Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oct 23 - O-Early-Thirty, and the Backlit Painting

This morning's sun had not yet washed the valley, and I have a grin bright enough to cast some shadows anyway! This is yours truly, on *KS Rubin this morning, famous enough to have his OWN web page! Not often does one get to ride such a quality horse; I am still pinching myself. What a rush to have this power and grace under me as the sun later came to warm the hills. Then it was on the scooter to run errands and home to chores, after this amazing ride-at-first-light experience.

But I've digressed... back to painting! Since resuming a more stringent riding schedule, the paintings have been easier to produce, and this backlit landscape is no different. Getting to the easel is exciting and I'm loving every moment of it.

This 24 x 30 oil is at the stage where it is time to think about getting those horses under the trees, and leaving that bit of warm to capture the eye tells me that regardless of my source material for the horses, they must have dappled sunlight on them! Unlike the earlier misty morning, this painting has sunlight to contrast with the darks of the trunks, and I need to keep that in mind as I paint it.

What's happened since yesterday is the detailing out of the trees, the "flutter pattern" of leaves on so many levels, from deep shadow to light. This breakup of the larger shapes creates visual exitement without creating unrest in the viewer. There is no clash of color here, just a "flitter" of leaves in the trees and grass blades in the foreground. In doing this, I try to be harmonious with the earlier, larger layers, so the contrast is not overwhelming in each area. I will have another complete pass on these areas to further to tone down and pull out details, leaving alone other areas. Sometimes I'll use a glaze with resin gel, and others paint mixtures of three or more colors. That's what I call the refinement stage. Lots to do yet!

This painting, when finished, might begin its show career as an entry into the Women Artists of the West show in Denver in 2009. It may or may not get in. Quality there is very high!

Saturday I head to the Art Expo in Pasadena to meet with friend David R. Becker, who's teaching classes. And I'm also going to get some hands-on with the slow drying Golden Acrylics. Ought to be an interesting day. Hmmmm, I wonder if I should post whatever I do in the workshop? Gadfry!

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Color System information can be found HERE.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oct 22 - 24 x 30 Oil in Morning Light Continues

Now that I have that structure in place, I can continue to cover the canvas with big color shapes to define the values and hues of this morning light scene. I'm painting it with large brushes and enjoying the simplicity that mixing colors using the Color System is giving me. The tree trunks won't stay that dark, but their inherent value is low, and that provides a wonderful contrast to the light and more pure hues--almost like stained glass!

The horses (yet to come) will be in the shade on the lower left. They'll be lazing around--I have my source material at hand--two photos of horses in sunlight in a pasture setting, so I'll have to reduce the values of them to get them to "read right" in the shade of the big trees. That's for later.

I'm so pleased that many of you have written about the value you find in having these paintings come to you in stages. When I was doing the daily paintings, each day's painting was completed so swiftly that I didn't have time to reflect, to plan, or to revise. The work done during that time was "OK", but I can see a much greater value for me as an artist to have time to let the painting get into me, so it can come out so much differently from the inspiration of being there, or seeing the source material. It truly DOES make a difference! I'm not decrying the earlier work, for each one was a stepping stone to this painting and the ones to come. That is as it should be.

This one is going to have a grand feel to it--it is already there, and revising and refining it will be with the intent of keeping that feel. The painting has to hold up from across the room. That will bring the viewer in closer to see the warts on the horses' noses, heh heh!

News! TOMORROW MORNING, I ride the Shagya Arabian stallion on an endurance conditioning ride, beginning at 6:30. Yes, I'll have my new camera... the Canon A590IS, and it is going with me. I'll be sure to share some images with you, as I'm so looking forward to the adventure.

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Color System information can be found HERE.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oct 21 - Finished, and the start of the next one!

Here's the painting, about as finished as it is going to get at this point. I made it slightly larger so if you click on it, you'll see more details.

I didn't realize how important breaking up the blue areas was until something said to put in the pine bough on the lower right. The balance of the painting is profoundly affected when that branch is not there (use a finger over it to see what I mean).

This canvas is available pre-show season for $1200, and that price will escalate as it is shipped and shown around the country.

