Saturday, July 15, 2006

July 15 - Lesson painting, first pass

How did it get to be the 15th so fast?  My goodness.  I promised you a lesson back on the first, so here it is.  This day we're beginning a 12 x 16 acrylic, a moonlight scene (I still have the acrylic palette near the easel).  The subject is partially out of my head, and partially based on visual memories of the Vernal Pools at the Plateau.  These pools are shallow seasonal lakes that disappear by this time of year.  
I first did a quick sketch to locate the horizon line, the focal points and the major shapes of the design.  The second phase is to gesso the canvas before starting with any paint.  I gesso under acrylics because the layers are initially thin, and I like the brilliant white of the canvas for that first layer.  Then this first covering of the entire canvas goes on, to both get rid of the white and also to establish the abstract structure.  
  The majority of colors used in this pass are the cool palette, mostly Ultramarine Blue, Thalo Green and white in the landscape, and white, alizarin crimson, yellow ochre and ultramarine blue in the sky.  The moon was loosely painted in (isn't even ROUND!) with cadmium orange and white.
  Water is generally done with vertical strokes of anything that is reflected (tree shapes) and horizontal strokes for anything that is caught on the surface (the moon reflection).  
  Even in this first pass to cover the canvas, you can see a lot of the finished idea already.  Lots more to do, though.

Friday, July 14, 2006

July 14 - Lily Rock in Idyllwild

Today's painting is a 15 x 30 ACRYLIC (about time I went back to them, ehh?) of a monolith rock in Strawberry Valley, called Lily Rock, in  the mountain community of Idyllwild.  Idyllwild  sits at 6200 feet, is cool when its over 100 down here, and a favorite place to go to enjoy the pines and beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  This painting is going to the gallery up there, and will be delivered tomorrow, Saturday, along with three others.  Idyllwild is not in the fire zone, but is across the Palm Springs/desert pass from the 62,000 acre blaze in the San Gorgonio wilderness--that's headed to Big Bear.  Tomorrow it is supposed to reach a record high of 110 degrees Fahrenheit down here. What a challenge for the firefighters.  Blech.  However, most of the central and western United States is under heat wave as well, I hear, so I'd best do no complaining!  This one will only be for sale through the gallery in Idyllwild.

The beach was nice yesterday, now to the other extreme--the mountains!  No matter, either place is cooler than around here!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

July 13 - Tide Pools (Plein Air)

Here I sit in a coffee shop on the edge of the ocean, looking out at an idyllic ocean scene near Laguna Beach, and enjoying a blended latte. (Love the wifi!) I watch people walking on the beach and enjoying the summer evening.  I've spent the day enjoying some of the great contemporary artists whose work is on display in the Laguna Festival of the Arts, and environs-- a lovely day of art and enjoyment, culminated by a plein air painting session on the edge of the waves.
  "Tide Pools" is a view looking over the edge of the cliffs north of the beach area, into the marine sanctuary, in the late afternoon, well before sunset.  The high horizon line (edge of the ocean) in the composition definitely tells the viewer that you are high above the water.  The waves come in, break and leave the sea foam and spin drift as residuals of the white waves, and under the clear water, you see the rocks of the submerged tide pools in the foreground.
SOLD to new collector Emilie Buchwald of Edina, Minnesota, founder and publisher of Milkweed Editions.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

July 12 - Royal Anne Cherries

My mom grew up in Seattle, and the Northwest is known for its cherries, especially the Royal Annes.  As a kid in Virginia, I was able to enjoy them only canned, and it was such a treat to have my Mom bring a can home, and we'd open it and eat them together, laughing at how good they were.  Nowadays we can enjoy them fresh from the store, and as a rare treat, I brought home a small bag today.  While I enjoyed the rest of them, I set up five singles as this still life.  But I had an accident, and all five rolled off the platform and into the mineral spirits!  I fished them out with a brush, wiped them down, and set the still life up again.  Keeping them set up was certainly a lot easier as I wasn't tempted to eat them before I finished!

  I like to call this one "May I Have This Dance?" in its 6 x 6 oil state on gallery wrap canvas. I hope you enjoy it. 
SOLD to the collection of Suzanne McCurdy of Colville, Washington.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

July 11 - Cantaloupe

"Cantaloupe" Way back last year, when I started these daily paintings, I sliced a cantaloupe melon and painted it.  Tonight I did the same, and this one turned out sweeter!  Ahh the fruits of summer--is there anything better?  This is a six by six oil, on gallery wrap canvas, and the slice of cantaloupe is gone as a delicious night snack, but not from this painting! $100

Monday, July 10, 2006

July 10 - Apple, sliced

"An Apple a Day" - Well, not really.  This Gala has been getting sliced and given to the studio canary as a treat over the last several days.  I did a bit more slicing on it tonight and it whispered, "Paint me."  After a dunk in some lemon juice (to keep it from darkening in the setup), off it went to the studio and now is preserved in oils forever on this five by seven canvas.  A rather simple subject, after yesterday's profound one.  Simple still life setups such as today's painting are a good way for you (and me) to relax, and still paint.  One doesn't have to do the equivalent of Raphael's "Madonna of the Meadows" every time we lift our brushes.  Sometimes something simple flexes the mental and hand muscles just enough to provide the links between bigger works.  There is still enough design thought going on, the placement of the slices, the lighting with consideration for the shadow shapes.  There's the real exercise! $100

Sunday, July 09, 2006

July 9 - Mom, I'm still grieving

Why is it so hard to paint one's mother's face?  I am revisiting dealing with my Mom's death last April, and the only way I can cope with the wash of sadness is to paint her.  I keep finding images and even when looking at myself, I see her.  This image is her in the one bed-room apartment where she moved shortly after my dad died.  Living independently, perhaps not yet using her walker, she is a mature woman, lit from the sliding glass doorway to her small patio.  She used to put her index finger on her cheek just the way you see it here, and although odd, is a normal pose.  I find myself doing it, too.  The composition is one of strength, with the verticals framing her, objects of her life on the shelf of the china cabinet behind her, and the split-leaf philodendron almost paying homage to her spirit.  All of her houses had one of these tropical plants, some growing several feet tall.

In the collection of my sister, Leslie Gerhardt of Anaheim, California