Saturday, May 26, 2007

May 26 - Cover for a yet-to-be-published book

Working out ideas for a book cover job that came my way means getting out the pencil and poking around some of the ideas from the book. It's a story about two brothers, and they have special skills. I've read some of the text, and it is a good one, and I'm honored to be asked to do the cover.

As I work through submitted ideas, I play around with positioning of objects, and thinking hard about where I want the viewer's eye to go. None of these are set in stone, and as you already know, I'm likely to change my mind after working up the concept (remember the Springbok from a week or so ago?). So rather than do a small acrylic, I thought you'd enjoy seeing how a cover in its necessary vertical format comes together.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

May 25 - Details, details and more details! Lesson painting with the Percherons

Finished! At least for this evening's work. Details, and more details. The entire painting process today was with a 3/8 inch brush and a small round. These are the calligraphic marks of line that create the visual tension between the larger areas and the linear quality. Also some edges are added with these lines. Look at the harness now, and the contrapunto of the red wagon tongue and the majority of greens. Yet your eye still goes to the thalo blue of the man's jacket in sunshine, and from there, up the arm to the horse's head. Delivering the goods, that's the ticket!

If you have any questions about disappearing edges, just ask yourself, "How important is that area?" Knowing which areas are focal points, or directional markers will go a long way to making good design, no matter what the subject.

Now I'm really happy with this one--an original oil, 12 x 16, for the good price of $400 directly from me.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

May 24 - Sashaying up to the Details, Percheron Lesson Painting

Now that I have all the larger areas filled with the general color and value, I go back in and start adding the details, going from biggest to littlest. The man's hat was the last thing I added before photographing it at this point.

But don't look there, look at the rest of the canvas. Hey, there's a truck in the shed now! The trees have undergone some modification to give them a fullness of form, and the shadows across the ground have been made far more interesting than in the earlier painting. I have worked on the horses' anatomy and positioning, and adding to their form by varying the lights across the hides. No details of harness yet. That comes later! Rushing to the details can derail many a well-started painting! I also want to keep in mind that the hierarchy of edges also works for the hierarchy of details. Nothing should be as detailed as my focal point. Therefore, details of leaves on trees would be too much for the details on the man's hand and that horse's head.
As an artist, I always want to give a specific target for the viewer to see first.

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May 23 - Percherons, Second Pass (Lesson Painting)

Aha! The first thing I need to do to any painting, once I get the abstract structure in place and the location of the major design with that line/mass drawing yesterday, is to make BIG areas of color without much interest in edges, except to NOT make them hard.

I find that students learning and afraid to let go of the need for control end up with so many hard edges that the painting appears tight and unforgiving. To prevent that, I paint in large fields of the color in that area, and mush through to the other areas, not being concerned about where one color starts and another stops. I can ALWAYS tighten up later, but once it is tight, it is a tough call to loosen it back up.

So here you see the affectation of all that morning light (yellow, mostly cool yellow mixed into the lights), and the values staying true to the original abstract structure of yesterday. Yup, the Color System at work!

Now it is time for bed--busy day. I spent a good part of today "rocking" in the pond! I will share a picture as soon as I have some more plants in it. The water is still "seasoning" before I can add any fish or tadpoles that I brought over from the other house.

Last call for the Color Boot Camp workshop in Maine! June 17 will close the doors on this one, so if you're thinking about it, please contact me or the Acadia Workshop Center.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

May 22 - The Percherons, first pass

This is the first pass on the 12 x 16 canvas, showing you how I'm picking out the large dark shapes to create the focal point and those very important lines of shadow and roof that collect up the viewer's eye direction, bringing them right where I need them to be.
This underlayment is done with a wash of cadmium orange and burnt umber. The drawing at this stage is done with burnt umber and untramarine blue.

Note again how I've moved the folks and horses down into the picture plane, expanding the background for better design.

Congratulations to new collector Linda Douglas on her purchase of "Easter Morning" from my web site.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

May 21 - Vista from UCR to Box Springs Mountain

A 12 x 16 oil, this is the first painting I did on Sunday afternoon, on the 40 acres of the University of California Riverside's Botanical Gardens. A lovely place, the rose gardens are in full bloom, and those beds were the focal point for my work. However, you can see the "C" up high on Box Springs Mountain.

This painting is quite high key, which means there are not many low values (1, 2 or 3 on a 10-level scale). Keeping the values high was partly due to the lighting situation, because it was midday and the light was behind me a bit, not creating many shadows. The other reason is because the warmth and beauty of the day is conveyed by keeping to the upper ranges of value, unlike the deep coolness of yesterday's shaded bridge.

Another person joins us in Acadia National Park in August! I've been looking over the Acadia Park site, and now wish I could spend another week there--the scenery is absolutely gorgeous! Workshop info here.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

May 20 - Detour! Plein Air Day at UCR Botanical Gardens

I spent a few hours as a participant at the "Primavera in the Gardens" fundraiser for the University of California Riverside Botanical Gardens. Combining wineries and restaurants, the ticket holders were able to sample many regional and California wines as well as cuisine from area restaurants while strolling the beautiful grounds. I painted this 16 x 12 oil sitting next to the last area where the wines were being served and fnished it in about 45 minutes. I did another one, with fewer values, of the vista over to Box Springs Mountain, with the rose gardens in the foreground that I'll post later this week. The draft horse painting from yesterday is still "fomenting" in my head.

Thank you to those who are going to sign up for the workshop in Maine, a comment from my sister is that this is one of the most beautiful National Parks to visit, and with a place to stay right on the water, well...she's not an artist, but her comments made me appreciate what's coming up!

"Color Boot Camp in Maine"!!

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