Now I'm off on another canvas, this one 24 x 30, and the subject is in line with the recent landscapes with added horses, rather than horses in a supporting landscape.
Here's the first lay-in, but I got carried away and started blocking in the colors before I remembered to photograph it!
This painting is coming from source material provided by artist Judi Evans, and is from Fay's Farm in Dawsonville. I've walked these pastures and already have a "sense of place" that is part of these new paintings. Tomorrow, more of the canvas covered and more great color.

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Color System information can be found HERE.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Oct 20 - 95% finished and Shagya Arabians

I had a heck of a time photographing this one in the studio tonight. I'm due for a new camera, and will be going out to look for a Canon Powershot A590 IS tomorrow. I dropped my earlier model of this handy camera while in Arizona, and I miss it.

So what's new tonight? Details, all those details. The brushwork is still very visible, and one of the brumby horses (Apache horses) is in--the second and third one will come into the field tomorrow.

I added the broken pattern of light on the central trunk to both make it more interesting, and also to cut that dark shape into interesting values. The trio on the left stay dark in value, but have been connected to one another with the tracery of branches. This also cuts the strength of the blue water over there, too. I had to wait for these layers to dry a bit before adding the tremendous noodly-details of pine boughs and twigs on the right side, too. Compare this stage of the painting with the one from yesterday, and you'll see the entire canvas has changed. I've embellished and made more interesting each area, so the eye has many places to "play".

Working on these larger canvases is SO satisfying right now. I cannot explain the completeness I have in me when something just goes right, but these three canvases (yes, there are three now--the third 24 x 30 is coming to you later this week--in stages!) are deeply soul satisfying both to create and to enjoy. The hiatus I took from the daily paintings has come full circle now, and my work has gone to a new level of maturity. I'm very pleased with each one of these canvases' sense of place. At least two of them will be entered in the Women Artists of the West show at the Saks Gallery in Denver this January. And I'll probably send at least one to the Spring show for the American Academy of Equine Art. I'll have to consider shipping costs on these bigger canvases, though.

Other news, I went on a four-hour ride using my neighbor's endurance horse (Arab/Thoroughbred)--we covered about 12 miles but because of the terrain, would translate in endurance miles to 36 miles. Carolyn Hock is a top endurance rider, and I'm fortunate that she's my neighbor! I'm sore today, but excited to ride with her again. Her training regimen is VERY demanding, and yet I really enjoyed it. I'm hoping she might put me on her Shagya Arabian stallion Reuben next time! Here's what he looks like (not exactly him, but close):

And I bring my Chiron HERE next weekend! Life is exciting!

Tomorrow this painting will come to you finished, and then you can see the third one begin. I'm already to start on the fourth in the series!

You can see my entire blog here.

Color System information can be found HERE.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Oct 19 - 90% covered and a Break

Yesterday you saw the blues going in. Now the canvas is 95 percent covered. I'm still in the cool box as I paint the rocks in the foreground with the "big three" sky colors, creating the illusion of their reflected colors from the blue overhead atmosphere. Variations on those mixes creates the visual interest there. You can click on the image to get a larger verson with more details.

Although the light area at the upper left is in sunlight, I painted it completely with cool mixes to keep it back there.

At this point, I stopped to take a photo because of the warms that are (finally) appearing on the grassy area across the water and on the rocks and pine needles in the foreground. I wanted to share with you the painting at this stage with the cools in place. Compositionally, do you see how the three trunks on the left mirror the lit three trunks on the upper right? Ties the whole image together with implied lines going between them--like a bridge across the water!

As long as the painting holds up with cool box mixes, adding the warms in smaller percentages will always enhance, not destroy, the composition and color balance. As I'll be painting so much detail in the foreground, I want you to have a resting place, separate from the horses across the water. In fact, those horses will be much less prominent than shown by the areas unpainted, because when I paint them, I'll pick colors and values that will have them blend in--just like the "Morning Pasture" painting from September 14th's blog entry (opens a new page).

I just love a painting at this stage--the source material and the painting are now distantly related, yet the details that will fully tell the story are not yet in place. When you paint, do you put the focal point in first? How much more can you get, if you delay that addition until the rest of the canvas is singing along? Now that my canvas has the basic colors in place, the fun begins as I make each area more interesting to you, the viewer. Eye candy!

You can see my entire blog here.

Color System information can be found HERE.

If you need to email me directly, please click here.