I have started to put more effort into my digital files. A few of my paintings are suitable for reproductions and so the better my photography is the better the giclee turns out. I have been asked about my equipment so Ill share a little info. I have a very nice old Nikon D200 which is more than adequate for my needs. Its important to have the capability of shooting RAW files. The high resolution makes colour correction so easy.
Its really important to have control over light. After many years of shooting my work outside, relying on overcast days and indirect light I now can control my light with a dedicated system. This is so much better. No more glare/reflection issues and no concern about reflected colour from grass, concrete, walls etc.
I opted for a very inexpensive Newer system. About $100C all in.
Here is the setup. I find setting the stands up at about 45 degrees works well. I do a little fine balancing if there are heavy impasto passages in the work.
There is a third light to play with but I haven't seen the need for it yet.
Here is my freshly completed painting which was inspired by a jewel of a spot just west of us. The gulls playing on the updrafts while searching for snacks are fun to watch and funner to paint.
Botany Bay, 30X60", Oil on canvas.
If interested contact me here or at bill@billhibberd .com
Here is the start of a painting inspired by a lovely, almost perfect cove called Botany Bay. I say perfect because the scale and composition of the place in its natural state provide the artist with all the elements that he/she needs to make a statement. To create art it is essential to get past mere replication of a scene. This particular place is magic because it presents all the individual notes that can, in the right hands or at the whim of the Spirit, be arranged into visual poetry. its not that a can of sardines cannot be the inspiration for a piece of art. But some subjects like Botany Bay simply make the process easy. Lets see if I can bring a little justice to this scene. One thing is sure. I will be back for more.
Here is the finished painting. I included a few gulls floating on the updrafts to give the piece some scale. They also introduce some dynamism into the subject.
I had a very pleasant surprise when a collector contacted me before I was actually finished the painting with the news that she and her husband both loved it and wanted to purchase it for their home. Especially exciting is when a piece of art resonates with someone and when there is an instant connection. The buyer is a writer and has experienced a transcendental moment while standing before the west coat surf a few years ago. This moment of inspiration that informs her writing was spiritual and as a result this painting of mine connected with her in a spiritual way. As an artist things don't get better than when your work affects a viewer emotionally. A big thanks to Joy and Ray for your support.
Working through fore and middle ground. Getting a bit busy but I still feel the power of that Pacific Ocean. Time to put it up on a stand and see where it needs to go from here.
Now that Ive posted it I apologize for the poor photo. I shot it just as our first big winter storm is rolling in.
I have redrawn (with paint) the surf spray and started playing with colours. I need to assess my value plan now. It is good to digitize the image to make some decisions. I can easily notice the annoying strong valued rock on the right foreground. When I go back in I will knock that down a bit . I have been careful to de-emphsize the small water falls cascading off the rocks. They are beautiful but this painting is about the power and presence of the waves crashing against the boulders. If I get fussy I will lose my motive. I can see now that I need to restore the high value of the tops of the ground cover. I want to describe the residual water running off the rocks in the foreground to. We will see if I can stick with that plan in my next attack.
As I continue it is a process of push and pull. I try brush and knife work, sometimes get off track so I might have to scrape away and try again .
The main thing is to not lose my main idea. The values, colours and textures will get pushed around but my idea needs to be retained.
To be continued.
The landscape of the west coast has been calling me for some time and we have now resettled on Vancouver Island. I have been exploring my new environment searching out motives for paintings and they are abundant. Exciting times! I thought that I would work through my process on my first attempt.
I really enjoyed standing by the land/sea interface at Port Renfrew observing the waves crashing into the rocks. Seemed like a good scene to capture. This is sketch number one. I like it but now I have to decide on canvas aspect ratio. Thought I'd try a square format.
I decided that the exploding wave is the main element in the painting. I'll try a horizontal format as I think it will better suit my idea.
Yes, that will work. I chose a 24X40" canvas. I would like to do really huge paintings to express these big west coast ideas but until I get a handle on my new palette I will be cautious.
Block in. I want to contrast the rugged and immovable rock with the relentless but yielding surf. Positioning sits right with me.
Starting to come to me.
Here is where I am so far. There are some obvious design issues to work on. I soften most edges which is usually a good plan at this stage. Hard edges need to be placed in at the final stage. Otherwise I'll get a choppy two dimensional piece which is not what I am after. I want you to feel the power of the surf and a flat painting wont get us there. More to follow.
I am initiating a new project melding my love of painting with my interest in classic cars, particularly the MG. Every artist explores different and new ideas on the back of a particular subject. Call it muse, motive or even armature the subject provides a framework or matrix to build on or contain the work. So as I base my series on the features of this old British car I will use it to explore process, technique and awen.
Each piece will begin as a large oil painting and then will be reproduced in limited editions on archival quality materials. I will also have to teach myself to properly photograph the works so lighting equipment will be needed. Once its been professionally reproduced the edition will be offered with a certificate of authenticity at a reasonable price point. Initially I will market these reproductions to MG aficionados but I think they may appeal to other collectors as I explore the subject further. My first in the series is called "Two Enthusiasts (discussing Mk1 suspension)." I'm having fun already.
This is a poor photo. Once I get my new gear together I will post an update. I hope you enjoy.
I have just finished a very special portrait commission. This one has been a real privilege to be involved with. My main subject is a wee girl who has been facing massive physiological challenges all of her young life. Having to deal with over 300 seizures a day is unimaginable to me. Recently she has been responding very positively to cannibidiol medicine .
My intention with this painting is to of course focus on the beauty of this young life but also weave in the family's support for her and also some imagery to symbolize hope and optimism in the midst of adversity. I call the painting "Kyla's Way (Dove-song)."
I tried to capture a moment in time, a day at the beach with grandfather Chris . This painting is about the connection between Kyla and Chris and a particular awareness that happens very infrequently in her young life as her body and mind deal with such relentless seizures. Thanks to her family's tenacity and researchers efforts in the field of cannabis oil treatment those moments of awareness are happening more often.
When composing this painting I included Lotus blossoms in the foreground partly for their feminine beauty and also as symbols of overcoming adversity. I included two doves flying way back on the right in front of the mountains. We often learn retrospectively that people who are challenged with particular physical obstacles can have other senses heightened. I like to think that Kyla hears the doves song , inaudible to us but performed especially for her.
A very enjoyable event this week. Renewed some older acquaintances and met many new people.
Held at the beautiful Lookout Gallery, Regent College, Vancouver.
Ali and her staff did an excellent job placing my paintings in an appealing way.
Show runs until Feb4. Big thanks to Joanna for supporting my adventure.