Saturday, July 01, 2006

July 1 - Lesson Painting, Step One

Beginning with July, I'm going to do two lessons a month for you. Here is the first lesson painting: "Keeping Cool" Today I took my mare and met up with some other riders at Bonelli Park, near Raging Waters water park for a four-hour ride. The temperatures soared to 112 F, and where we rode it was 104. HOT weather... You can see a picture of me (covered because I don't want to risk skin cancer) on my mare in the water where we cooled off, through this link. I took our small digital camera, and later combined two photos of the other riders in the stream bed into a great composition for a 12 x 16 painting that sits now on the easel. Today I'm sending you the link to the source material (combo of two digital images) . I have the painting about 90% finished right now, and I'm really excited how it is turning out.
Please go to the source image and then compare it to the first pass I've sent to you today. I ask you to do that, because that will give you an insight into what I change to make common photography into good paintings. You might look at this and ask yourself, "What would I do with this image?"
To explain the first lay in, I am developing the abstract structure over a mid-value toned canvas. For this toning, I used Artist Spectrum brand Italian Pink, which turns out to be a lovely grayed transparent yellow. Over that, I've blocked in the structure of the darker values using a larger brush and burnt umber and thalo green. These dark values will be the larger stage against which colors and lesser value contrasts will play. Note the asymmetrical balance, which will be set to a steelyard by a smaller focal point on the right side nearer the right shore.
Tomorrow the lesson continues. This one will go three days (Hey, family's coming over for a barbeque tomorrow--I have to clean house at some point!)

Friday, June 30, 2006

June 30 -

It is the end of the month, and 178 paintings so far this year... I hope you're enjoying them!  Sometimes I just have to paint things, and other times the painting subject eludes me, and i need to go search for it.  Tonight was a compromise--I had images in my head, and sorting through reference material, came up with an old B/W of a plowing match, on one of those foggy days.  This needs a bit more work, but I'm happy with it so far.  It is a 10 x 20 canvas, so it is also a bit larger than most dailies.  You'll see the "fixed" one replacing this one in a few days.
  I do have a couple of commissions coming up (Kim, yours!!) and want to spend some time on them... but not until after this weekend!  Family's coming over on Sunday, and I have to hunt down the dust bunnies, and even throw a pot and pan around the kitchen.  Cleaning the pool was no problem, because the water is 90, and the air was just a bit above that.  Nice!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

June 29 - Milk Maid

Today's painting is another 6 x 8 (I have a couple boxes of them and they just keep popping up on my easel) of a girl I'm either calling "Yellow Dress" or "Before Milking".
  Had a lot of fun painting the figure, trying to get the nuances of the arm shapes and her pose to look relaxed.  Buckets are a passel of fun to paint!  And the source was a black and white old time photo, so I had to brighten up her dress and give her a contemporary hair and "look".  Using the Color System made painting the lights and shadows on the grass near and into the distance a piece of cake.  
  Now I have a cat sitting here next to the keyboard wondering if I am going to feed her.  That's the Pesto kitty, so named for her consistent need for attention.  Perhaps she will be tomorrow's subject?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

June 28 - That Still Life Again, in Oils

Remember that I did the acrylic version of this still life for the Del Mar Fair a couple months ago? They took it and presented it on a wall with other artists who had approached this same subject using distinct media, including oils, watercolor, pastel, and drawing. The idea was to educate and entertain. I saw the final framed works, and it makes an impressive presentation! The Del Mar Fair runs through next Tuesday, and I won't be able to get down there again. I ran across the reference photo while "de-piling" the studio, and thought you'd enjoy seeing my take on it in oils, at least half as much as I enjoyed painting this little 8 x 6 canvas. Real quick, real small, but still enjoyable in the terseness of it all!
So although the larger 16 x 20 is gone for education, now I have a smaller version replete with all that color. However, at $175 it might be gone, too.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

June 27 - Smoke Trees from the Desert

"Smoke Trees" This is a 16 x 20 canvas for today's painting, and I had fully intended to do this one in stages, to show the different points of development--sort of an online lesson.  But....  I went into the studio to start this one, and it just got ahold of me and wouldn't let go!  I just fought and released myself long enough to escape to the computer to send this to you.  It is 90-100% finished now, and I'm quite pleased with it.  Now I'm not going back in there, because I just might paint all night!  If I do tweak it some more, I'll post an update on June's archive at the site.  
  For those of you not familiar with the low deserts of California, in the dry washes you can find smoke trees, so named because from a distance their spiny, leafless branches give the impression of smoke. In the summer months they have purple blooms.  Hardy to a fault, they grow to about 20 feet.

Monday, June 26, 2006

June 26 - Color Study, Del Mar Race Track

"Color Study, Del Mar" I spent some time now that I'm home, in the studio looking over some sales catelogues from Sotheby's from some time ago. They auctioned off a few Sir Alfred Munnings' paintings, and I enjoyed seeing how he manipulated a brush. This little 6 x 4 painting resulted in the wee hours of the night, to put into practice what came through my eyes earlier in the day. The essence of the subject, with rich brushmarks. This source was a photo I took at Del Mar last summer. One of the things I was working toward is the thick aplication of paint, without overworking any area. Now I'm off to sleep, with a full plate this week and many more daily paintings about which to dream! Original oil, shown actual size of 6 x 4 inches $100 from the artist. 

Sunday, June 25, 2006

June 25 - Barb Reading

"Barb Reading" Here I sit, trapped in the Denver Airport, having had the most wonderful day, until spiraling down to a lousy return batch of problems that I'd not wish on my worst enemy!  First, since I didn't make my connecting flight on my arrival on the 22nd, the airline assumed I'd died, and sold my seats, effectively canceling my return reservations, for which I'd PAID, of course!  After unsnarling the first leg of my flight, I get on the plane, and I find that someone from the prior flight had urinated on the cushion and then hidden it under napkins and a blanket.  YUCK!  
  Now I'm on standby with a three hour wait for my flight to our local airport in Southern California, which is already 40 minutes behind schedule.  I did get a bit of money for the hassles they caused me, but if anyone can learn from this, I'll sure feel better.  Let 'em know you're still alive if you miss a flight, even if it is their fault!  I don't fly enough to know these kinds of things, and they don't TELL you.  You'd think with my email and phone address, someone would call instead of taking away my flights!
  This morning we enjoyed a wonderful brunch and then I painted Barb, who thoroughly enjoys the newspapers and the game of Scrabble.  This is a 9 x 12 inch canvas, (which she now owns) showing her sitting at Gaye's dining room table.  It took me a little over an hour to do. I love the feeling of light...
  I'm sending it early, because I know I'm going to be stuck in this airport for a while, and will be home a bit late..