bath Academy of Art 1983-86, obtaining a BA in fine art. There was pressure at the time to conform to the doctrine of Modernism - &nbsp;to be unaesthetic, un-Romantic and above all anti-bourgeois. If you made anything remotely picturesque, you would be taken off and flogged. One of the things you could do to avoid ridicule and ostracization was introduce chance into the work, e.g. cover-yourself-in-paint-and-roll-around-on-the-canvas, sort of thing. My current reason for using chance comes from a different source. As someone who is interested in the natural world and how it works in all it's complexity, I am seeing the use of chance as more of a metaphor for evolutionary processes. The implements that I am using allow for a lot more variation in the act of intention than the brush, by virtue of the fact that you just cannot control a piece of plastic the way you can a brush. So chance mutations occur within an intentional process. Being a Romantic painter by temperament, I go full-steam ahead making aesthetic judgments and deliberate improvements to the image, so my paintings are ultimately very personal. The paintings emerge from an essentially chance-infested, but refined process that connects to personal memory and feeling, as well as the natural world which inspired the image in the first place.</div><div> </div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>This way of working is inherently quicker than the traditional brush to canvas technique, but it is also much easier to go down the wrong road. A process of natural selection takes place where few survive my quite rigorous aesthetic criteria. Over the past year I have made close to a hundred images on paper, most of which are bound for the rubbish bin, but they are getting better as I deepen my understanding of paint and acrylic additive properties, refine my process and develop my perception for a potential image. Many of these images are included in the Works on Paper gallery on the website - &nbsp;<div>&nbsp;</div><div></div><div>&nbsp;</div>Panel/canvas paintings are now based on those that first made the grade on paper. That way I sort of have an outline and plan:</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;<img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/4045/rsz_works_on_paper_011.jpg" width="200" height="252" alt="" />&nbsp;<img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/4045/rsz_paintings_004__2_.jpg" width="200" height="251" alt="" /></div><div>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div></div><div>I say "sort of" as I never really know what is going to happen. For example, the above painting on panel (right hand side) was turned upside down half way through the process . . . &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>So here I am a year later. I appear to have worked out the color issue and have refined the use of favored implements. Brushes are still a part of the process, used mainly as a finishing tool. One of the problems left to solve, is size. Right now the process is suited to smaller work. One solution is to piece together a grid of smaller panel into a large image (a la Hockney); another is to somehow slow down the drying time of the paint (never thought I'd say that). Then there is the issue of photographing these very dark, glossy paintings. One thing is for&nbsp;sure - more experimenting ahead.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center; ">&nbsp;<img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/4045/rsz_005.jpg" width="300" height="426" alt="" /></div><div style="text-align: center; "><em><strong>Departing.</strong></em>&nbsp;7"x 5", Acrylic on panel.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Sun, 15 Jan 2017 07:54:10 CST Painting Process, Part I <div>At a recent exhibition I was asked by viewers several times to explain my painting process and I'm writing this post as the long answer to that question. Although I do not adhere to the style of traditional landscape painting, there is something to be said for adopting some aspects of the traditional process when making a studio painting. I more or less follow this process for all of my work; it creates an efficiency, allowing me to focus on the more challenging aspects of each individual work. In addition, it's not too limiting and allows for spontaneity. Here I outline this process with one of my latest paintings <strong style="font-style: italic;">Falling Water I</strong>.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Many of my paintings start with a visual reference, a drawing and/or photograph.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center; "><img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/4045/rsz_campbell_falls_011___copy.jpg" width="250" height="250" alt="" />&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;<img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/4045/rsz_1003.jpg" width="250" height="249" alt="" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>These images will sit on the pin-board of the studio wall for a period of time. &nbsp;I need to know that the original inspiration has a lasting effect. I was excited by the abstract possibilities of this image, but I was to discover that as I progressed with the painting these formal aspects would become very challenging.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>When I decide to make a painting the first thing to do is select a palette.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center; "><img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/4045/rsz_002.jpg" width="500" height="184" alt="" />&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I use Golden acrylic paints. Here I have selected permanent green light; phthalo blue; dioxazine purple; alizarin crimson; cadnium red light; aureolin yellow and titanium white. I know these pigments well and how they interact with each other. There is no red, purple or yellow in this painting, but I chose these pigments to create the greens, the neutrals, semi-neutrals and the warm darks. At this stage I have an idea of the overall color scheme, perhaps analoguos &nbsp;- blue/green; perhaps triadic - blue/green/orange. I will see where the painting leads me.