Emerging -Painting Stages

by Lisa Larrabee

Oil & Wax on Panel
24" x 36"
artist Lisa Larrabee

My Figurative Landscape paintings are intended to visually convey that people and nature are inextricably connected.  Although we often lose ourselves in our fast-paced lives, my hope is that we are reminded to slow down and contemplate how we are interconnected with others and the world around us.

What began as an idea, slowly developed through a combination of sketches, photo reference and experimentation by layering images in Photoshop.  I often blur or filter my digital image so that I  feel less restricted by detail and free to allow colors and textures to develop in the painting.

I began with an abstracted color field.  This is where I first explore different textures and methods.  In this piece I added a little cold wax medium to my oil paint because I like the drag it adds to the paint application.  I typically only use cold wax medium in this initial stage.  I used a brayer roller to overlap and layer colors made slightly more translucent due to the wax medium.  I decided to scratch "scribbles" across the panel in order to depict some of the tree textures in the next stage.  

I transferred my drawing of the trees by sparsely scumbling blue oil paint across the back side of the newsprint before tracing the drawing onto the painting.  Typically I would freehand trees, but I wanted to be more precise due to the relationship of the tree branches to the face (not yet added).

I roughly blocked in the cool blues and purples with a pallet knife and large brush.  I realized early on that the color and value relationships between the tree and the face needed to develop simultaneously, so I transferred the figure.

Although blue and orange are contrasting (complimentary) colors, it was important to keep the values similar so that they read as a consistent shadow for my figure.  By adding some simplified highlights, she emerged from the trees.

As I developed this painting, I was conscious of leaving much of the textures and energy of its early stages.  It was also important to keep the values in careful relationship so that the forms were not lost.

This was as fun as it was challenging for me.  I hope you enjoy it.

~ Lisa