Saturday, January 26, 2008

Forty Minutes into the Quick Draw

Jiminey Crickets, did I ever hate to stop when that timer went off! Just when I get on a roll and really start cookin' with the brushes, beep-beep-beep. Oh well, I knew I was doing this for a greater purpose than painting to a timed event, so here's the next ten minutes. From the last post, you can compare and contrast the progress. So what did I do in ten minutes? (Got interrupted several times, as happens in any event put on for more than just painting). I "fluffed out" the palms, varied the roof, worked on the windows of the cars, and added some palm fronds on the left side to create yet another design element. Look for a partial circle that begins in the topmost left palm, drops through those new fronds on the left, and continues around through the other palm tops, effectively cirlcing the steeple of the church!

Hmmmm, that brush mark in the grass is still there. Next ten minutes.

(Here's the earlier version for those who, like me, get buried in emails and won't go looking.)

In other news, all four workshops through May are full. If you are considering a Color Boot Camp for your future, please look to Maine in August (full five days of "CBC") and Maine again in September on a horse farm. This second week-long CBC workshop not only can host "repeat offenders", but will finish up with a weekend of plein air painting in a special two day event for plein air painters! I'll have a page pointing to registration for these workshops in February. If you're interested, please email me for special notification.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Jan 22 - Thirty Minutes into the Quick Draw Competition Painting

The timer ticked on.... ten more minutes passed, and I am now at the thirty-minute mark at this point of the painting. Again, this is a 16 x 12 acrylic, on location on Mission Inn Avenue, in Riverside a few days ago, done for the Quick "Draw".

I'm still using that 5/8" filbert, and painting the big shapes, staying in the cool box for almost all of this segment. The exceptions are the warm sunny grass areas and the light on the tops of the bushes.

Revelation! I realize that in the painting method I'm sharing with you, I almost exclusively work from the cool box to the warm box* in every painting I do. That's because the sky, the distance, the large shadow shapes all come from the cool box. Slap it on the serve it up!! Then head for the warm boxes to start putting on those final layers ("layers" - applicable to acrylics in this case.)

You can see the shapes of the (future) cars now, not much more than blobs, and also the subtle beginnings of the arches in the church, painted either with a layer of lighter cool colors, or adding umber to the current mix and painting in the dark shapes. I got those palm truns in, too.

Oh, that blob of umber in the lower left? Dropped a brush and it thwacked the canvas. Hey, poop happens.

Now that I'm not painting it, I can stop and talk about the design of the piece. (Don't you just HATE it when someone stops by and starts asking questions while you're working? Har...) Look at the white lines, which are the abstract structure of this piece. The slightly tilted horizontals are nicely complimented by the slightly tilted verticals, and the diagonals are balanced by the counterbalance in the lower left. Yup. Planned it that way. Also put the focal point (orange circle) where it intersects those blue lines, that represent dividing the canvas into thirds. If you can get your focal points to land near one of the intersections of those lines, you'll have a more pleasing composition.

Tick, tick, tick.... time to set the next ten minutes!!

* If you need to know what I'm talking about in "cool and warm boxes", please order my DVD set "Colorful Oil Painting" which explains the color system I'm using. It works for every medium.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Jan 21 - The Next Ten Minutes in the Quick Draw Painting that Won

Process Lesson, Part Two. The timer was started again after I painted yesterday's ten minutes, and this is where I'm at in the process, twenty mintues into it. I'm still completely in the cool boxes as I mix up the morning light sky, using white with the trio of sky colors (ult blu, yellow ochre and the red that passes for alizarin in acrylics--Quinacridone magenta), to which has been added that morning light cool yellow. Brushy layers make for interest in that area. I'm using a 5/8" wide filbert for all of this painting, without concern for edges (except for that roof line.)
When painting the roof, I stayed with the cooler colors of Q. magenta and burnt umber, and then added cad red light where it slipped over into the sunlit area.
In the cement walk ways and the sides of the church, there is a tremendous influence of the overhead sky, so these mixes are heavily influenced by ultramarine blue, although cement is a neutral gray by nature.
Do you see how the underpainting peeks through at this stage? I don't have to worry about white canvas showing, and it makes the painting process go that much faster. If specks of that warm tone seep through even at later stages, it will only help unify the colors. Get rid of white surfaces when you want to paint quickly, is my motto.

In planning this design, the radials of the sidewalks are very important to carry you into and to the street where the cars and vertical palms will be. These radials will be broken up by opposing light and shadow shapes, but their directional lines are very important to put down first.

On to the next ten minutes of painting tomorrow!

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Jan 20 - How the Winning Painting Began

The clock started at 9:30 for all of us on location painters to do a painting in two hours. We were set up all around the Library lawns and on street corners with our art gear surrounding us. None of us were allowed to begin until given the sign.

I had prepped my canvas with a burnt orange underpainting, with some cadmium yellow thrown in to get rid of that white canvas. When the shout to begin came through the cool morning air, then I sketched the scene in front of me with burnt umber and ultramarine blue.

I can already see the abstract structure, and I'm ready to start putting in the first layers of cool colors to set the stage for what is to follow. This is the first ten minutes of my painting time, and most of that was spent figuring out placement of primary and secondary focal points for the design. There may only be two minutes of actual painting time in this block of ten minutes. I had a timer with me for this competition, not to keep track of how much time has passed, but to STOP me at ten minute intervals so I would be forced to take these in-process images!!
Here is the camera shot of the scene in front of me to give you an idea of what was presented for my painting subject. Not much color in backlit stuff. (Unless you know the Color System!!!)

So these images being sent to you in the next days will represent ten minutes of painting time each. It hopefully will help to see how much or little painting is done at each stage. Here you don't see much "painting" but my head is furiously functioning to plot and plan the design. I only used a few colors for this initial lay in of the grass and the shadow sides of the church to this point. More tomorrow!

Of course you can ask questions.

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