Sunday, July 25, 2010

Step by Step

Thought I'd break this one down into stages.

This is a 12x36 on birch luan. I gessoed it with a roller and was extremely pleased with the surface. Good thing, too, since I have a bunch of it.

Toned the board with a wash of burnt sienna, cad red medium, and a tiny bit of ochre. Wiped off the excess, then proceeded ro draw and block in shapes. Put the datk shapes in first.

Blocked in lightest shapes next.Not too exciting yet! The very light shape on the right looks too light but I am going to defer judgement until later.

My main focus here is to a) get paint on the whole surface and b)establish the correct values so that the foreground drops away and the mountain is the star.

Working in all of the details, putting structure to the foreground yet keeping it vague. This painting breaks the 'rules' of conventional landscape painting. The warmer notes, greatests contrast and most chroma is in the distance while cooler, less defined shapes are in the foreground.  I'd say it's about 90% done. I'm beat, but it feels good to have done 2 larger paintings in a weekend.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Paint paint paint!

Well, it's to the cave for me all weekend, working on a Septenber exhibit. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have six plein air paintings I am using as reference to make six larger pieces.

This is my first one.The study is in the prior post. Contrary to my original plan, it is not high key. I preferred to painting a local tone approach, since it was an overcast day and lent itself to it already. I think the drawing is there now and I like it much better than the small one. But it seems dreary or lacking something. Any ideas?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lost in Translation

I'm in the process of taking small plein air paintings and translating them into larger paintings. My plan is to work as much as possible from the original  and not rely too much on photos. I'm not so concerned with making an accurate reproduction of either the original or what was really there, but rather just want to create a strong painting, Easy enough, eh?

Can you say Oh no?!  No one I know wants to paint the same painting twice. But I've committed to this project and just hope that I haven't gotten myself into a pickle.

But as I see it, I have a lot of options, and will be able to stay clear of painting the same piece as before. Take this little 8x8, soon to be a 24x24. It's a simple high key little piece that works as a miniature. When translated to 3 times its original size, the drawing must be stronger to support the composition. I'd also rather push it to a much closer, high value structure. While the building will remain the center of interest compositionally, I want it to draw the eye to it by the use of color and line rather than put a lot more detail in the house itself.

I'll post the results and we'll see if the plan changes as the painting emerges.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Some things you just cannot anticipate.

While painting at Cherry Creek Reservoir last Friday with Victoria Ekelund, I got this far with my little painting when I was suddenly overcome with motion sickness. Apparently, standing on the rocking dock and focusing on the little details of the painting was a lot like reading while in a car. How embarrassing!  The sun, heat and lack of breakfast didn't help (I told myself). So this 5.5x12 sketch has yet to be completed.

I had better luck the weekend before when I painted with Sara Winters. This second painting was done at that time.

 So I think sea-sickness, even though not technically on or even near a sea, can be added to the list of hazards we plein air painters face.

I'm such a lightweight. But I refuse to be deterred! I'll take another stab at it soon.

Monday, July 12, 2010

In the Moment

Working outdoors has its challenges, not the least of which is the changing light. I tend to paint rather slowly and often, after working on a piece for a few hours, I pull everything together at the end.

Sunsets are a different matter altogether. You have to be fast and spontaneous, make decisions and stick with them, right or wrong. Because, if you delay, all is lost because the sun goes down. I can't say I was entirely successful with this little piece, but it was an excellent exercise in making decisions. I'm anxious to do it again.