Jon is busy marking the end-of-term papers, just getting to them now after working late all week to create review packages for his math students; that he is retiring in ten days is an abstraction, to be dealt with when it happens. Otherwise, his sole gear is “Drive.”
I too am completely absorbed in what’s in front of me. It’s a highly complex forest scene, autumnal in palette, and large. The value underpainting has been a real workout, necessitating the sorting of "what to edit out" and of "what to rejig." I have chosen to bring the eye in at the middle left (the traditional way we read anything) and sweep it across upper part of the forest to peek at the subtle yellows at the right. For that reason, I will tamp down the complexity of the canopy; it must not distract, only convey the eye across itself. Then I want the viewer’s eye to descend the big beautiful tree at the front, at which point it will notice the path, and obediently follow its serpentine progress into the forest. Its final twist is to the left, which brings us back to where we started. That critically important path must have strong white highlights because it is the bride in this wedding; because the secondary role of matron of honour must fall to that foreground tree, my intent is to make it interesting without allowing it to steal the show. I guess this analogy makes me mother of the bride, the exhausted architect of it all. I should have hugged my mom more at the time.
Only once this value underpainting is dry shall I begin to add the layers of transparent primaries. If glaze oil painting has a particular virtue for the painter in terms of process rather than product, it is the steady increase of anticipation as the image takes shape. I get more and more excited. Imagine what I shall be wearing by the time I’m into final glazes.
In the meantime, maybe, just for the heck of it, I will get properly dressed.
As long as it doesn’t throw my game off.