Saturday, August 05, 2006

August 5 - Egret Regret

"Egret Regret" This is a nifty acrylic, and 7x5 is a good size to fit any wall, anywhere. I love the versatility of acrylics, and this little painting is no exception. I thought I'd be painting around the town of Ojai, but the loan papers from UPS have not arrived yet (and it is after 9 p.m.) so not only did I miss my 40th reunion waiting, but we still have to find a 24-hour notary to make the signature deadline for the loan. Ah well, is there any recourse? Only to enjoy painting, and being able to do things for oneself. Relying on corporate business is not my chosen thing.
Perhaps I'll get to paint tomorrow... This little one is still available for $100, or I'll give it to anyone who can collar the UPS people and drive bamboo slivers under their name tags.
SOLD to the collection of Gayle and David Youngs of Orange, California

Thursday, August 03, 2006

August 4 - Jumping Cholla Cactus

I'm up in Ventura County today, and yet I still have thoughts of the desert in my head. This 7 x 5 acrylic has a different palette from the lesson painting of the last three days, and you can see the variance of hue as well as intensity as you look at the various desert plants. The cholla, or "jumping" cactus is so named because the spines have little hooks at the end of them, and seem to jump to attach themselves to any passer-by. It is a nasty cactus to run into. Next to the cholla is what is called "Mexican Sage" or "Texas Ranger" depending upon which region you're in. It has grey-green leaves and bright yellow flowers in Spring


August 3 - Lesson Painting, 36 x 48 Finished

I know you've been able to to see the progress of this painting, now it is time to enjoy the finished product! You know, I look at it here in its six inch format, and sigh, because one cannot appreciate this painting's presence any more than looking at the paintings of the Old Masters as depicted in a book. There just isn't much comparison, and this is why I so encourage everyone to go to see art on the walls of museums and on pedestals in hallways of venerable establishments. There is just no experience like standing in front of an original Rembrandt, or a Sir Lawerence Alta-Tadema or an Anders Zorn, in total awe of the execution of brushwork, the use of color, or the incredible ease of the color handling.
That said, perhaps we just ought to enjoy the painting and leave it at that. Yes, this painting is already in the hands of the design team for La Quinta. 36 x 48 inch acrylic.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

August 2 - Lesson Painting, Stage 2

The human eye and mind likes areas of interest, and they also like a hierarchy of interest.  Too much the same throughout the painting, and it becomes boring.  If we keep areas of interest subordinate and dominate to one another, we create a subtle tension for the viewer to enjoy.  
  Here's a second exercise.  Turn your head on its side and look at the painting from that angle.  Got it?  See how you can now easily discern the distance put into the further range of mountains by lightening and the softening of the edges?  One doesn't notice this when it is seen "ordinarily", because we are so conditioned to see things this way--we aren't even conscious of it.
  I lightened the distant range of mountains to make them lay down for you.  (Nice doggie.)  The nearmost rocks have a greater contrast of values.  As I paint the close-up vegetation, the contrast between light and dark will increase, as well as the intensity of the colors.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

August 1 - Lesson Time! 36 x 48

Lesson, Stage I
I cut the canvas from a roll of primed cotton duck, with three inches to spare on all sides so that the framing gallery can have an easy time of stretching it before they frame it up. Easier to ship to them, too!
Then I coated it with a good layer of gesso, leaving brush marks for interest, and after that dried, I took some bronze yellow (oddball acrylic) and toned the canvas. That's the yellow you see on the lower two-thirds of the image.
I looked over my William Wendt paintings, and the image sent by the decorator/designer, and then drew up my own interpretation of both.
It is odd for me to begin a painting with the sky and paint downward, but the sheer size of the canvas made normal working conditions challenging. Still, I can see the finished painting in my head, so working on any one area isn't too much of a problem. At least not if I keep reminding myself of where and what the focal point is going to be, and therefore subjugating all the rest of that huge canvas to it.
The sky is the usual suspects of Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin and Titanium White, with a touch of yellow ochre to gray the mixes. The clouds lights are Titanium and a touch of cad orange. Distant mountains are grayed versions of Ultra blue and thalo green with burnt umber and white, some of the warmer areas are tinged with yellow ochre.

Monday, July 31, 2006

July 31 - Ocatillo

"Ocotillo" This is the second half of the diptych from the marathon of painting, today I'm packing them up and shipping to the framers in Van Nuys.  The company that is stretching and framing these pieces does all the framing for the Norton Simon Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (  I'm in grand company!  Acrylic, 30 x 20.
I do hope those of you interested in design take these two paintings and put them side by side with about half again their width between them.  They will be flanking a large piece of furniture, and creating a continuity to the wall space.  I want you to see how the design goes between and connects even across empty space.
  The human eye tends to "fill in the blanks" when given related areas in artwork.  Ken Auster said, "Don't insult the viewer by giving them all the details.  Let them feel good by allowing them to figure stuff out."  My take on that is we are conditioned by our intelligence and experience to see things and complete the image when it is something familiar.  Our "problem" as artists is that when we paint, we focus on one area as we paint it, to the exclusion of the whole presence, and get tied down to the details in that one area.  So I say, "Let go!" and lose the non-essential areas of your work.  Squint more (reduces details to the essentials) when you look at your subject.  Let the viewer of your work enjoy the puzzle solving of finding the connections.
-to Greene and Associates

Sunday, July 30, 2006

July 30 - Marathon Day!

Whew!  What a marathon day!  Not one, but TWO paintings, and both 30 x 20 inch acrylics.  A diptych, with each painting going on one side of an armoire for this La Quinta commission--the FINAL paintings!
  Tomorrow I UPS the tube of paintings (these were painted unstretched) and then sit back and twiddle my thumbs (not!) until escrow closes on the new-to-us house.  Very exciting!  We were over there today, taking pictures and meeting the owner, learning about this special house, and I took 53 photos.  I'll cobble together a web page with the details about the new studio and the site.  Turns out the entire property is surrounded by dedicated open space, county parkland!  Privacy and no close neighbors!
  The painting today is the left side painting as one-half of the two paintings.  Doing these unstretched is an interesting endeavor.  I cut the canvas with an extra three inches all around so the framer would have a lot to work with, and then used a piece of foam core to back the canvas.  It was held on the foam core with two clips at the top.  Then I put the foam core and canvas up on the easel.  It's not much different than working on a board-backed canvas.  I used an extra couple of larger clips to hold it steady and got to work.  I'd marked the canvas with a pencil delineating the edges, and then gesso'd the surface.  When I work on canvas with acrylics, I always gesso first, because that gives me a consistency of "tooth" on which to start painting.  This painting is already SOLD to Greene and Associates.