Saturday, June 02, 2007

June 2 - Painting on location and horses!

Can you say "Horse Heaven"? This is what greeted my eyes when I walked into Melissa's hunt barn on her farm. What a wonderful herd of incredible horses!

After a morning of painting on the Kentucky River at Boonsborough, we came back to do some riding around the farm. I was lucky enough and priviledged enough to ride Belle, Melissa's hunter. A BIG Percheron/Thoroughbred cross mare, she was a hoot! I hope we'll meet again before the week is out.
Along the pastures and jump fields on Melissa and Bill's farm, we rode through the pastures and around the acreage. My dry, brown California eyes just couldnt' get enough of this green!

This is a photo of one of the jump fields with the "train special" jump. Yes, the horses really DO go over this, and it has lights and everything. Melissa is riding Doc, a grandson of Secretariat, and an Apaloosa that is her daughter's event horse.
Oh! Now I have to talk about painting!!?!

Yes, we went to the Kentucky river, and I sat at the boat launch and did this 8 x 10 oil looking downriver, and enjoyed the division of space and the feeling of atmosphere of the morning light. I notice that the value curve on this one is also almost sine-wave perfect. I love it when that happens!

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Friday, June 01, 2007

June 1 - In Lexington, and redid an old one.

I've been going through my artwork, pulling those that need better imagery on the web site, and this one came up, done from a plein air competition in Palm Springs/Indian Wells a few years ago. I can remember painting this in the pre-dawn hours, and how cold it was standing on the Monterey Street Bridge looking at San Jacinto.

Pulling out this 12 x 16 oil, my critical eye looked it over and decided that it needed another going over. Here it is now, with the improved values and better color, and far more conveying the true nature of the morning sun hitting the 10,800 foot Mt. San Jacinto overlooking the desert.

Below is the original one from my web site. We learn much as we grow as an artist, and it is no problem to acknowledge the improvement without disliking the history that makes one the artist one is today. I liked the earlier version, too.

Tonight I'm sitting here in Lexington, getting ready for a day tomorrow of plein air painting with a great bunch of artists from the area and we're going to paint the river (I think). Look for some interesting plein air oils tomorrow!

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

May 31 - Cover finished, off to Kentucky!

After all the work and thought, I'm about 99 percent finished with this one. Even signed it! I really like the added glow around the bird to show his magical power and the vertical drop as he comes in to rescue the two boys. Although I recognize that paintings for book covers might be passe, what with places like Amazon showing these teeny little images...that's why the titles on books now are so HUGE--so you can see them when they are only an inch tall. Yet with all of the digital and 3D art out here today, I still just love the look of a painted cover.

To show you all how it will look in a mock-up of the title, and spine, I've added this image with some digital type from Photoshop as well. All of the artwork was planned to allow for that title and info. This is not the final look, but it sure helps to see it with some wording!

Now on to finish packing for my flight tomorrow to Lexington, KY. I have the boarding pass!
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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

May 30 - Book Cover in Process

Continuing on with the progression of the cover art, I have now completely covered the canvas with the basic values and colors. The lower right corner is darker than it really is, the lights weren't on the painting very well. You can see that I've punched up the conrast more behind the left wing of the phoenix, and put the two brothers in the water. The drama is in place, now all I need to do for a finish is detail out the phoenix with the addition of tail plumes, eye, feet and the heat of his existence--these mythical creatures come from fire. I'll finish this one before I leave on my trip.

On another bit of news, if you'll go to this link (cut and paste, if you need to), you'll have the first chance to see 17 of my paintings as prints--the ONLY prints available for purchase through the Monarch Collection. The Monarch people handle the prints for the orignals kept at the Los Angeles Museum of Modern Art! These are currently the only prints available of my work. There are a few of your favorites there, including "Two Trees".

Now I need to think about leaving for Kentucky and all the days ahead of painting and travel. I do hope you'll be along with me!

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

May 29 - The Book Cover Painting Continues

Here we are again, with this 16 x 20 oil, at it's next phase. Since I saw you yesterday, I've spent some time putting in the water big shapes in the foreground, and added two of the long tail feathers to create that all-important arc to bring your eye around where I wnat it to go. I've started to paint the wings, tail and head, but will hold off on the feet until I am sure of the position of the two brothers in the maelstrom of water below. The small dark line below and to the right is the proposed position of the guys, who are connected by the older holding the younger.

I've also delineated the top area, with pines and cedar trees that seem to point to the action, and grasses and rocks starting to take shape (middle ground) behind the phoenix. The boy's expressions and the implied line between them and the bird are yet to come! Now off to bed and much to look forward to tomorrow!

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Monday, May 28, 2007

May 28 - Finally hitting the Canvas - Book Cover

I've done some serious homework in trying to find a definitive representation of a phoenix, and all the leads come up with firey red and gold/yellow, and with long tail feathers, among other things. Fun to look for something that doesn't exist!

I've started the lay in for the 20 x 16 canvas, with an extra margin of one inche all around to take into account the cropping that might happen. Plus, the spine of the book will have the tail feathers wrapping around to carry the design and color onto it.

Although the figures are not in the composition yet, they will be below and to the right of the legs of the bird, looking up as the shadow comes toward them, and partially in the rushing river water. I love the contrasting red and yellow against all of the fantasy blues, red-violets and greens of the background!

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

May 27 - Book Cover, exploratory drawing

The bird has it by vote of the author. So I'm working out some of the issues with the trio of figures (bird, two boys) and the environment in which they will be (water, moonlight). And as I do this simple exploratory line drawing, I am mentally placing the large values in place, to convey the mystery and the interest and direction that cover art needs to generate to grab the reader. The design will be a large "S" curve, and backlit (my most favorite value situation--small light, large dark in mid-tones), yet still have the secondary lighting of the moonlight off the raging water on the breast of the bird and the two boys' faces. I can see that in my head, but simple line drawings don't do much to show you what is planned.

The bird will be reduced in size and given more importance by his color contrast rather than size. Darn it! Now I have to go to sleep, and I'd rather keep working on the planning!

However, I do have some back-logged commissions to tweak and get off the board before I leave for Kentucky this Friday.

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