Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Below Bartlett



I couldn't help myself and added some green in the forground to extend the background pattern further.



Oil 12x16 on Linen


On the 395 to Mammoth Lakes south of the tiny town of Bartlett there is an old soda ash plant situated on the edge of a salt mash. It’s been closed awhile, but never torn down. A really sweet woman by the name of Katy and her son keep an eye on the place. Katy let us look inside and all around the plant that had barn owls I frightened off just as Sharon was going to photograph one. One thing you don’t see abandoned to often was a Jaguar parked right in the middle of the factory floor.
The place was a treasure trove of cool views of the kind of worn out subject I like. As much as I liked the factory I was drawn to a line of old trailers, mini cars and RV’s parked around the back of the plant. I plan on doing a big painting of the whole line and the factory. Before we left we left we visited with Katy and her finch collection. I’ve always liked Finches as there colorful but quiet, unlike another bird I know. There was one stunted half eaten finch in his own tiny cage. He had to be separated from the flock as that was picking on him to the point of death. Birds can be as mean to each other as humans can be.

Here is a small warm up painting of one of the trailers and an abstracted corner of the plant. This is the first painting I’ve done for awhile that showed me the future of where I hope to go as far as contrasting paint and texture, abstraction and shapes/patterns that flow thou a painting, even if they were not in the reference.

43 Comments:

Blogger Jesse said...

The sky is intense, that yellow column looks solid and explode-y.

4:52 AM  
Blogger Dean H. said...

Good stuff, Bill. I like the contrast of detailed areas against the large plainer areas of color.

5:11 AM  
Blogger indiaartist said...

I liked it, especially the color scheme you have used. Interesting story behind the painting. I find these places, crowded by human beings once upon a time, buzzing with activity, livelihood of many and now no longer in use, very intriguing.
Thanks.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Mark Bridges said...

Fantastic painting. I can feel like an ant living in a tin can by the way you've painted the Trailer with the spectral construction looming over it.
mark

8:40 AM  
Blogger Stef said...

That's fabulous William, I like the contrast between the abstract part at the back and the trailer in the foreground.
Happy New Year!

8:59 AM  
Blogger Ambera said...

I think you've paired the recognizable with the abstract beautifully, and in a way that still allows the painting to make sense. What are the yellow objects in front of the trailer?

4:40 PM  
Blogger Thorsten Hasenkamm said...

VERY nice colours!

5:55 PM  
Blogger Brothergrimm said...

It's comforting to hear that birds can be assholes, too.
I love that there's kind of a skeletal element to the factory--it'd be cool to see that Jag in there, too.
What's the red thing in the bottom right? I thought it was an inflatable raft.

7:26 PM  
Blogger VanDerHoekArt said...

I also like the colors you chose for the background sky in this painting. Was that an intuitive choice? It's not overworked either, it looks effortless.

The vertical elements in the background and the horizontal shapes of the trailer and shadows in the foreground keep my eye moving through this one nicely. Great texture throughout too. Was this one done in one painting session?

8:44 PM  
Blogger American Genius said...

I wish that I had painted that or at least I had that painting hanging on my wall. Awesome.

3:33 AM  
Blogger American Genius said...

Great Patterns, Brushstrokes, Colors, contrasts, I literally don't see anything I would change about this piece, It is perfect.

3:35 AM  
Blogger Michael Pieczonka said...

Will, very interesting piece. I'm glad you posted both versions. It amazing what a difference adding that subtle bit of green below the camped does to the piece. It helps fit things together quite a bit me thinks!!

great job, Mike

11:14 AM  
Blogger van said...

That sky is perfect, Bill. Like a deconstruction of the push-pull coloring that makes your stuff so dynamic (to my view, at least). Beautiful as always!

3:27 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Jesse-- I've always wanted to do some Atomic Bomb paintings, Love your new Avatar.

3:48 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

thanks Dean, Like a big war of textures.

