JOHN POTOTSCHNIK FINE ART

The creative process: “At Least the Reception is Good”

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I often speak of the importance of having a concept before beginning a painting, in fact, I call it one of the necessary building blocks of painting.

Admittedly, a painting’s concept is not always the easiest thing to determine, particularly if you’re not restrained to paint, either from life or photos, what is before you.

Concept…the big idea for a painting…can sometimes scream at you. “Oh my, look at the light falling on the side of that house. I gotta paint that!” In that case the concept is easy to determine, but what about those times when the subject itself is somewhat uninspiring?

My latest painting presented such a challenge.

Photo reference

Photo reference

 

I’ve painted this old deserted house in Wylie, TX many times, when it was still standing. I loved the weathered, unkempt, overgrown condition of it. Recently, while looking through a stack of photos for inspiration, I came across this photo of the structure and wondered what I might once again be able to do with it.

When faced with an appealing subject but an unappealing mood, consideration is given as to how the mood of the piece might be changed in order to make a stronger statement. “What if the sky is darkened and the light intensified on the house?” I wondered. “How would that look?”

 

Value Study - 4.5" x 4.5" - Gouache

Value Study – 4.5″ x 4.5″ – Gouache

Color Study - 4.5" x 4.5" - Gouache

Color Study – 4.5″ x 4.5″ – Acrylic

 

At that point a value study was created; suddenly the scene was significantly more dramatic. I liked the effect and decided to pursue the idea, this time with a color study. A palette of colors was selected that I thought would provide what was needed. I am a strong believer in the limited palette, as it greatly helps in achieving color harmony. The palette, of course, looks quite intense compared to the painting, but through intermixing color, a beautiful variety of grays can be achieved.

The palette selected for the study was Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Yellow, Chromium Oxide Green and Titanium White. The bottom row of colors indicate additional mixtures made from the preceding four.

The palette selected for the study was Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Yellow, Chromium Oxide Green and Titanium White. The bottom row of colors indicate additional mixtures made from the preceding four.

 

The mood for the studies was created from imagination, but as I began the larger work, I began to wonder how accurate my relationship of sky to land was. Fortunately, I remembered a plein air study I had created years ago that depicted pretty much the same mood. I was pleasantly surprised by the similarity.

"Summer Storms" - 4.5" x 6" - Oil

“Summer Storms” – 4.5″ x 6″ – Oil

 

As I mentioned in previous blog posts, the fully realized concept often unfolds for me during the painting process; that’s what happened here. A painting done a couple of years ago, “The Tonight Show” came to my mind, followed by memories of seeing old rundown houses with new cars in the driveway. It then hit me, and I broke out laughing.

"The Tonight Show" - 16" x 24" - Oil

“The Tonight Show” – 16″ x 24″ – Oil

 

The dark, foreboding sky foreshadows what is to come, but for right now things are OK. Hey, “At Least the Reception is Good”.

"At Least the Reception is Good" - 12" x 12" - Oil

“At Least the Reception is Good” – 12″ x 12″ – Oil

 

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John Pototschnik is an Art Renewal Center Associate Living Master
To view his art and bio, please click HERE

 

His work may be found in the following fine galleries:
Abend Gallery
Illume Gallery of Fine Art
Southwest Gallery