Saturday, March 10, 2007

March 10 - Home from the Ranch, but still thinkin' about it...

I'm home now, long drive through some sere and desolate country between Tucson and Riverside. However, my mind is still on the vistas of the grasslands and mountains of Southern Arizona, so here's the first of two plein air paintings I did while there. This one is a 5 x 7 acrylic ($100), entitled "Through the Gate and Left--Horse Trail at Grapevine Canyon Ranch". Long title, but anyone who has stayed there will know this area! I still feel as if I'm there, not sitting here at my desk in my studio again. It will be a few days before I'm settled back in, but my first job was to water my recent plantings! Tomorrow I pick up my dog from the kennel, start shipping paintings and orders, and sort through the mail. And paint!
The entire postings for the Daily Paintings are here. I'm updating the website only once a week, and I'll get after that later this week. It will have links for purchase, unless you email me directly.

Friday, March 09, 2007

March 9 - Thursday's Morning On Location Sunrise 5 x 7 Oil

One of the last mornings on the Grapevine Canyon Ranch... tomorrow I head west for the familiar home territory. I set my alarm to wake before first light, and stepped outside the cabin with my gear and caught the first rays of sunlight looking through the mesquite bushes and across the fence. Although only a 5 x 7 oil, it sure captures the joy I have at being here on this ranch, and that clear Arizona light. Painted quickly using the Color System for making good color choices, this was done with filbert brushes. I love plein air!
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Thursday, March 08, 2007

March 8 - Another portrait of Sabino

Hard to believe the week is coming to a close--this has been incredible on so many levels--and enjoying every moment of it. Today was a painting day, and a day to just relax and rest. Before dawn I was up and painting, doing two quick oil studies of the sunrise and then the sun-drenched clouds. In the late morning I joined another friend and treked out into the national forest and did two full-blown finished paintings in acrylics of the vistas and rugged terrain. On location, and in this dry climate, the system for keeping the acrylics moist worked like a charm, even at 8 percent humidity!
But those paintings aren't today's work. They will show up on the days when I'm driving back home--serving as memories of the air and feel of Grapevine Canyon Ranch and Southern Arizona.
Today's painting is the 5x7 oil of Sabino, this time without saddle, to work on the color planes of the shadow areas. It is sold, and in the collection of Louise Mellon of Aiken, South Carolina.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

March 7 - Painting the Cremello

Busy day today! In the morning after breakfast, the three artists gathered to paint the cremello horse (he is SO pretty!) a couple of times while at the barns. It was great fun to exercise the muscles of color on a white horse lit from above and behind. I share with you one of the two paintings I did, hoping that you'll enjoy the entourage of colors that march across the white hide of a white horse in sunlight! This is just a study, not a finished painting, so there is less concern about cutting off anatomy, or not finishing other parts of the image. I was focusing on the shadow patterns and the colors on the white horse... but I did spend a bit of time on my saddle!! Here's a picture of Sabino from which we worked.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

March 6 - Another Day on the Horse

One of the greatest things about living on a working cattle ranch is the photo opportunities that abound in the wee hours of dawn. I was able to get out of bed and head to the corrals for picture taking as that morning light came streaming across the valley, almost horizontal as it lit the horses and wranglers in their morning chores. Then off to breakfast, and a return for a ride over the rangeland, "brush poppin" and going up to "the Fortress" near the Apache stronghold. Four of us were on horse back to do that this morning, and then returned to the ranch to do separate things. Me, I painted this first pass on a 12 x 16 oil of one of those "morning horses" in a different palette than the acrylic of a few days ago. I'm also sending you a smaller image of me on Socks, the horse I've changed to for the last couple of rides. He's more like my Raindance mare at home. With memories of knowing I was traveling on a trail used by Apache chiefs Cochise and Geronimo's people, I write to you in the evening of quite a memorable day! (And it is only Tuesday!)

Monday, March 05, 2007

March 5 - Desert Plants, Acrylic 9 x 12

This morning I spent several hours painting with another friend of mine, working on acrylics, sharing ideas for developing a looser painting structure and layers with glazes (a lot of which is covered in my Walter Foster book, Painting Horses in Acrylics). We ended up with about six canvases, and loads of learning. Today's painting is one that I finished to a happy conclusion in a 9 x 12 format of the agave and cactus which abounds in this area of Southern Arizona. We were inside, as it was still quite chilly until about noon, but were looking out a huge window to see these plants. And here's a photo of one of the Grapevine Canyon Ranch buildings and the desert landscaping. My goodness, there's that agave!

And you actually get TWO paintings today, as I'm playing catch up. Now we're back on schedule!
Today's trail ride was really challenging, up through a canyon, out over the top and then back down to the ranch through some stunning Arizona backcountry. My saddle is getting broken in, and I'm grateful for a steady horse under me!
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Replies always answered, and thank you for allowing my art into your life.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

March 4 - Backlit Sunrise Horse Painting

Time for acrylics again! This 9 x 12 painting was done from another of he morning ranch images, and is done in those wonderful acrylics. Even with the low humidity, I can continue to work with them, creating the luscious layers of color. Would you believe that this painting started out with a layer of dioxazine PURPLE and thalo BLUE under all those wonderful grays? It creates a sparkle that is just wonderful to see in "real life". I do so love backlit subjects, expecially when the light creates strong value contrast.
Yesterday after the ride I was "lope tested" so I can go on the advanced rides for the remainder of the week. According to my friends who've been here an additional week, some of the advanced rides are VERY challenging. I can hardly wait! Here's a small photo of me on the cremello horse Sabino, near one of the watering holes on the ranch. Yes, that's my new saddle, and yes, that's a calf who wants to play!

More photos will be coming tomorrow, and most all will be on my blog here.