Storm IV

Here’s the result of the morning’s work. I spent some time figuring out where the composition is going – I will place an object in the left side to bring the eye back up to the fellow on the left; if you look closely there’s a faint white line there which is my marker to suggest where I’d like this compositional device to go.

I made another change in the composition by adding a rock to the edge of the canvas beside the man. This closes that edge behind him so that the journey of the eye will tend to stay on the canvas instead of being led off to alternate adventures in another canvas somewhere. I think that I will probably add a foreground rock as well, upon which the woman will sit. This will made the action more contained and personal, and also make us feel as though we are flies of the wall at an event that we probably shouldn’t have seen.




I worked at defining the rocks by using a knife to scrape on some Van Dyke Brown over the Payne’s grey and loosely onto the rock surfaces, then adding some knifed Titanium White to it on the tops and left sides of the stones, where the light would hit them. I used the same brown to bring some texture into the female body.

At this stage of things it’s important to remember that further layers can lighten or darken the paint considerably, so things are not as they seem. Colours will also alter as glazes and opaque textures lay on top of what’s on the canvas already.

The large expanse of greenish brown on the left is finally irritating me enough that I think it’s going to have to get some attention very soon.

I want to express some ideas about the nature of trinity in this piece, a tricky proposition. Clue one: her fingers. 

About pearce

Michael Pearce is an artist, writer, and professor of art. He is the author of "Art in the Age of Emergence."
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2 Responses to Storm IV

  1. Michael Pearce says:

    Hi Jenedy,

    It’s hard to say how long an individual painting takes to make because I usually have several projects on the go at once. I would guess that if I did absolutely nothing but one painting at a time, it would take about three weeks to make a big one, but in reality all the other stuff that goes on feeds the way the piece develops, so it almost never works out like that.

    The swimming pieces varied, the “Girl Swimming” piece was a lot of work because of the detail that is in the lilies and the fish, at least a month, maybe two. I seem to remember doing the figure first, then setting it aside for a few weeks until I was ready to paint water lilies for a month. “Two Girls Swimming” was fast. I think it took at most two weeks.

    Both paintings are painted in oils on gold leaf over canvas stretched onto a panel. The prep work alone takes a great deal of time. Sid at Fine Art Stretcher Bars made all my bars and panels for me. I have a stack of them ready to go.

  2. Jenedy Paige says:

    Hey Michael,
    I just wanted to let you know that I dropped by the High Street gallery yesterday to pick up some paintings I had in a previous exhibit and I saw your swimming pictures. They are awesome! It was really nice to see such big powerful paintings in the gallery. And so then today I checked out your blog. Your painting of the baptism of Christ is particularly interesting. How long do you typically spend on a painting? Like the swimming pieces, how long did those take you? just curious.
    Keep up the good work! I’m a fan.


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