4:01 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

thanks India,
Yes you can feel the ghosts there.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Cara Dawn Romero said...

I really like this - the sky is wonderful.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Bobby Chiu said...

Wonderful work Bill. I'm going to pick up the Dirty Beauty book at Wondercon from Alberto! Will you be there?

6:59 AM  
Blogger Hattermad said...

there's some old violence hidden there under that sky, in those brush strokes...long ago kinda violence...

the colours and the subject remind me of the words of Jim Thompson...

1:25 PM  
Blogger A.Decker said...

Good eye, good hand. I can't wait to come back and see more!

2:46 PM  
Blogger stranded said...

hello! I've just landed in your blog! beautiful work! great colors/great light!! extraordinary!! :D

5:10 PM  
Blogger A Reason to Paint said...

LOVE that background!

3:36 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

Hey Mark, that's a pretty good analogy.

6:14 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

thanks Stef, Thor, Cara!

6:18 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

Ambera-- those are tumble weeds.

6:22 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

BG I never looked close enought to figure it out. Some big chunk of garbage... mReminds me of a bit peice of toast.

6:23 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

Vander, the background was a "wash in" of thinned paint. I usually paint over that step, but left it this time. Besides the touch up, this was in one session, Alla Prima.

6:28 AM  
Blogger Jason Chalker said...

Beautiful stuff as usual, Bill. It's amazing what a difference that little bit of green made in the overall feel of the painting. It really unified the composition.

7:25 AM  
Blogger mike rooney said...

heard you mention once or twice that you take the studies etc and got them scanned before selling them. can you tell me more and is the color very close to the original.

10:15 AM  
Blogger mike rooney said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:18 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

thanks AG--- Your positve comments uplift!

9:27 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Michael-- Yeah I couldn't let it go. I'm relly trying to carry patterns thru patings as far as they will go.

9:30 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Hey Van,
deconstruction is a good way to put it. I'm trying to strip more away...

9:31 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Bobby,
I won't be at Wonder con so say hi to Alberto for me.

9:35 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Hatter I love Jim T. Read all the books and the bio. Love his bleak horror.

9:40 PM  
Blogger Cooper Dragonette said...

Bill, Fantastic as usual, but this contrast of trailer and factory is a wonderful dynamic. Shapes are harmonious and there is a wonderful "out of place" quality about that little trailer. Can't wait to see more!
Best,
Cooper

4:50 AM  
Blogger william wray said...

A. Decker-- try about every 5th day or so... ;-)

2:56 PM  
Blogger william wray said...

Hope it was a soft landing Stranded! fly back soon.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Urban Barbarian said...

Great composition and execution!!! Love this one, Bill!!!

7:24 PM  
Blogger Frank Gardner said...

Man you were HOT when you did this one. Not a wasted stroke in it. Love to mix of abstract paint blotches and a little bit of tightness. I could go on, but it's all been said in the comments above.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Jared Shear said...

WOWOWOWO!.....very cool. Love the color palette, subject matter, especially that sky! If this is where you artistic path is leading you....get in the fast lane.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Bob Fingerman said...

They both look great.

11:25 PM  
Blogger Drifty Leftwright said...

I compositionally/thematically understand carrying through the green from the background to the foreground, and I agree with the several commentators who note the unification this imparts- but I prefer the colder, less unified version without the foreground green. It's unsettling because it is unsettled, whereas the carried through one loses some of the harsh pointlessness I so like. Enough grumbling from me: I'm impressed with your paintings both for your style and subjects, and my muttering about your carrying through is just my jerkish way of admiring the faithfulness of your vision. If you want to unify, why should I try to persuade you not to? For all I know, the green is really there. Maybe that raft/toast shape in the fore is an old mattress? Anyway, all I really meant to say is I'd be happy and proud to hang any of the half dozen or so of your paintings I've seen in my home or office, though I doubt I could afford even one.

8:18 PM  

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