View RSS Feed

Ramblings from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia


Rate this Entry

Charcoal pencil is used to sketch the outlines
Of the points of central focus in the painting
I am designing. The pencil moves quickly, creating shadows.
I leave the paper white in areas I intend to highlight
As the work progresses. Slowly, surely the picture gains definition.
I love abstract surrealism! It makes the viewer decide.

Blush is best for the first gentle wash, before I decide
More fully on the colors that I will need to outline
The image. Painting is like photography in resolution and definition.
The correct color choices and technique—and is it a painting—
Or a photograph? The shading and the highlights
Must, of course, be perfect: Not too bright and yet not too much shadow…

A medium grey is what I almost always choose for shadows—
The world itself is far too dark. One must decide
On a method of proceeding from shadow to highlights:
Back light? Front? Side? Diffused? This will determine what part of the outline
To darken, and what part to leave alone. Each and every painting
Must have something that catches the eye, a defining

Characteristic of its own. In color, some art seems to defy definition.
Perhaps it would be better rendered in black and white, to focus on shadow.
But one artist should never criticize another’s paintings.
What we disguise as “criticism” is truthfully and decidedly
Merely professional jealousy! Ah, the painting has begun to emerge from the outline.
It is a self-portrait in shadows! Now for the highlighting!

Banana-cream is a color I like to use for the purpose of highlights.
It mixes well with the shading, and brings forth real definition!
The places I left white in the charcoal outline
Become gloriously shiny; the others softly fade into shadows.
There are not quite enough shaded areas, I decide.
I pick up another brush and turn back to the painting.

My pallet is a rainbow of colors, though few are required for this painting.
Grey, white, blush, sepia, blue, and of course banana-cream for highlights.
That’s about it. The eyes of my portrait stare at me as I decide
Whether or not they need to be a bit more clearly defined.
No. They are sad blue-grey orbs, surrounded by dark shadows.
But the face in the painting is mine, ever outline.

Self-portrait. By definition, then, the man in the painting
Is me. A pale, sad face outlined by very heavy shadows.
Perhaps, I decide, turning back one more time, just a little more highlighting…

© 12/11/97 D L Harris
Published Online at The Lost Library of Alexandria now defunt