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Now I start with one of the traditional techniques: a grisaille underpainting. &nbsp;I do not prime with a mid tone sienna like many painters who use oil do - acrylic does not have the body of oil paint and it would be difficult to work back up to the higher values. So, I prefer to use washes of burnt umber, using&nbsp;the white of the primed panel to maintain the high values.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;"><img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/4045/rsz_001.jpg" width="250" height="251" alt="" />&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It is at this stage of the painting that I can figure out the basic composition, experiment with various textures and brushes, and work out the tonal values. It really does save time and energy to get the important ground work done in this manner, rather than having to repaint an area latter on.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Next, I add some color:</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center; "><img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/4045/rsz_001_2.jpg" width="250" height="251" alt="" />&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In the areas that I plan to paint green, I have painted red-orange. The green and yellow paints that I use are transparent - over the burnt umber they will look dead. Over the red-orange however, greens will appear more vibrant. This is another traditional technique - colored underpainting. (This technique has a long history: Renaissance painters would underpaint skin tones green - there is great example in the National Gallery in London of a incomplete Michaelangelo, clearly showing the green underpainting of the figures). As you see I have continued to refine the image whilst adding the red-orange tone.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Next, I start to add some color and with this the painting starts to look rather pleasing.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center; "><img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/4045/rsz_002_2.jpg" width="250" height="250" alt="" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But it is also the time when I start to run into problems. &nbsp;It happens to be a rather hot week here in Massachusetts and my paint is drying very quickly. In fact, its behaving like egg tempera; the paint is being sucked off the brush by the surface and is dry in seconds - there will be no opportunity for blending, so I will have to soften areas by using washes of colors and scumbling - a technique of using a dry brush and a small amount of thick paint.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center; "><img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/4045/rsz_004_2.jpg" width="250" height="252" alt="" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div>The bottom right area of the painting was proving very difficult. Unlike the upper left quadrant, where the water is orderly and forming something of a rhythmic pattern, the lower right area is very chaotic and I needed to organize it enough to integrate it with the rest of the picture. However, I also want to retain the energy of water's movement and indicate it's reflective capacity. &nbsp;After all, it is the movement of water that has created all that surrounds it - the carved out texture of the rocks in the background and the worn, smooths surfaces of those in the foreground. Another issue is the color choice here. Although this predominantly blue area looks rather nice, it's separating itself too much from the background and I had to make a choice of whether to take the blue into the background or bring green into the foreground. So, I painted and repainted the lower right area several times, with the various color alternatives over the next couple of days of heat wave and finished with the final image, somewhat satisfied with the final analoguos color scheme.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center; "><img src="/admin/../resources/img/blog_img/4045/rsz_006.jpg" width="300" height="303" alt="" /></div><div style="text-align: center; ">&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div>So, the reader may have noticed that I have not mentioned feelings or emotion during my explanation of my process. I am most aware of emotion before I start painting - I want to express something and that something is a feeling; so the inspiration is certainly emotional. It may go without saying that I am also making decisions based on feeling throughout the creation of &nbsp;the painting. There was no absolute right way to make this painting and ultimately I had to rely on what I felt to be right at the time. But I hasten to add that this feeling of "rightness" has come from years of practice, research, learning and experimentation. However much I may be relying on emotion as a guide, I am not focused on this area of my experience. The person who taught me color theory at Bath academy of Art - Michael Kidner, always maintained - "focus on the formal aspects of painting and let the emotion take care of itself". &nbsp;He was a very cerebral painter and follower of Joseph Albers and maybe he meant this literally and absolutely. I'm not sure if I follow this advice in the same way that he meant it, but it has stuck with me.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I see painting as the creation of an object through the solving of various problems that are presented during a very complex series of events that involve conscious and unconscious processes of thought and feeling, together with the physical properties of the medium and environmental issues - in the case of this painting, a heat wave.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Sun, 13 Sep 2015 12:51:13 CDT Exhibition Details <p>UPCOMING</p><div style="text-align: left;">Currently no shows planned, but stay tuned.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Mon, 09 Sep 2013 18:25:29 CDT